Western Michigan (2-2) at Connecticut (2-2)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, October 1st, 3:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Rentschler Field (40,000) -- Storrs, Connecticut. Television: SNY. Home Record: WMU 2-0, UConn 1-1. Away Record: WMU 0-2, UConn 1-1. Neutral Record: WMU 0-0, UCon 0-0. Conference Record: WMU 1-0, UConn 0-0. Series Record: Connecticut leads, 1-0.
GAME NOTES: For just the second-time ever Connecticut and Western Michigan will collide on the gridiron when the Huskies host the Broncos this Saturday afternoon at Rentschler Field.
The only other meeting took place in 2003 when the Huskies clobbered Western Michigan, 41-27, at Rentschler Field.
As long as the Broncos stay away from the Big Ten Conference they should be alright. Western Michigan is currently 2-2 on the year and both losses have come against Michigan and Illinois. The loss to the Fighting Illini came this past weekend as WMU was narrowly defeated, 23-20. In between those losses were victories over Nicholls State and Central Michigan.
As for the Huskies, they are coming off a win over a MAC opponent, as they just took down Buffalo, 17-3. The win was the second on the year for UConn, which also snapped a two-game slide with the victory. After this contest the Huskies will begin Big East play on the road against West Virginia.
Alex Carder did everything he possibly could to get the Broncos a victory over Illinois, but they fell just short even though the quarterback threw for 306 yards and two touchdowns. Carder continues to rely on Jordan White, as the wideout hauled in 14 passes for 132 yards and one touchdown.
The reason the Broncos were unable to pull out the road win was because the team found no room to run. Western Michigan finished with only 35 rushing yards on 1.7 yards per carry and the team's best option, Tevin Drake, was limited to just 18 yards.
It hasn't been easy for the Broncos in terms of running the ball, as the team is netting just 111.6 ypg. Those numbers are not terrible, but the best back in the stable for coach Bill Cubit is Tevin Drake and he still has not reach the 200 yard plateau.
Because of the lack of success on the ground, Carder has had to shoulder the offensive load. The veteran gunslinger has completed over 70 percent of his passes, but comes into this weekend with only 804 yards and seven touchdowns against three interceptions.
The team's inability to score wasted an outstanding defensive performance. Western Michigan only surrendered two touchdowns, but the team did not have an answer for Illinois' rushing attack, which punished WMU for 296 yards.
Western Michigan has only played four games, but it would appear coach Cubit's defense has a problem slowing down the opposition's ground game. So far the broncos are being torched for 189.3 rushing yards per matchup and if the team does not improve in this area there will be plenty more losses in the future for WMU.
It wasn't the team's best effort offensively, but the Huskies did just enough to get through Buffalo. It is still concerning for UConn that a team like Buffalo was able to stick with Connecticut for a large portion of the matchup, and in fact were tied with the Huskies late in the third quarter.
UConn only collected 13 first downs in the 17-3 victory and racked up a mere 293 total yards. The ground game was stymied, as UConn was held to just 80 yards on 1.9 yards per attempt. The inconsistency out of the backfield has been a problem since day one this season, as the team is currently posting just 121.8 ypg on a weak 3.0 yards per attempt.
As of now Lyle McCombs has been the best option for the Huskies as the tailback comes into this matchup with 366 yards and four touchdowns.
To make matters worse for coach Paul Pasqualoni the passing attack is not experienced enough to overcome a weak rushing attack. Johnny McEntee has taken the majority of the snaps for UConn, but he has completed less than 50.0 percent of his throws and has only two touchdowns against four interceptions.
However, McEntee could be progressing because those two touchdown passes came in the team's win over Buffalo. The quarterback finished with 213 yards on 12- of-21 passing and will need to continue in the right direction if UConn wants to stand a chance in the Big East.
The only reason the Huskies have two victories this season is because the defense has been outstanding. UConn is holding team's to just 13.5 ppg, and is coming off a dominating performance over Buffalo.
The Huskies did surrender 126 rushing yards in the matchup, but this has been an area of overwhelming success for UConn, as the team comes into this weekend limiting the opposition to just 91.2 yards per game on a weak 2.9 yards per attempt.
Coach Pasqualoni's team can do more than just stop the run, as the team is also relentless in creating pressure behind the line of scrimmage and comes into this weekend with 33 TFLs and 13 sacks.
Even though the Huskies have yet to find their groove offensively, the defense is good enough to carry the team to another victory. However, just like last week, it will not be easy because Western Michigan is a feisty team.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Connecticut 24, Western Michigan 17
09/28 10:41:40 ET