FACTS & STATS: Site: Raymond James Stadium (65,857) — Tampa, Florida.
Television: ESPN or ESPN2. Home Record: UConn 1-2, USF 1-2. Away Record: UConn
0-0, USF 0-0. Neutral Record: UConn 0-0, USF 0-0. Conference Record: UConn
0-0, USF 0-0. Series Record: South Florida leads, 6-5.
GAME NOTES: The Connecticut Huskies play both their first road and first
conference game of the season on Friday night, as they visit the South Florida
Bulls for an American Athletic Conference clash at Raymond James Stadium.
The Huskies have started off just 1-2 under first-year head coach Bob Diaco,
despite playing their first three games at home. They sandwiched a win over
Stony Brook in week two between losses to BYU (35-10) and Boise State (38-21).
South Florida is sporting an identical overall record (1-2). After barely
escaping against Western Carolina in the opener, the Bulls dropped back-to-
back contests against non-conference foes, falling to Maryland (24-17) and NC
Marvin Kloss nailed a 44-yard field goal with 4:03 to play to lift USF to a
13-10 victory over UConn last season. The win broke a tie in the all-time
series, which the Bulls now lead, 6-5.
UConn has certainly had no shortage of issues on offense. The Huskies are only
scoring 16.7 points per game, while tallying less than 300 yards of offense
each week. To make matters worse, starting quarterback Casey Cochran was lost
for the season due to a concussion.
Chandler Whitmer has stepped in and played in all three games, starting the
last two. He has not been all that effective, however, completing just 49.3
percent of his passes for 464 yards with nearly as many interceptions (two) as
touchdowns (three). In the loss to Boise State, he connected on 16-of-29
attempts and eclipsed the 200-yard mark for the first time this year, but he
was sacked seven times and picked off twice.
The issues along the offensive line are well documented, with the Huskies
allowing an AAC-worst 15 sacks this season, while producing just 1.9 yards per
rush attempt. Max DeLorenzo has been the most productive back, although he has
only 104 yards on 29 carries, with a long of 19 yards.
Despite the lack of consistency at quarterback, the Huskies are fortunate to
have two solid receivers in Geremy Davis and Deshon Foxx. Davis has caught 16
balls for 256 yards and two scores, although he was limited to 47 yards on
three receptions against Boise State. That opened things up for Foxx, who
broke out for 107 yards on six grabs, by far his best performance of the
When it comes to defense, UConn has held its own. Opponents are producing just
under 30 points per game against the Huskies, while managing 368.3 yards of
total offense each week. They are also tied for fifth in the conference in
tackles for loss (15), although only three of those have been sacks.
Marquise Vann (29 tackles) and Graham Stewart (25 tackles, 2.5 TFL) are the
leaders of the unit, with Vann ranking sixth in the AAC in tackles. Stewart
has one of two forced fumbles for the unit.
Also failing to put forth much on offense this season has been USF. The Bulls
have only picked up 37 first downs and 901 yards. The Bulls and the Huskies
are the only teams in the conference to have played three games and have less
than 1,000 yards of total offense. The Bulls were especially dreadful last
weekend against NC State, as they managed to log just 159 yards and eight
Mike White, who was hampered by a fractured bone in his non-throwing arm, held
on to his starting job, but just barely, throwing for 82 yards and a touchdown
on a miserable 4-of-16 passing effort. White has thrown for 275 yards and a
single score as well as an interception this year. He also has only 14
completions in three games.
White’s options on the edges are even more limited with Andre Davis suffering
from a sternum injury. Davis is listed as questionable for Friday’s game.
Rodney Adams (six receptions, 116 yards) is the only player on the team with
more than 100 yards receiving.
The Bulls have had some success on the ground, averaging 4.6 yards per carry.
Marlon Mack has been at the center of the rushing attack, piling up a league-
leading 399 yards and four scores on 58 carries.
USF’s 1-2 start has come as a result of weak defensive play as well. The Bulls
have surrendered twice as many first downs (74) as they have gained, while
letting up an average of 453.3 yards per game. Applying pressure in the
backfield has not been the problem, as the team has registered eight sacks and
15 tackles for loss, as well as having forced 10 turnovers.
Nigel Harris, Reshard Cliett and Demetrius Hall are tied for the team lead
with two sacks apiece, while Jamie Byrd (25 tackles) leads the club in total
tackles. Harris has also eclipsed the 20-stop mark (21).
With such offensive deficiency on both sides, it’s easy to envision another
low-scoring duel on Friday night. The Bulls have just a few more bright spots
with Mack, and a defense that has at least played opportunistically. That
gives them a narrow edge.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: South Florida 14, Connecticut 13