Today is the third non-conference matchup of the year for UConn and it’s old friend Syracuse, who comes in 3-0, fresh off a 30-7 home win over Florida State last weekend. QB Eric Dungey left the Orange win after suffering an eye injury, but redshirt freshman Tommy DeVito stepped in and actually took the offense to another level, leading SU to four second half scoring drives. Expect both QB’s to play today, as DeVito has shown more ability during his limited time, despite Eric Dungey only trails Trace McSorley (Penn State) as the only active college players with 5,000 passing yards/1,000 rushing in their careers.
With that, here are three keys to the game:
- Time of Possession: Just like in week one against UCF, this stat may not tell the entire story due to the offensive pace of play head coach Dino Babers has instilled here in Syracuse, but the Huskies need to keep the ball our of the Cuse offense as much as possible in order to be successful this afternoon. Look for the UConn offense to try to control the clock as much as they can today, which will ultimately limit Syracuse’s possessions and keep the young Huskies defense off the field.
- 3rd Down Defense: UConn has steadily improved in this category each week, but the stats are a bit skewed given they didn’t force a URI 3rd down the entire first half in last Saturday’s 56-49 win. Each week has seen improvement (83%-to-70%-to-0%), with last week only facing four URI 3rd down attempts. Winning the battle of third down will ultimately give the ball back to the UConn offense and limit Syracuse points on the day.
- Staying Ahead of the Sticks: This is key, particularly with Syracuse’s 3rd down defense, which ranks 2nd nationally at just 19% (8-of-42). First and second down will be key to keep 3rd down situations, as short as possible.
Do these and the game will ultimately be closer than what is being projected.
MATT SCHONVISKY / SITE CREATOR