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UConn football vs. Fresno State Bulldogs: How to watch, by the numbers, what to watch for

The Huskies are in for another tough battle this weekend.

Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

KICKOFF: 3:30 p.m.

TV: CBS Sports Network

ANNOUNCERS: Meghan McPeak (play-by-play), Christian Fauria (color analyst), Justin Walters (sideline)

RADIO: UConn IMG Radio Network; Varsity Network App; 97.9 ESPN Hartford, WINE 940 AM, WGCH 1490 AM, WICC 600 AM, WAVZ 1300 AM, WATR 1320 AM WILI 1400 AM and 95.3 FM

ANNOUNCERS: Mike Crispino (play-by-play), Wayne Norman (color analyst), Adam Giardino (sideline)

RECORDS: UConn (1-4), Fresno State (1-2)

LAST WEEK: UConn was soundly beaten by No. 12 NC State, 41-10; Fresno State was off last week

POINT SPREAD: Fresno State - 23.5

OVER/UNDER: 52.0 (odds via DraftKings)

SERIES HISTORY: The UConn Huskies and Fresno State Bulldogs have met just once on the gridiron. The Bulldogs picked up a 45-0 win to open up the 2021 season.

DEPTH CHART: UConn; Fresno State

PREGAME PRESS CONFERENCE(S): Fresno State head coach Jeff Tedford; UConn head coach Jim Mora


Fun With Numbers

1,072: Number of days between since the last FBS win for UConn (as of game day)

1,827: Number of days between FBS wins for the Huskies at Rentschler Field (as of game day)

3,206: Miles traveled by Fresno State to East Hartford

13: Previous games against FBS independents for Fresno State (9-4)

0: Forced turnovers by Fresno State defense in last three games

6: Win streak by Mountain West teams vs UConn

4.40: Number of penalties per game committed by UConn which is good for 13th best in the country

58: Tackles by UConn’s Jackson Mitchell which is second-best in the country

What to watch for

Is this the week we see a shakeup on offense?

It seems like Jim Mora and Nick Charlton are happy with the status quo at quarterback. Since stating that Tyler Phommachanh was healthy and “available” against North Carolina State, last year’s talisman quarterback hasn’t registered a single offensive snap. Cale Millen was in the game ahead of Phommachanh, even though they seemingly don’t trust him to throw the ball.

Zion Turner, on the other hand, seems to be doing everything asked of him from the UConn offense, which is to say, not a whole lot. Despite completing 10 of 12 passes, Turner had just over 3 yards per attempt, and not a single one deeper than 10 yards down the field. UConn has shown opponents a great amount of respect — maybe too much — while game-planning the last two weeks. Fresno State’s defense has some players but doesn’t have near the quality or depth that Michigan and NC State possess, and their best defensive back (Evan Williams) won’t be making the trip to Connecticut. The Husky coaching staff has no excuse not to air it out down the field a bit more on their home turf.

Creating havoc on defense

As UConn football’s competition has jumped up a level this season, so has defensive lineman Erik Watts. After being largely ineffective at tackle in the Huskies’ first three games of the season, Watts has stepped his game up against NC State and Michigan, the two toughest and most physical teams on the Huskies’ schedule, with three sacks and four tackles for loss over the past two weeks.

UConn will have to rely on Watts and the rest of the defensive line to get some pressure on Fresno State’s Logan Fife, who will get the start in place of star quarterback Jake Haener, who did not make the trip to East Hartford due to injury. The redshirt freshman will have plenty of weapons to play with, including halfback Jordan Mims, who has 314 yards on 6.1 yards per carry this season, a true home-run hitter out of the backfield with five runs over 15 yards this season.

UConn defensive backs will have a mammoth job on their hands covering Fresno State’s explosive receiving corps, one of the better pass-catching units they’ll face all year. Nikko Remigio has electric speed, making a big impact in the Fresno State offense after four years at Cal. Jalen Moreno-Cropper has had a prolific career of his own in Fresno, with 1,823 yards and 16 touchdowns in three years and counting with the Bulldogs.