KICKOFF: 12 p.m.
TV: CBS Sports Network
ANNOUNCERS: Chris Lewis (play-by-play), Ross Tucker (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 385 (UConn), XM 383 (Utah State)
ANNOUNCERS: Mike Crispino (play-by-play), Wayne Norman (color analyst), Adam Giardino (sideline)
RECORDS: UConn (0-4), Utah State (1-3)
POINT SPREAD: Utah State -5.5
OVER/UNDER: 51 (odds via DraftKings)
SERIES HISTORY: UConn and Utah State have met two times on the gridiron. The Aggies hold a 2-0 advantage after wins in 2001 at UConn’s Memorial Stadium and at home last season.
WEATHER FORECAST: East Hartford, CT
Fun With Numbers
323: It has been 323 days (as of game day) since the Huskies have won a football game.
7: UConn has scored seven touchdowns through four games.
2: After Saturday’s game, the Huskies will have just two home games left. They’ll take on USF on October 21 and Sacred Heart on November 18.
61: The Aggies will be sporting a different look than last year’s team that beat UConn as they have 61 new players on the roster this season.
19: Utah State is just one of 19 FBS teams to have two defensive touchdowns this season
268.5: Utah State passes for 268.5 yards per game, 42nd best in FBS.
1: UConn has forced one turnover all season.
8: Utah State has forced eight turnovers on the season, which is 20th best in FBS on a per-game basis.
37.8: Utah State averages 37.8 points per game, 26th in FBS.
What to Watch For
Will UConn figure it out (or do literally anything good)?
UConn fans are hoping to see an improved side against a Utah State team that is not great but still has a lot more going on than the Huskies seem to have thus far.
The Aggies hold a 1-3 record but they’ve shown an ability to score, putting up 14 in Week 1 against a strong Iowa defense before dropping 78 on FCS Idaho and scoring 21 in a loss to Air Force.
Last week against James Madison, another stout defensive team and a budding Group of 5 power, Utah State fell behind 24-0 early in the second quarter before mounting an impressive comeback effort.
With 11 minutes left in the game, freshman quarterback McCae Hillstead tied the game at 38 after tossing a 76-yard touchdown pass to Micah Davis, but JMU would score again and hold on to win. Hillstead finished with 399 passing yards and four touchdowns.
The stakes for this game are pretty serious. After its performance through four games, UConn has to prove that it has some level of FBS-caliber competence. Expecting a win is a bit much, but the Huskies have to be competitive as home underdogs. This can’t go down like the Georgia State or FIU games did, otherwise, interest in the season will tank even further.
When Utah State has the ball
Micah Davis is averaging 23.5 yards per reception with three touchdowns on 10 receptions while Terrell Vaughn has grabbed a team-high 38 receptions for 347 yards and six touchdowns, their best performances thus far coming against JMU. The Aggies also boast a crew of solid running backs, led by Davon Booth (42 carries, 238 yards, 5.7 ypc, 2 TDs).
Hillstead took over at QB in the Air Force game after Utah State fell behind early in that one as well. He seems to have taken over the starting duties and is performing well despite his youth. On the plus side for the Huskies, he is not much of a running threat, we think.
Big plays and penalties have hurt UConn defensively. They have a solid group of players on this side though and will be tested by an offense that is 81st in efficiency. The Huskies are last or second-to-last in the country overall depending on your efficiency metric and near the bottom both offensively and defensively.
When UConn has the ball
Defensively, USU is vulnerable, it’s ranked 114th in defensive efficiency and has given up 45 and 39 points in its last two games. But UConn’s offense has not shown that it has the ability to take advantage of a situation like that, and after Devontae Houston’s departure from the team, a bad offense may have gotten worse.
The Huskies have managed 0, 3, 0, and 7 points in the first half of the last four games. Their highest total of the season is 17 against FIU, boosted by two second-half touchdowns as UConn stared down a 24-3 halftime deficit. Nick Charlton’s group needs to find its moorings, especially in the passing game, which has thus far been anemic. Slants, quick passes, and screens have worked but they can’t be taken seriously without an intermediate and deep passing attack, which has been nonexistent.
We’re going to see more of Cam Edwards at running back, and it’ll be interesting to see what happens to Victor Rosa’s workload now that he’s the presumptive main back. At receiver, it looks like Brett Buckman and Justin Joly are the biggest threats so far. The Huskies will need to keep drops to a minimum and find a way for their pass-catchers to make plays. It’s now or never.