UConn will host a familiar name Saturday night in front of what is expected to be a hostile environment at Rentschler Field. It’s the first true test at home for The Revolution and it’s one that fans don’t need much to get up for. Whether there are 20, 25, 30K or more in attendance, it’s going to be a fun night.
On paper, Syracuse looks like a formidable opponent. The Orange dismantled a Louisville squad that was expected to put up a fight in the ACC behind QB Malik Cunningham. A year after giving up 41-points to the Cardinals, Saturday was the least scored with Cunningham at the helm since Louisville managed just seven in South Bend in 2020. It was a resounding success for the Orange defense in their season opener, particularly after Louisville went to Orlando and beat UCF 20-14 on Friday night.
Offensively, Syracuse boasts one of the top running backs in the nation, Sean Tucker, who briefly left their season opener before returning in the second half. The UConn defense will have their hands full against the run not just with Tucker, but QB Garrett Shrader, who originally played at Mississippi State under a familiar name around these parts, Joe Moorehead. Shrader can move the sticks with his legs and will be effective in short to medium routes in the pass game.
Shrader leads a new look offense under first-year offensive coordinator Robert Anae. This will not be his first trip to The Rent, as he was OC for Taysom Hill and BYU when they came to Connecticut for a win over the Huskies in the 2014 season opener.
For UConn, they come in after registering their first win of the Jim Mora era last Saturday, the first victory for the Huskies at home since the lone win over Yale a year ago. This matchup presents a lot of opportunity for a program that is building back much quicker than many think. Tonight is a chance to show against a P5 opponent just how much progress has been made.
It’s been since Virginia at home in 2016 that they last came out victorious over a team from the power-five, but with Mora at the helm, the Huskies are going to find themselves in games more often than not, even when a pre-game spread has the game greater than a three-touchdown projection.
For the fanbase, it’s going to be a welcome sight taking on an opponent from the old Big East. A competitive game will see the fans become more involved throughout. If it’s close in the second half, anything is possible.
A former football rival. In The Rent. At night. What more could you ask for?