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UConn football future opponents: Week 0

The Huskies had two upcoming foes playing in Week 0. Both have reasons for optimism.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: APR 08 NC State Spring Game Photo by Nicholas Faulkner/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

College football is back!

While the seven-game Week 0 slate as a whole wasn’t terribly appetizing, two games were relevant to UConn football fans, as the Huskies’ Week 3 opponent FIU faced off against Louisiana Tech while annual rival UMass battled with former independent New Mexico State. That matchup will take place at the end of the season.

NC State (0-0) - Aug. 31

The Huskies and Wolfpack begin the season on Thursday in East Hartford.

Georgia State (0-0) - Sept. 9

Georgia State hosts Rhode Island in Atlanta to open its season on Thursday.

FIU (0-1) - Sept. 16

The Golden Panthers opened on the road against Louisiana Tech on Saturday night and their offense struggled mightily. Quarterback Grayson James was 5-of-14 passing for four yards and an interception. The rushing offense was more effective, running for 178 yards on 30 carries, a 5.9-yard average, though that is boosted heavily by Shomari Lawrence’s 67-yard touchdown on the third play from scrimmage. The run game struggled the rest of the way.

FIU actually led the early, 14-0, on the back of Lawrence’s touchdown scamper and an interception near midfield that created a short scoring drive. But Louisiana Tech scored 19 unanswered points to secure the victory at home, scoring the game-winning touchdown with 1:01 to go on a 30-yard run.

The visitors won the turnover battle but were thoroughly outgained, partially due to a strong passing performance from Bulldogs quarterback Hank Bachmeier, who was 34-of-44 passing for 333 yards and a touchdown and interception. FIU also had just eight first downs and had six second-half possessions. The first five of them ended in a punt, four of which were three-and-out, with the last being an interception to enable Louisiana Tech to kneel the clock out.

Duke (0-0) - Sept. 23

No. 9 Clemson will come into Wallace Wade Stadium on Sept. 4 for Duke’s season opener.

Utah State (0-0) - Sept. 30

The Aggies are on the road to start 2023, rolling into Iowa City to try and beat Iowa.

Rice (0-0) - Oct. 7

It’s an in-state battle to start the year for Rice, as No. 11 Texas will welcome in the Owls on Saturday.

USF (0-0) - Oct. 21

The Bulls are heading up to Bowling Green, Kentucky to face off against the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers on Saturday.

Boston College (0-0) - Oct. 28

Northern Illinois visits Alumni Stadium in Chestnut Hill on Saturday.

No. 12 Tennessee (0-0) - Nov. 4

The Volunteers and Virginia will get together at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, home of the Tennessee Titans, on Saturday.

James Madison (0-0) - Nov. 11

The Dukes, in their second year in FBS, welcome former FCS counterpart Bucknell on Saturday to Harrisonburg, Virginia to open the 2023 season.

Sacred Heart (0-0) - Nov. 18

The Pioneers will be at home to start the year, hosting Lafayette on Saturday.

UMass (1-0) - Nov. 25

It looks like the Minutemen might have a quarterback. After years of ineffective signal-callers, head coach Don Brown brought in Taisun Phommachanh, who started his career at Clemson and then transferred to Georgia Tech before coming to Amherst.

The dual-threat might not have been the next big thing in Death Valley, but he’s certainly good enough to jump-start a UMass offense that has struggled mightily. He was 10-of-17 passing for 192 yards and was the game’s leading rusher, going for 96 yards on 17 carries with a score.

The game against New Mexico State started slowly, as it was 10-10 at the half with seven punts, three of which followed drives that went three-and-out.

But the game got moving by the fourth quarter, with 48 points scored as UMass held on for a 41-30 win. The Minuteman defense forced three turnovers, including a pick-six in the fourth quarter that put them up 17 points with under seven minutes to go.

New Mexico State is No. 121 in SP+, six spots ahead of UMass and 12 teams from the bottom, so there’s still a long way to go for the boys from Amherst, but if they’re not as bad as advertised, it at least sets up an interesting contest to close out the 2023 season.

Stay tuned for more season preview material and pre-game coverage for Thursday’s season opener against NC State here on The UConn Blog!