Game Prediction: Connecticut

Embarrassing. It’s really the only way to describe last week’s game against Akron. Call it a letdown after UTL2, call it taking Akron lightly as they brought a 27 game road losing steak to town, call it whatever you want. But be thrilled you won the game and can use an ugly loss as a teaching moment for the two deep roster littered with youth. At the end of the day, crisis ( and arguably the worst loss in Michigan history) was averted and hopefully experieUConn Nightnce was gained. Because a game like UConn should play out the same way Akron should have.

When Randy Edsall left and Paul Pasqualoni took, the cupboard was bare, and back to back 5-7 seasons ensued after Edsall took UConn to the Fiesta Bowl.

After back to back home losses by double digits to open the season to FCS Towson State and future B1G member Maryland, the Huskies will try to flip the script and improve upon their rushing game which stands at next to last in all of college football so far this season. Whether UConn being behind in games has forced them to abandon the run early is the issue or not, Michigan should load the box and pressure the Huskies. Greg Mattison has played very differently than his usual self in the first 3 games, and while some of it has been dictated by the offenses they have gone against, Michigan needs to bring more heat when the opponent attempts to max protect. Even if you have 6-7 back, given enough time, receivers will get open.

Will there be a shakeup on the interior of the offensive line? It remains to be seen, but more productivity is needed out of them. Granted it’s a young interior, but there is talent that needs to perform. Something that wasn’t lost on many last week.

Devin Gardner needs to limit his mistakes and be more of a game manager. Yes he can thread a needle much better than his predecessor but he also needs more experience reading the opposing defenses.

Michigan said all the right things after the Akron game, and we have been hearing all week the focus that wasn’t there in preparation last week is now there.

Proof will be in the pudding, but Michigan gets back on track, and is ready.

Michigan 42  UConn 17

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2013 Game Preview – Connecticut

What to watch on offense

Paul Pasqualoni previously served as the head coach at Syracuse, compiling a 107-59 record along the way. Pasqualoni has led previous teams into the Big House before, including 1998 squad that upset the Wolverines led by Donovan McNabb. A defensive coordinator by trade, Pasqualoni has handed the reins of the offense over to TJ Weist who previously served as the offensive coordinator at Western Kentucky. Weist employs a traditional pro-style offense that currently ranks 104th in the country.

The good news for the Huskies is that they return a veteran QB with 12 starters under his belt. The bad news is that QB threw more interceptions than TDs during his 12 starters. Junior College transfer Chandler Whitmer threw for over 3,000yds at the JUCO level before arriving at UConn. Whitmer threw for 2,600yds a year ago but posted a 9-16 TD-INT ratio. The Huskies get the benefit of returning their top receiver from a year ago in Germy Davis and pair him with Boston College transfer Shakim Phillips.

A season ago the Huskies were led in rushing by the diminutive Lyle McCombs who ran for over 900yds. McCombs returns and has been the primary ball carrier for UConn this season.

UConn returns 4 of 5 starters on an offensive line that struggle to both protect the QB and generate running lanes. The good news for UConn fans is that there is no where to go but up and the Huskies do benefit from the return of the Penn State transfer Alex UConn Pasqualoni FootballMateas who missed 7 games a year ago thanks to injury

Best Offensive Player

RB Lyle McCoombs- At 5’8 170lbs, McCoombs scares no one climbing off the bus but he is an electric player in the open field. Despite weaknesses and injuries plaguing the o-line, McCoombs still managed to make 2nd team All-Big East.

Head Coach: Paul Pasqualoni-3rd Year

Off Coor: TJ Weist-1st Year

Def Coor: Hank Hughes-1st Year

2012 Record

5-7

Returning Starters

Offense-8

Defense-5

Key Losses

TE Ryan Griffin

LG Ben Masters

LB Jory Johnson

LB Sio Moore

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