Wednesday, October 29, 2008
When I think about Connecticut football, I think about the 2007 season. Nice record, but they never really beat anyone. Yes, they beat South Florida last year. But that was after South Florida turned into a shadow of their former selves. They played Duke, Maine, Temple, and Akron in four of their first five games. They beat a lesser Louisville team with the help of a fake fair catch. I just didn't see anything that impressed me. When they had a chance to make a name for themselves and win the outright Big East title, they got completely smoked by West Virginia 66-21. But they were a young team that was just growing into itself.
Fast forward to 2008 and they beat Hofstra, Temple, Virginia, Baylor, Louisville, and Cincinnati. Not exactly a murders row. They gave one away to Rutgers, and got throttled by North Carolina. Outside of the Cincinnati win, there's nothing impressive to look at. But that Cincinnati game was their last game, and that does concern me. Because up until that game, I thought Cincinnati was going sneak into a BCS berth out of the Big East. Obviously, a lot has changed in the past week.
Any talk about the Huskies success starts with Donald Brown. He leads the nation in yards per carry, yards per game, and is second in total rushing yards. Other than that, they don't stick out in any categories that would lead you to think they are doing something sneaky like not turning the ball over or not being penalized. They're 50th in penalty yards per game, and 37th in turnover margin at +.50. Like West Virginia, they are one of the worst passing teams in D-1. They just run the ball very well, and they do it often.
As I say all this, it is with the understanding that West Virginia hasn't been world beaters outside of the Auburn game. But Connecticut, with their third string quarterback, overpowered what I thought was a tough Cincinnati team. Much in the same fashion West Virginia beat Auburn. Both teams just took over the second half and capitalized on the other teams mistakes. If you believe West Virginia is just now hitting it's stride, you can say the same thing about the Huskies. What to take from all this? Mistakes will be the difference in this game. Turnovers and penalties.....