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UConn football vs. FIU Panthers: TV info, by the numbers, what to watch for

The Huskies will host the Panthers on Saturday afternoon at the Rent, looking for their first win of the season.

Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

KICKOFF: 3:30 p.m.

TV: CBS Sports Network

ANNOUNCERS: Dave Ryan (play-by-play), Christian Fauria (color analyst), Keiana Martin (sideline)

RADIO: UConn IMG Radio Network; Varsity Network App; 97.9 ESPN Hartford, WGCH 1490 AM, WAVZ 1300 AM, WILI 1400 AM and 95.3 FM, WICH 1310 AM and 94.5 FM; Sirius/XM online streaming

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

RECORDS: UConn (0-2), FIU (2-1)

LAST WEEK: UConn lost to Georgia State, 35-14; FIU beat North Texas, 46-39


OVER/UNDER: 40 (odds via DraftKings)

SERIES HISTORY: UConn and FIU have met once before, with the Huskies picking up a 33-12 win last season


PREGAME PRESS CONFERENCE(S): UConn head coach Jim Mora, FIU head coach Mike MacIntyre


Fun With Numbers

2: Ta’Quan Roberson will make his second career start for the Huskies. He started the 2022 season opener, leading a touchdown drive before going down with a knee injury in the game’s second possession.

22: Jackson Mitchell ranks 11th in FBS with his 22 tackles in UConn’s two games.

5: Jim Mora and Mike McIntyre coached against each other five times while Mora was at UCLA and McIntyre was at Colorado. UCLA won four out of five against its Pac-12 foe during this time. Adding their meeting last year in this matchup, Mora is 5-1 against McIntyre all-time.

297: FIU wide receiver Kris Mitchell has 297 receiving yards in three games which is the third-highest total in FBS and leads Conference USA

254: FIU running back Shomari Lawrence ranks 9th in FBS with his 254 rushing yards on the season

1: The UConn defense has forced just one turnover in its first two games

123: UConn’s team offense ranks 123rd, averaging 14 points a game

29.5: The Huskies have allowed 29.5 points per game, which ranks 101st in FBS

244: Rushing yards for Devontae Houston and Victor Rosa combined last year at FIU

What to Watch For

Ta’Quan Roberson

The backup quarterback can be the most popular player on the team. Well, now the backup is Zion Turner.

During last Saturday’s game, it looked like UConn’s coaching staff would have to consider a change at QB, as starter Joe Fagnano was struggling. That change was forced by a shoulder injury that ended his season and made Ta’Quan Roberson the new starter.

Roberson looked solid against Georgia State, ending the night on a positive note with two touchdowns, though they did both occur with the game well out of hand. Before his big fourth quarter, he did complete a respectable 4-of-5 passing attempts for 36 yards.

UConn will probably be run-heavy in its approach and also count on Roberson to run options and designed running plays. He’ll have to get something going in the passing game as well, an area where UConn has struggled. FIU allowed North Texas to pass for 301 yards last week at home while also gaining 247 on the ground — it is not a strong defense.

This is a good opportunity for Roberson to assert himself and for the offense to show it has something to offer this season, otherwise we’re in for a long, scary ride down the rest of the schedule.

The Run Game

Last year against FIU, Devontae Houston had 135 rushing yards on 12 carries before leaving with an injury and Victor Rosa got 89 yards of his own. The Huskies need to get these guys going Saturday if it’s going to be a good day for them. Georgia State did not let the Huskies get anything on the ground last week.

Stopping Big Plays

FIU’s offense is very similar to Georgia State’s. They run a lot of option-plays from shotgun and spread sets, and have playmakers at receiver, running back, and QB. FIU’s bunch is maybe a bit less experienced and talent-filled than Georgia State’s but a similar result could occur if UConn is going to miss so many tackles and assignments again.

Managing Expectations

UConn came into this season expecting to build on last year’s six wins. Losing to NC State is certainly not a problem and even losing to Georgia State is not that bad on its face either. But losing badly to GSU strikes fear that the Huskies don’t have the right guys to make it work this season. Unless the Huskies can shake that off, quickly, against an opponent that is no pushover, it could make for a lot of anxiety if FIU is pushing late. Jim Mora’s squad is favored by seven points. They won’t be the favorite again for a while if they lose this one.