The fist pump by Randy Edsall at the end of last Thursday’s game said it all. This Uconn team finally found a little heart and they rode it to two big wins against West Virginia and Pittsburgh and made sure they were still in the hunt for a bowl bid and more importantly the Big East title. Just a quick review of last week then on to the game at Syracuse.
Offense: The passing game last week was hot then cold then hot again. Zach Fraser started out by throwing an interception then threw for a touchdown then followed it up by missing 7 straight passes. He got better by the end of the game but consistency still seems to be an issue. His lack of consistency was saved by the running game. Pittsburgh rarely allows 100 yards rushing in a game but last week Jordan Todman had 222 yards and most importantly converted a fourth and 1 with over 2 minutes to play at their own 19 yard line. More about that later.
Defense: This young defense stepped up again. They may not have played as well as they did against West Virginia but they played well enough to keep their team in the game which all you can ask for. One concern going forward is up 9 they allowed Pitt to drive down the field and score quickly in the fourth to allow Pitt within 2 points.
Coaching: One quick note about coaching. Randy Edsall showed a ton of faith in his offense by having them go for it on fourth and 1 on their own 19 up 2 with over 2 minutes to go. He says that he looked in to his player’s eyes and saw how hungry they were and knew they were going to get it. There may be some truth to that but I think also he saw how effortlessly the Pitt offense was able to score the last time they had the ball and had no interest in putting the ball back in their hands again. No matter the reason Coach Edsall gets a tip of the hat for making that call.
On to this week at Syracuse. The first thing that comes to mind is that Fraser needs to pass better. The running game is good but when the passing game breaks down they become one dimensional and easy to stop. Without a steady passing game Uconn won’t win the big east and still may not make a bowl game.
The defense played well the last two weeks but it would still be nice to see them tighten up a little. Their linebackers are pretty good with Sio Moore and Scott Lutrus playing better. If they have a good game Uconn stands a pretty good chance of winning tonight.
A couple notes about tonight’s game: Uconn has yet to win on the road and Syracuse has yet to win at home so someone will get the monkey off of their back this week. Also look for Nick Williams tonight he had a huge kick return for a touchdown last week and is getting a chance to start at wide receiver today. He’s a good player and may be just what Zach Frazer needs in the passing game.
My prediction: Syracuse wins 24-21. I think this will be a close game but in the end I think the lack of a passing game will hurt Uconn.