ORLANDO, Fla. - UConn is in the midst of a two-game slide as it prepares to face UCF on Saturday at noon at Spectrum 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 3-6 overall, 2-4 in the conference. UCF is 8-0, 5-0 and making a run at a New Year’s Six Bowl.
UCONN VS. UCF HISTORY
Saturday’s game will be the fifth meeting between the two schools with the series split, 2-2. The Knights won the most recent meeting on Oct. 22, 2016 at Pratt and Whitney Stadium, 24-16. Arkeel Newsome ran 21 times for 101 yards and Noel Thomas recorded his fifth-straight 100-yard receiving game.
The Huskies last win over UCF came in Orlando on Oct. 15, 2015, 40-13.UConn rushed for four touchdowns on the day including Arkeel Newsome rushing for two scores. Quarterback Bryant Shirreffs completed 16 passes for 256 yards and scored a pair of touchdowns (rushing & passing).
In 2013, UCF won 62-17 over the Huskies on October 26, 2013 at Bright House Networks Field in Orlando. UCF QB Blake Bortles threw for four TDs and 286 yards in the game and rushed for another TD. UCF was ranked 21st in the country at the time of the game. UConn had two turnovers in the first half, which put them in a hole early and trailed 45-10 at halftime.
UCONN VS. RANKED TEAMS
Saturday’s game vs. UCF will be the 29th time in school history and second straight weekend that the Huskies have faced a team ranked in the Associated Press poll at the time of the contest and UConn has three victories in those games, including vs. Houston on Nov. 21, 2015 when the Huskies defeated the No. 13 Cougars 20-17. The other wins were at No. 19 Louisville on November 24, 2012 by a 23-20 score in triple overtime and on Oct. 27, 2007 with a 22-15 win over No. 11 USF. UConn first played a ranked team in the 2001 season opener at No. 9 Virginia Tech. UConn has played the country’s top ranked team once when it traveled to Miami on Oct. 5, 2002.
UCONN IN THE AMERICAN
UConn has a record of 11-27 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 a 28-24 win at Temple.
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 369 yards and three touchdowns in his opening campaign. He is coming off a career-high 22-carry performance that nearly netted the freshman his second career 100-yard rushing game with 95 net yards vs. USF.
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 (77), tackles for loss (5.5), sacks (3.0) and passes defended (3).
Joseph has already set career highs in tackles for loss, sacks and passes defended 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).