Sunday, September 08, 2013

Things are about to get interesting for UConn

UConn defenders Obi Melfonwu (20), Byron Jones (16) and
Ryan Donohue (52) will be challenged up upcoming games
When UConn's schedule was released, the back to back home games against Maryland and Michigan were circled as a stretch that would reveal a ton about the 2013 UConn football team and that was BEFORE the Huskies got pushed around in a season-opening loss to FCS Towson.

Watching the way Maryland pounded Old Dominion and Michigan scored at will against Notre Dame it's going to take quite the effort for the Huskies to avoid an 0-3 start heading into the road opener against Buffalo.

Maryland finished with 333 rushing yards and 587 yards of total offense in the 47-10 win over Old Dominion. Yes, ODU is a FCS team but it should be noted that when Old Dominion played Towson during the 2012 season it was ODU which emerged with 31-20 win. Not surprisingly, the early line has visiting Maryland favored by eight over UConn.

Seven different Terrapins had offensive plays of more than 20 yards  and the only one who played a prominent role in last year's UConn game was receiver Stefon Diggs. Quarterback C.J. Brown's ability to make plays with his legs and arm should be of particular concern for the Huskies' defense. Brandon Ross (149 rushing yards) gives the Terps a physical presence in the running game they lacked a season ago. Junior college transfer Deon Long is a speedy complement to the dynamic Diggs.

On the other side of the ball the defense brought pressure from a variety of positions en route to recording nine tackles behind the line of scrimmage and four sacks so it will obviously be a big test for the UConn offensive line. The good news is that right offensive tackle Kevin Friend is expected to be back for Saturday's game.

Predictably Edsall wanted no part of any questions regarding his return to Rentschler Field for the first time since he left the Huskies to coach at Maryland.

"I’m not really worried about that right now," Edsall said in the postgame press conference. "I’m sure I’ll be able to get a chance to talk about that plenty during the week. I’m just going to enjoy this one, do my normal Saturday routine, and I’ll start worrying about that when they get there, and we’ll address all those things next week. But I’m going enjoy this one. Wins are hard to come by, so I’m going enjoy this one.”

Michigan finished with 460 yards of total offense while showing remarkable balance with 39 run plays and 33 pass attempts.

Receiver Jeremy Gallon caught eight passes for 184 yards and three touchdowns while Devin Gardner ran for 82 yards and a TD and passed for 294 yards and four more scores in the 41-30 win.

After getting exposed by Towson's receivers, cornerbacks Byron Jones and Taylor Mack will need to step up the caliber of their play and the Huskies will need to show more of a pass rush that they did in the season opener or it's going to be a humbling couple of weeks for the UConn program.

Look for the time of the Michigan game to be released perhaps as early as tomorrow.


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