First Look: UConn Huskies

Clemson’s week nine opponent will come into this game hoping not to have a basketball score put up on them.

It wouldn’t take long to review the Huskies 2020 season. It was nonexistent. The FBS independent wasn’t able to get a schedule together since teams were playing minimal non-conference games, so when they face Fresno State on August 28 it will be their first game since November 30, 2019.

Head coach Randy Edsall is in his second stint with the program. He took UConn to its highest heights as a program between 1999 and 2010. His peak was reaching the Fiesta Bowl as Big East champion in 2010. He also had a 9-4 season in 2007. He hasn’t experienced anything close to that success this go around though.

His Huskies, over the last few years, have been one of the worst FBS teams in the college football. They are 6-30 over the last four seasons. Half of those wins are over FCS teams, and none of those games were won by more than seven points. UConn’s only wins over FBS teams have come versus Temple, Tulsa, and UMass. The 56-35 win over UMass in 2019 as their most recent win over anyone.

The quarterback position for the Huskies comes down to one thing, whoever can give them a spark while not throwing a ton of interceptions. Sophomore Jack Zergiotis was thrown to the wolves in 2019. He threw for 1,782 yards and nine scores with 11 picks. They also have transfer junior Micah Leon from NC State and sophomore Steven Krajewski, all vying for the position.

UConn’s leading receiver Cameron Ross comes back after leading the team with 60 catches two years ago. Their second leading receiver Ardell Brown is gone, but other than him, just about everybody else of note in the receiving corps who caught a pass returns. That includes WR Matt Drayton and TE Jay Rose. They return a lot of production from 2019 and were able to add 5 transfers that should help.

As for the the rushing game, the Huskies leading rusher Kevin Mensah is back after running for 1,013 yards and nine scores. He also caught 8 passes for 91 yards. The rest of the backfield is unproven, but Mensah will be the workhorse. They should get some much needed help from Miami transfer, Robert Burns.

For as bad as UConn’s offense was in 2019 their defense was even worse. They allowed 467 yards and 41 points per game and as hard as it is to believe, this was an improvement over 2018. The Huskies were horrendous against the run and did nothing to get behind the line. Just like on the offensive side, though, their defense was a young group and they’ve now had a year to hit the weight room and work to get better going forward.

Veteran LB, Omar Fortt, returns. He is built like a defensive back, but he was able to add bulk over UConn’s break from the gridiron and is expected to do even more after finishing second on the team with 70 tackles in 2019. Jackson Mitchell also comes back after making 65 tackles, along with DJ Morgan. Morgan was a senior in 2019 and the former transfer from Notre Dame was the team’s best player at getting behind the line.

The Huskies secondary only came up with six of their seven interceptions in 2019 and Diamond Harrell returns at safety. They did have two key parts of the secondary, Keyshawn Paul and Robert King, hit the transfer portal. That means their corners are young, but do have some experience.

UConn’s 2021 schedule has an intriguing mix of games. Winnable FCS dates against Holy Cross and Yale along with a must win matchup at UMass. They also have a few other potential fights. However, there are a few too many paycheck games, like the one against Clemson, which likely sees them as 20+ point underdogs.

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