It is week four of the college football season and conference play begins for many teams around the country. Six Big Ten teams are playing head-to-head matchups this week, while Indiana finishes up their non-conference slate with a home contest against the UConn Huskies. After a disappointing performance against Ohio St. last week, the Hoosiers have one more chance to improve against a smaller opponent before they face the onslaught of the Big Ten the rest of the season.
Indiana has won 16 of their last 17 non-conference games, winning eight straight. The Huskies have lost 17 straight games against FBS opponents but hold a 2-0 series edge against the Hoosiers with a 34-10 victory in Stoors in 2003 and a 14-7 win in Bloomington in 2006.
How to Watch: Indiana Hoosiers versus UConn Huskies
|Who||Week 4: Indiana Hoosiers versus UConn Huskies|
|When||Noon ET / Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019|
|Where||Memorial Stadium – Bloomington, Ind.|
|Tickets||Find the Lowest Ticket Prices on SeatGeek|
|Watch||Big Ten Network|
|Listen||IU Radio Network|
|Spread||IU -27, O/U 58|
Meet the UConn Huskies
UConn is an FBS team that plays in the American Athletic Conference. Entering their matchup with Indiana, the Huskies sit at (1-1, 0-0) on the season with a 24-21 win against FCS opponent Wagner College and a 31-23 loss to Big Ten foe Illinois.
The team is led by Head Coach Randy Edsall who is (79-91) over two stints with the team from 1999 to 2010 and 2017 to now. Edsall previously coached for five seasons with Maryland from 2011 to 2015 and has an overall coaching record of (101-125)
Coach Edsall is a great football coach and he has a lot of pride in what he built there before he left and now that he’s back.Indiana Head Coach Tom Allen on UConn
Offensively, the Huskies averaged 23.5 points and 338.5 yards per game with 47 total points and five touchdowns in their first two games of play. Taking care of the ball has been a trouble for Edsall’s team as they have given up the ball five times with three interceptions and two fumbles lost this season. On the defensive side of the ball, UConn allowed an average of 271.0 yards while giving up 27.5 points per game. Their defense has taken the ball away three times on the season with an interception and two fumble recoveries.
2019 AAC East Division Standings Entering Week 4
Get to Know the UConn Huskies
Key Offensive Players
The Huskie’s leading passer on the season is true freshman quarterback Jack Zergiotis out of Montreal, Quebec. He did not play in UConn’s first game as graduate student Michael Beaudry got the starting job but got hurt. Zergiotis received the job for the Illinois game and went 21-for-31 with 275 yards and two interceptions. The freshman held a completion percentage of 67.7 percent and a quarterback rating of 129.4.
According to Edsall, Zergiotis has won the starting job even with Beaudry being available.
He’s got a little bit of the `it’ factor.UConn Head Coach Randy Edsall on Jack Zergiotis
Junior running back Kevin Mensah rushed 50 times for 171 yards and two touchdowns the first two weeks of the season. He is carrying an average of 3.4 yards per carry with his longest being a 24 yard carry against Wagner. In the game against Illinois, Mensah could not provide large numbers to aid his team as he ran for just 27 yards on 14 attempts. He did provide one touchdown for the Huskie’s but it was not enough.
Zergioti’s leading receiver is in the form of freshman wide-out Cameron Ross. In his only appearance this season, Ross tallied in four receptions for 85 yards for a 21.3 average. Senior Ardell Brown and freshman Matt Drayton give Zergioti additional targets to move the ball downfield as both receivers combined for 13 receptions for 151 yards in two games. The Huskie passing attack stats show they are capable of moving the ball but have not conjured up points for the offense.
Key Defensive Players
Defensively, UConn has experience in the linebacker core. Senior D.J. Morgan leads the team in total tackles with 19 on the season. Along with those tackles, Morgan has 1.5 sacks, a pass deflection and a forced fumble with a recovery for the Huskie defense. Junior linebacker Ryan Gilmartin is second on the team with 14 total tackles and junior Omar Fortt is third with 13 and a pass deflection.
Sophomore Travis Jones leads the defensive line with six total tackles while sophomore Kevon Jones and sophomore Lwal Uguak each have five total tackles. UConn has six sacks on the season with 2.5 coming from Uguak.
The defensive secondary recorded one interception on the season for a 52 yard return from junior defensive back Tyler Cole who leads the secondary with 11 total tackles.
UConn’s defense has given up an average of 154.5 passing and 116.5 rushing yards per game during their first two matchups.
I would compare them body type wise to Virginia, that’s who they remind me of in terms of they got a lot of good length, a lot of good looking players, and they’re an improved football team.Indiana Head Coach Tom Allen on UConn.
Week 4: What to watch for against UConn Huskies
1. Response from Indiana after last week’s performance against Ohio State.
After getting routed by 41 points last week, look for Indiana to show up ready to play with passion and anger in their play. This game provides a chance for the Hoosiers to get the taste of last week out of their mouth and get a win to keep moving forward on the season. Will Tom Allen’s team come out with energy and put the game away early, or will the Huskies find a way to keep it a fight like they did against the Fighting Illini.
When you walk out there on that field, you say that enough is enough and I’m going to do my job and focus on my play so that I can go execute at a very high level.Indiana Defensive Coordinator Kane Wommack
2. Indiana’s tackling
This is a chance for the Hoosiers to fix the tackling before they go back to Big Ten play. Against Ohio St., Indiana’s missed tackles added 166 yards to the Buckeye’s offense. The Hoosier’s limited the missed tackles when they played Eastern Illinois back in week two but the nightmare from the Ball St. game returned last week. With another week of practice to sharpen up their fundamentals and a smaller opponent this Saturday, look for the Hoosier’s to put away the concerns about their tackling.
3. The Hoosier’s rushing attack
After three games, Indiana has tallied just 304 yards on 98 carries for an average of 3.4 yards a carry. Sophomore Stevie Scott is sitting at 118 yards on the season with his longest run being just 10 yards. The problem has not been fixed in three games, whether it is up front on the offensive line led by three seniors or defenses loading the box with many defenders and stuffing running lanes for Hoosier backs to plow through. Saturday’s matchup against the Huskies gives Indiana an opportunity for the run game to have the breakout game that it needs heading into conference play.
Week 4: Indiana Hoosiers versus UConn Huskies Predictions
41-14 Indiana. The Hoosiers come out from the gate and put up points early against the Huskies. The defense improves their tackling and holds UConn to under 300 yards of total offense while acquiring two takeaways. Indiana gets the rushing attack going with a big game from Stevie Scott and keeps the Huskies from making it a close game. Indiana uses this game to sharpen everything up before first road test next week against the Spartans.Andrew Rude
42-28 Indiana. Regardless if Indiana starts Ramsey or Penix, the Hoosiers will have a chance to reset against the Huskies. A week of tough practices will translate into improved tackling and a smoother offense, but all of that comes against an opponent who barely squeaked by an FCS team in week one. Indiana has to not only win, but win convincingly, before the fanbase can get the bitter Buckeye taste out of their mouths.Rob Jiang
35-7 Indiana. Hoosiers start off strong and passionate after their loss to Ohio State. Their defense shuts down UConn early and throughout the entire game. Indiana cruises through this game before their first away game against Michigan State.Dakota Thompson
30-17 Indiana. IU comes out firing, and Peyton Ramsey bounces back after struggling against Ohio St. UConn, an AAC school that has already faced a Big Ten opponent, keeps it respectable, but IU moves on to 3-1. Nick Westbrook has a season-high in catches and receiving yards.Nithin Krishnan
31-7 Indiana. Despite the recent struggles against Ohio State, the Hoosiers find themselves facing another opponent that is not on the same level as they are. We have seen the outcome against opponents like UConn, and despite the games this past weekend, I don’t see why the Hoosiers shouldn’t have a relatively strong performance. We have seen this script before, no matter who the starting quarterback is. I expect a low scoring game from the opponent and a high scoring game for the Hoosier offense. Another shutout might be tough, but the defense should be able to get close to one.Noah Freeman
Featured Photo: Stephen Slade/University of Connecticut Athletics