KICKOFF: 3:30 p.m.
TV: CBS Sports Network
ANNOUNCERS: Chris Lewis (play-by-play), Robert Turbin (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, XM 381 (UConn), XM 194 (Duke)
ANNOUNCERS: Mike Crispino (play-by-play), Wayne Norman (color analyst), Adam Giardino (sideline)
POINT SPREAD: Duke -21.5
OVER/UNDER: 45.5 (odds via DraftKings)
SERIES HISTORY: UConn and Duke have met twice before with the Huskies holding a 2-0 advantage. They last played in 2007 in Durham, NC when Tyler Lorenzen led them to a 45-14 win after scoring 37 unanswered points.
WEATHER FORECAST: East Hartford, CT
Fun With Numbers
18: The Blue Devils come into the matchup as the 18th-ranked team in the AP and Coaches poll.
30: In 30 previous matchups with ACC foes, UConn has a 7-23 record.
36: Duke is averaging 36.0 points per game, 40th best in FBS.
15: UConn is averaging 15.0 points per game, 124th in FBS.
12: The Blue Devils have just two passing TDs on the season, compared to 12 on the ground.
7: Pryce Yates is averaging two tackles for loss which ranks seventh in FBS. His teammate, Jelani Stafford is averaging 1.7 tackles for a loss which is 15th.
6: UConn has scored six touchdowns through three games.
3: Duke QB Riley Leonard has 208 rushing yards and three TDs on the ground on the season, in addition to 530 passing yards and one touchdown while completing 67 percent of his pass attempts. He’s good.
2: Two other Duke players, running backs Jordan Waters and Jaquez Moore, are a rushing threat. Waters has 240 yards and 5 TDs while averaging 7.5 yards per carry and Moore is averaging 6.3 yards per carry and has 2 TDs of his own.
1: UConn has forced just one turnover thus far on the season.
What to Watch For
Will UConn hold up?
This was already tabbed as a tough matchup before the season, but UConn looks worse than we thought and Duke looks better.
The Blue Devils entered this season with high hopes after going 9-4 last year under first-year head coach Mike Elko and have arguably outperformed expectations thus far, beating Clemson in the opening game of the season and appearing dominant against Lafayette and Northwestern since then.
UConn, on the other hand, came into this season with modest expectations that it has failed to meet. Georgia State may not have been as beatable as we thought, now holding a 4-0 record after beating a solid Coastal Carolina team Thursday night, and FIU may be better than preseason expectations too, but the Huskies’ performance against them has left a lot to be desired.
Jim Mora’s squad doesn’t need to win, or even keep it very close, but they do need to avoid embarrassment. It’d be a good result for the Huskies to do better than Northwestern (38-14) and FCS Lafayette (42-7) did against Duke in the last two weeks.
Looking in the mirror, they also just need to look more put-together than the mistake-prone team that didn’t even give itself a chance at GSU and fell so far behind against FIU that it took a second-half shutout to make it a game at the end.
Signs of life offensively
Mora has made it clear that UConn’s offensive performance to date has not been acceptable. Ta’Quan Roberson, fresh off of wrapping up the first complete game of his collegiate career, needs to take a step up to bring the Huskies’ passing attack to the next level, as do the Husky receivers.
This is not the best opportunity for that to happen, against a Duke defense that is loaded with talent and allowing 9.3 points per game, good for 5th-best in the country, while allowing opponents to gain 153 passing yards per game and 4.3 yards per carry on the ground. But still, UConn has a low bar to clear: look better than you did in the last two games and keep turnovers to a minimum.
We are expecting rain on Saturday in East Hartford. Prepare accordingly. This could bode well for UConn, simply in the sense that the randomness and lower scoring brought on by weather tends to favor the underdog.
However, Duke is a run-heavy team with a good defense, featuring two strong running backs and a running threat from QB Riley Leonard, so the weather may just hurt UConn or not be a particularly meaningful factor. We shall see.