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UConn football future opponents: Week 3

Duke is good. USF and a few others may be better than we previously believed.

NCAA Football: Northwestern at Duke Jaylynn Nash-USA TODAY Sports

UConn football could not overcome a rough first half as it lost to FIU to fall to 0-3 on the season. Looking ahead at the remaining opponents on the schedule, it’s tough to predict when the Huskies can notch one in the win column if they’re playing like this. Based on their recent results, opponents such as Rice, USF, and Boston College may be tougher than expected.

No. 21 Duke (3-0) - Sept. 23

Duke is rolling, having handled Northwestern with ease on Saturday afternoon, 38-14 at home.

Duke scored the first 17 points and was ahead 38-7 before a Wildcats garbage-time touchdown. Its offense outgained Northwestern, 487 yards to 267, as the Blue Devils had three touchdown drives of at least 80 yards.

Riley Leonard was an efficient 15-of-20 for 219 yards, but most of the damage came on the ground, as Duke ran 40 times for 268 yards. Leonard rushed 13 times for 97 yards and a pair of scores, while Jordan Waters (10 attempts, 65 yards) also found the end zone twice.

Utah State (1-2) - Sept. 30

Utah State traveled to Colorado Springs to play Air Force on Friday night. The Falcons prevailed, 39-21, and it wasn’t as close as the score might indicate. The home team scored the first 29 points and led 39-7 by the middle of the third quarter before the Aggies grabbed a pair of garbage-time touchdowns.

Utah State was soundly outgained, 428-to-302, as it struggled with Air Force’s triple option. This helped the Falcons hold the ball for nearly 40 minutes, while the Aggies also committed two turnovers.

McCae Hillstead was 18-of-27 passing for 202 yards, throwing three touchdowns. The Aggies gained just 2.1 yards per carry, led by Rahsul Faison, who had 40 yards on seven rushes.

Rice (2-1) - Oct. 7

Rice hosted FCS Texas Southern on Saturday night and it was never close. The Owls had 28 points before the first quarter was over and scored again early in the second before the Tigers got on the board for a score. It was all they would get in a 59-7 victory for Rice.

Texas Southern gained just 185 yards with 10 first downs and turned the ball over twice. Rice had 485 yards of offense with no turnovers.

JT Daniels picked apart the Tiger defense, going 11-of-17 for 255 yards and four touchdowns. The rushing attempts were spread far and wide due to the score, but Daelen Alexander got into the end zone twice. No player had more than 10 carries, but six had multiple attempts.

USF (1-2) - Oct. 21

It seemed as though this was going to be a bloodbath after then-No. 10 Alabama lost to Texas the week prior and USF struggled with Florida A&M. However, the Bulls scored first and the Crimson Tide were still mired in offensive issues, as they didn’t take the lead until the third quarter. Nick Saban’s squad eventually pulled away to win, 17-3.

USF had only 264 yards of offense, but the story is how they frustrated Alabama, which gained just 310 yards. The Bulls also turned the ball over twice, while Alabama’s only turnover, on a muffed punt, led to the home team’s only score.

QB Byrum Brown didn’t have the best day, at 14-of-28 passing for 87 yards, though he did add 92 rushing yards on 23 carries. Nay’Quan Wright (15 carries, 62 yards) was the only other player with more than four attempts.

Boston College (1-2) - Oct. 28

No. 3 Florida State came into Chestnut Hill as a huge favorite, but Boston College, which was honoring Welles Crowther with its annual Red Bandana Game, was ready to compete. The Eagles rebounded from last week’s near-loss to Holy Cross by scoring first and coming back from 21 down to lose 31-29.

One could argue the Eagles deserved to win, as they outgained the Seminoles, 457 to 340, while also winning the turnover battle, but they committed 18 penalties for 131 yards.

Thomas Castellanos was 20-of-33 passing for 305 yards with a touchdown and an interception. He also grabbed 95 yards on the ground with an additional score. Kye Robichaux was the most frequent rusher, running for 64 yards on 21 attempts.

No. 11 Tennessee (2-1) - Nov. 4

It’s tough to win in The Swamp. Then-No. 11 Tennessee led early, but Florida scored 26 consecutive points before the half to take a 26-7 lead as the Volunteers struggled to move the ball against a lethal Gators pass rush. It looked like Tennessee had the momentum after the half, but it was never able to get to within one possession in a 29-16 defeat.

Tennessee outgained the Gators, 387 to 349, but Florida owned the time of possession, with more than 37 minutes, keeping its defense fresh and off the field.

Joe Milton III was 20-of-34 passing for 287 yards and a pair of touchdowns, but he did throw an interception that set Florida up at the 9-yard line after a personal foul to score what would prove to be the game-winning touchdown. Jaylen Wright ran 16 times for 63 yards.

James Madison (3-0) - Nov. 11

James Madison won its Sun Belt opener on Saturday, as the Dukes traveled to Troy and beat the Trojans, 16-14, in a hard-fought defensive battle. The first points didn’t get on the board until the final play of the first quarter. Troy had the ball on the James Madison 33-yard line trying to get a game-winning score, but an intentional grounding penalty on third down pushed the home team too far away to keep the drive alive.

The Dukes had just 290 yards of offense but were able to hold their hosts to 320 yards. Troy also had the game’s only turnover, which came on the first possession of the game.

Jordan McCloud was 18-of-26 passing for an even 200 yards, adding a touchdown. Kaelon Black led the way on the ground, with 13 carries for 78 yards, though Ty Son Lawton (14 rushes, 55 yards) was a contributor, as well.

Sacred Heart (0-3) - Nov. 18

It was far from a barnburner between Sacred Heart and Wagner, as old friend Steven Krajewski, now at Wagner, was the game’s leading passer with 86 yards. The game was scoreless after one quarter and 17-0 after three quarters. The Pioneers scored twice in the fourth, but it wasn’t enough and the Seahawks left with a 17-10 win.

Sacred Heart had 342 yards to Wagner’s 219, but a trio of Pioneer turnovers set up their visitors with short fields. The Seahawks had just 13 first downs and lost the time of possession battle.

All three turnovers were on interceptions, two of which were by Cade Pribula, with one by Rob McCoy. Pribula was just 4-of-9 for 29 yards, while McCoy was 8-of-18 for 81 yards. Led by Malik Grant (27 carries 133 yards), the rushing attack was much better, gaining 232 yards on 47 attempts.

UMass (1-3) - Nov. 25

The Minutemen were in Ypsilanti to face off with former MAC rival Eastern Michigan. The game was close all afternoon and the Minutemen led with 2:42 to go after getting into the end zone, but the Eagles stormed 77 yards down the field in just five plays and 1:17 to secure a 19-17 win. UMass was only able to gain two yards on the ensuing drive and turned it over to permit Eastern Michigan to run out the clock.

The road team had nearly 100 extra yards gained (464 to 371) but turned the ball over four times, which stalled drives and prevented UMass from scoring and finishing drives. Nearly half of Eastern Michigan’s yards (173) came on its two touchdown drives.

Carlos Davis was again in at quarterback, but he threw three interceptions as part of a 23-of-41 day, as he threw for 340 yards and a touchdown. Kay’Ron Lynch-Adams ran the ball 26 times for 129 yards and a score.