BYU Football: BYU vs UCONN Preview and Prediction

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Week 5: BYU vs UCONN 10/2/15

The UCONN Huskies are making the trip to Provo to take on the Cougars on Friday night. This will be their first trip to Provo and only the 2nd time these two teams have ever played one another. BYU won the first meeting between the two schools last season.

Here are a few things that I will be watching during the game Friday night:

BYU RB Battle

BYU is coming off a very disappointing showing against Michigan last week. I don’t want to bring up much from that game this week other than since RB Hine was injured last week, BYU is again having a running back try-out of sorts. Now, BYU hasn’t ruled out Brown or Hine from playing on Friday but most indications are that they will not. So what options do the Cougars have?

  1. Nate Carter: The Senior walk-on has the most carries of the available options. However, his numbers are not very good this year. He has 16 carries for 22 yards. Not great. But he did show signs of being a good runner last season with 46 carries for 290 yards.
  2. Francis Bernard: The Freshman RB had some good runs last week when he saw his first action of the season against Michigan. He had 4 carries for 30 yards. So in just 4 rushes, he has out-gained Carter on the season.
  3. Riley Burt: The coaching staff mentioned this week that the Freshman RB and former Box Elder standout could get some carries this week. Burt is a good athlete who could play many positions on either side of the ball. It will be fun to see him get some carries for the Cougars this Friday, just to see what he can do.

I am excited at the prospect of seeing the two Freshman RB’s get the chance to show what they can do this week. The coaching staff has pointed to depth having been an issue with the tough schedule, which won’t lighten in the coming years. BYU will need the depth and getting playing time for these guys now will only help the team when Jamaal Williams is back next season. If these Freshman can play well, paired with Mangum, the BYU team could be set up very nicely in a few years. But we thought having a senior backfield would work out well this season and now neither Hill or Williams are playing.

UCONN Kicking Game

UCONN K Bobby Puyol is having an interesting season. While he is 4/4 on his FG attempts this season, he is struggling with PAT’s, having missed three on the season. He is 4/7. While I don’t expect BYU to be in a close game with the Huskies, the lack of confidence the K seems to have with PAT’s could help BYU if the game is close. It will be something to pay attention to on Friday night.

QB Play

BYU QB Tanner Mangum had the worst game of his young career last week at Michigan. Now, a lot of the blame has been placed on the receiving corp for last week’s performance but some blame still falls on Mangum. He just seemed off. Again, it could have been the timing if the routes were off but as highly touted as he is, he will need to make those in-game adjustments. That part could be blamed on the coaching staff as well. I expect the RB’s to get more involved in the passing game if the run game is struggling again. Overall, I expect him to bounce back and have a solid effort. I am really more interested to see how the Huskies QB fares against the BYU defense.

UCONN brings in a capable QB in sophomore Bryant Shirreffs. Shirreffs is completing 65% of his passes and has 4 TD’s to only 1 INT on the year. Now, he hasn’t been going against the stiffest competition but the numbers are not bad. He also has the ability to keep plays alive with his legs, if necessary. He is the Huskies’ third leading rusher with 115 rushing yards on the season. That’s more than any RB BYU will run out on Friday night. It will be fun to watch him against the BYU defense.

Prediction

This is a game I think BYU should win pretty easily. I see it as a good opportunity for the young RB’s to get some reps and a feel for the offense.

BYU 31, UCONN 13

 

About the author

Justin Burr

I am an avid sports fan, especially BYU football and Yankee baseball. I watch basically any and every game I can. Currently living in NYC for school and work mean I get my Cougar fix with ESPN and the KSL 1160 app. Hit me up @jburr21.