EAST HARTFORD, Conn. - UConn rides a wave of momentum with a two-game win streak under its belt. This week Missouri comes to town on Saturday at 6:30 p.m. at Pratt & Whitney Stadium. Saturday’s game is being televised live on CBS Sports Network. The Huskies enter the game with a record of 3-4 overall, 2-3 in the conference. Missouri is 2-5, 0-4 in the SEC.
UCONN VS. MISSOURI HISTORY
Saturday marks the second all-time meeting between the Huskies and Tigers. UConn traveled to Columbia, Mo. back on Sept. 19, 2015. The Huskies lost 9-6 in the first meeting and had a shot to tie it with a field goal late in the fourth quarter but a fake field goal attempt ended in an interception to secure the victory for the Tigers.
UCONN AGAINST THE SEC
UConn is 2-4 all-time against the Southeastern Conference. The last win came against Vanderbilt, 40-21, in 2010 at Rentschler Field. Jordan Todman rushed for 190 yards and two scores against the Commodores.
The Huskies also nabbed a victory against South Carolina in the 2010 Papajohns.com Bowl in Birmingham, Ala., 20-7. Andre Dixon rushed for 126 yards to eclipse the 1,000 yard mark on the season. Kashif Moore caught a 37-yard touchdown pass to aid the Huskies.
Here is how the Huskies have fared against each of its SEC opponents: Kentucky (0-1), Missouri (0-1), South Carolina (1-0) and Vanderbilt (1-2).
DEFENSE STEPS UP
The UConn defense stepped up in a big way against Tulsa to earn a 20-14 victory over the Golden Hurricane. UConn shut out Tulsa in the first half, 3-0, it was the first time the Huskies had shut out an opponent in the first half since Nov. 24, 2012 at Louisville.
The Huskies logged six sacks in the game with Cole Ormsby and Foley Fatukasi each securing a pair of sacks. The Huskies doubled their previous season-high of three sacks at SMU. The last time UConn recorded six sacks in a game was on September 15, 2012 at Maryland. The Huskies also recorded six sacks against NC State (Sept 8).
PUTTING UP POINTS
The UConn offense has been able to put points on the board this season with 190 points scored in seven 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.
TERRY RICHARDSON RUNNING BACKS
Assistant head coach/running backs coach Terry Richardson has developed a few of the best running backs in the history of the UConn program. Donald Brown, Andre Dixon and Jordan Todman all had great careers under Richardson’s guidance.
-The Huskies running backs this season have been assets to the offense this season. Redshirt freshman Nate Hopkins has already recorded seven rushing touchdowns on the season. He is the first Husky to rush for seven touchdowns since Lyle McCombs rushed for seven total in the 2011 season.
-Freshman running back Kevin Mensah played in his first career game against Virginia. The Worcester, Mass. native rushed for 48 yards and broke off a 30- yard touchdown run late in the fourth quarter to punctuate his Husky debut. Mensah has totaled 210 yards and a touchdown in his opening campaign.
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 (63), tackles for loss (4.5), sacks (2.0) and passes defended (2).
Joseph has already set career highs in tackles for loss and sacks this season. Against Tulsa, Joseph made a game-saving pass breakup in the end zone as time expired to preserve a 20-14 victory.
Joseph earned American Athletic Conference Weekly Honor Roll accolades after recording 11 tackles, a sack and two pass breakups in the win over Temple (10/14).
HERGY FINDING THE END ZONE
Junior wide receiver Hergy Mayala has hauled in five touchdown catches for the Huskies this season. Against Tulsa, Mayala recorded a career-high 80- yard touchdown catch. He is the first receiver since Kashif Moore in 2011 to snatch five touchdown touchdowns and most for a pass catcher since Ryan Griffin snagged six touchdowns back during the 2012 season.
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.
Jordan Swann recorded his first career interception vs. Tulsa (10/21). The interception was the first of the season at Rentschler Field for the Huskies.
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)
10 Baylor (6 offense, 4 defense)
9 Ball State (4 offense, 5 defense)
8 LSU (4 offense, 4 defense)
8 Texas A&M (4 offense, 4 defense)
6 Arizona (1 offense, 5 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
21 Utah State
18 Boise State
18 Georgia Southern