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UConn Huskies Looking for Two in a Row, Host Syracuse




Coach Bob Diaco’s UConn football team continues their homestand on Saturday, Sept. 24 when they host the Syracuse Orange at 1:00 p.m. at Pratt & Whitney Stadium at Rentschler Field.

The Huskies carry a 2-1 record into the non-conference matchup with Syracuse (1-2), after having defeated Virginia (0-3), 13-10, in a real snoozer last Saturday in East Hartford. On the other hand the Orange, under first year Coach Dino Babers, enter the contest with a “must win” attitude after having lost their last two games, in front of the Carrier Dome faithful, by lopsided margins.

The Orange was thrashed by No. 3 Louisville 62-28 on Sept. 9 and then South Florida embarrassed the ‘Cuse 45-20 last Saturday.

In the win over Virginia, senior place kicker Bobby Puyol booted a 43-yard field goal with 1:33 left in regulation that made the difference in the Huskies 13-10 win. It was Puyol’s second game-winning kick of the season as his field goal with 11 seconds left in regulation allowed the Huskies to defeat Maine 24-21 on Sept. 1.

The end-of-game in this one was eerily similar to last week in Annapolis when the Huskies potential, game-winning scoring drive saw time run out with the ball on the Navy two-yard line. But this week it was Virginia that failed to manage the game clock with less than a minute left in regulation and it cost the Cavaliers a chance to win their first game of the 2016 season.

The Cavaliers had the ball on the Huskies two-yard line with no timeouts left, then rushed the field goal unit into action, and subsequently missed a chip shot from 25-yards that would have sent the game into overtime.

Connecticut quarterback Bryant Shirreffs wasn’t at his best after his record-setting performance against Navy. The junior was 13 for 24 for 154 yards and one interception.

Virginia quarterback Kurt Benkert wasn’t much better as he connected on 23 for 42 for 241 yards and one interception.

Neither team established much of a rushing attack as UVA held a slight edge with 140 total yards versus the Huskies 123.

Virginia led at halftime 10-0.

Connecticut and Syracuse will meet for the first time since 2012. UConn holds a 6-3 edge in the series.

The Huskies will have their hands full attempting to deal with the high-tempo of the Syracuse offense led by quarterback Eric Dungey.

“They are (Syracuse) operating at a very fast clip,” noted UConn coach Bob Diaco in his weekly presser. “I believe that our defense is built physically and systematically well for it but it’s a huge challenge.”

The game (1:00 p.m. kickoff) will air on the UConn IMG Sports Radio Network (WTIC – Hartford, 1080 AM) with Joe D’Ambrosio on the call and Wayne Norman providing color. The game will be broadcast live on the CBS Sports Network.



The big questions will be, can the Huskies stop the Syracuse aerial assault?

Will Syracuse be looking too far ahead at next week’s game against the Fighting Irish or likewise for the Huskies who have a huge conference battle with Houston?

It will be the ‘Cuse in a wild west shootout!

FINAL: Syracuse 42 UConn 35


Down and out

Cornerback Jamar Summers, who had a huge pick in the UVA win, is tied for ninth in school history.

UConn wide receiver Noel Thomas is seventh in the country in receptions per game.

The Orange has averaged 506 yards of total offense per game – 360 yards in the air and 146 rushing. Dungey has passed for 960 yards and seven touchdowns.

Next up for the Huskies is a huge AAC date in Houston with the No. 6 ranked Cougars on Sept. 29. The game will be broadcast on ESPN (8 p.m.).

Follow Bob for all the UConn football game highlights, features and more: @WhitneyBob

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Bob Whitney

Bob is a college basketball columnist here at He also covers Yale football and the Connecticut Sun of the WNBA.
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