Game 4: UConn at Buffalo
When: Saturday, Sep 24, 2011 - 6:00 PM
Where: UB Stadium
Series History: UConn (8) - Buffalo (1)
Tickets: Get Them Right Here
Fun fact, in the past decade Buffalo has played UConn eight times. That's more times than any other non conference opponent and more than all MAC West teams and Bowling Green. While it might be one sided relationship the UConn may the closest thing Buffalo has to a rival since they rejoined the ranks of the Bowl Subdivision. This is not a mutual feeling though. While UB has spent the past decade fighting to get off the ground the Huskies rode their hoops program right into the Big East and last season to the Big East Championship.
Like many football success stories the reward for a team achieving new heights is the quick, and painful, snatching of their head coach by someone with just a bit more money. In UConn's experience it was Maryland mugged the Huskies by luring Randy Edsall from the Big East to the ACC (imagine that an ACC raid on the Big East). The new coaching staff and the graduation of some key players mean that Conneticut might be vulnerable this season.
Like any other AQ team they are going to run deeper than the non AQ's at key positions (line, defensive backs, etc..) so even with a year under his belt, a healthier line, and Chazz Anderson UB will likely enter this game a big underdog.
The man charged with continuing what rand Edsall started is Coach Pasqualoni. If the name sounds somewhat familiar it's because he was the head coach at Syracuse from 1991-2004 towards the end of his tenure Syracuse started a serious slide that they are just starting to ge tout of.
Since getting fired, he’s held assistant coaching positions with the Cowboys and the Dolphins. For those of you who are wondering yes this is the thrid first year coach that Jeff Quinn gets to square off with and there are more to come later in the season.
The Huskies on Offense:
It's still not certain who will be behind center. UConn went into the summer with the same Quarterback Situation that Buffalo had. Three, maybe four guys who might come out on top. Michael Box, Johnny McEntee, redshirt freshman Scott McCummings, and rookie Michael Nebrich were all still in the mix earlier this summer.
But given the likely nature of UConn's offense a Quarterback battle would impact them less this year than it would have in years past. George DeLeone will hearken back to the conservative offenses which were the standard at Connecticut before Joe Moorhead.
A slow, methodical, run first offense will do fine behind their line. They may lack experienced but Edsall had an eye for talent. It's going to be tough for UB's defensive line to set up the linebackers. The good news is that there is as much inexperience at UConns quarterback slot as their is in our defensive backfield.
The Huskies on Defense:
Randy Edsall left the team pretty well stocked on the defensive side. Their line is one of the better in the Big East and it is returning every starter from last season. A line that had their way with UB's for most of the game during last years contest.
They are also loaded in the defensive backfield. The one unit that is not top caliber on the defense would be the linebackers. Their linebackers are athletic but return only one players with meaningful experience. If the Bulls offensive line is passable UConn's linebackers may be exploitable.
Pessimistic (Big Loss):I have seen nothing so far to indicate the Huskies won't be able to Jam the ball down our throats. If that goes on long enough eventually they will soften us up enough for the vertical game or just kill us slowly with the run. The last two times UB played UConn the huskies did everything they could to give us the game and neither time was UB able to win. There has just been a talent gap that UB can't seem to overcome.
The Bulls Can win if:
They stop the run. I'm getting a decent feeling about UB's offense this year. The focus in camp has been running the ball, not just running to set up the pass but running to do some damage. That, along with Anderson and a healthy line might be able to put up some points, If they are on the field.
Because if UConn feeds us the football to our front seven this game could be over by the third quarter. Stop them from getting more than four ground yards on first down and suddenly they will be a different team. A team relying on an inexperienced QB behind a young inexperienced line.
SBnation has a great site. The plainly named "The UConn Blog" in one of the best places on the web to follow the Huskies