The Huskies open a season-long, three-game home stretch beginning with Tulsa in American Athletic Conference action at noon at Pratt & Whitney Stadium. Saturday’s game is being televised live on ESPNU with Mike Couzens on play-by-play and John Congemi on color. The Huskies enter the game with a record of 2-4 overall, 1-3 in the conference. Tulsa is 2-5, 1-2 in the league.
UCONN VS. TULSA HISTORY
Saturday’s game marks the first time the Huskies and Golden Hurricane will meet on the football field. The Tulsa program has been playing football since 1895. The Huskies will make their first trip to H.A. Chapman Stadium in 2018.
It is only the second time that the Huskies have played a team from the state of Oklahoma. In the 2011 Fiesta Bowl the Huskies played the Oklahoma Sooners after winning the 2010 Big East Championship. The Sooners defeated the Huskies, 48-20.
UCONN IN THE AMERICAN
UConn has a record of 10-26 against American Conference opponents since the creation of the league in 2014. The Huskies snapped their longest conference losing streak since joining the league (eight games) with the 28-24 win over Temple. .
UCONN JOINING CFB AIR RAID CULTURE
-The UConn offense has developed this season into a passing offense that many programs have transitioned to over the last few seasons. The Huskies have already reaped the benefits with career games being set in the passing game. Bryant Shirreffs has set career-highs in passing yards twice this season. Against ECU, Shirreffs passed for 406 yards and three touchdowns and followed it up against the Mustangs with a career-high 408 yards and a pair of touchdown passes.
-Bryant Shirreffs is the first UConn QB to ever record back-to-back 400-yard passing games and only the second to register two in the same season. Cornelius Benton had two in 1991, but not consecutive. There have only been seven 400-yard passing games in UConn history, accomplished by four QB’s. Casey Cochran holds the UConn record at 461 vs. Memphis in 2013.
-The 596 yards of total offense vs. ECU was the third most for the Huskies and most since Sept. 10, 2005 vs. Liberty when the Huskies put up 600 yards of offense against the Flames.
-UConn had a pair of receivers total 100 yards or more in a single game (Newsome and Donaldson) for the first time since Dec. 7, 2013 vs. Memphis (Geremy Davis and Deshonn Foxx).
-For the first time in program history the Huskies have four wide receivers with at least one 100-yard receiving game. The Huskies most recently had three 100-yard receivers in 2011 but since 100-yard games were recorded in 1970 there has never been more than three Huskies to eafch have a 100-yard effort.
-UConn receivers already have compiled 131 receptions on the season, averaging 21.8 catches per game. In 2016, the Huskies averaged 17.75 catches per game and totaled 213 at season’s end. The Huskies only had three receivers with 20 catches or more last year. Seven UConn receivers are on pace to record 20 or more receptions in 2017.
PITCH AND CATCH
Opposing offenses have had great success throwing the ball against the UConn defense this season. The Huskies have given up an average of 392.5 yards per game, the worst pass defense in the nation at 129. Three quarterbacks (Thomas Sirk, Kurt Benkert and Riley Ferguson) have all passed for more than 400 yards in a game, including 555 yards by Virginia’s Benkert.
Eight receivers have accumulated 100 yards or more against the Huskies in six games with
PUTTING UP POINTS
The UConn offense has been able to put points on the board this season with 170 points scored in six games. Last season the Huskies totaled 178 points scored. UConn has already scored 27 points or more five times this season. An occurrence that only happened once for the Huskies in 2016.
The Huskies scored 97 points over the span of three games (ECU (38), SMU (28), and Memphis (31)). It is the most points scored for the Huskies during a three-game stretch since 2010 when the Huskies scored 91 points from Nov. 11-Nov. 27. UConn put up 30 points vs. Pitt, 23 at Syracuse and 38 against Cincinnati.
HUSKIES END ROAD STREAK
Prior to the Huskies 28-24 win at Temple on Oct. 14, UConn had lost nine-straight games away from Pratt and Whitney Stadium. The Huskies victory was the first win on the road since winning at Tulane on Nov. 7, 2015, 7-3.
UNIQUE CALENDAR IN 2017
Saturday’s are synonymous with college football but because of scheduling and Hurricane Irma the Huskies have played more games on non-Saturday’s to this point in the season. UConn has played Holy Cross on a Thursday, ECU on a Sunday and finally Memphis on Friday.
Normalcy will return to the Huskies with the final seven games of the season being played on Saturday.
JOSEPH GOING OUT ON TOP
Senior linebacker Junior Joseph is arguably having his best season in Storrs, At the midway point in the season he is on pace to set career highs in total tackles (56), tackles for loss (3.5), sacks (2.0) and passes defended (2).
The two sacks for Joseph is already a career-high for Joseph and has tied his career high with 3.5 tackles for loss.
Joseph earned American Athletic Conference Weekly Honor Roll accolades this week after recording 11 tackles, a sack and two pass breakups in the win over Temple.
THE FUTURE IS BRIGHT
The Huskies have received massive contributions from their underclassmen this season with many freshman stepping into major roles on both sides of the ball.
On the defensive side of the ball and special teams, freshman Tyler Coyle, Omar Fortt, Ian Swenson, Jordan Swann, Brayden Brown, Darrian Beavers have all made significant contributions to the defense.
Coyle returned a 34-yard interception for a touchdown at Temple to stunt the momentum of the Owls and aid the Huskies in grabbing a road victory, 28-24. With the touchdown, five freshmen have scored at least one touchdown for the Huskies this season.
The Huskies youth movement has them near the tops in the country in a couple of categories:
Most true freshmen with at least one start (4 or more)
14 Illinois (7 offense, 7 defense)
9 Ball State (4 offense, 5 defense)
9 Baylor (5 offense, 4 defense)
8 LSU (4 offense, 4 defense)
8 Texas A&M (4 offense, 4 defense)
6 Oregon (2 offense, 4 defense)
5 Connecticut (1 offense, 4 defense)
5 Georgia (2 offense, 3 defense)
5 Texas State (3 offense, 2 defense)
4 Georgia State (2 offense, 2 defense)
4 Nevada (3 offense, 1 defense)
4 South Carolina (2 offense, 2 defense)
4 Texas (4 offense, 0 defense)
Most first-time starters of any class (18 or more)
22 Ball State
21 East Carolina
20 Utah State
18 Boise State