Football: UConn vs. Cincinnati preview capsule

The UConn Huskies charge out of the tunnel at Rentschler Field before a game against ECU on Sunday, Sept. 24. The Huskies will take on the Cincinnati Bearcats Saturday in their final game of the season. (Jon Sammis/The Daily Campus)

The UConn Huskies charge out of the tunnel at Rentschler Field before a game against ECU on Sunday, Sept. 24. The Huskies will take on the Cincinnati Bearcats Saturday in their final game of the season. (Jon Sammis/The Daily Campus)

The UConn Huskies will take on the Cincinnati Bearcats this Saturday in their final game of the 2017-18 college football regular season. Here's everything you need to know about the upcoming matchup.

Time and Place: 12 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 25 at Nippert Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Where to Watch: ESPNews, not available on University of Connecticut TV listings. Can also watch on WatchESPN app with TV service provider.

Last Meeting: UConn and Cincy faced off just last year on Oct. 8 at Rentschler Field. The Huskies won that game by a score of 20-9 as quarterback Bryant Shirreffs threw for 224 yards and two touchdowns. The UConn defense held the Bearcats to just two yards rushing.

Cincinnati leads the all-time series with 10 wins to the Huskies’ three wins. The Bearcats have won three of four games since the two teams moved to the American Athletic Conference.

Last Time Out: The Huskies took on New England rival Boston College and got blown out of the water, losing 39-16 in a Gridiron Series matchup at Fenway Park. UConn quarterback David Pindell threw three interceptions in the game, to just one touchdown, while New London, Connecticut product AJ Dillon rushed for 200 yards and two touchdowns for the Eagles.

The Bearcats have lost seven of their last eight games, including their most recent game in which they suffered a 20-48 loss on the road at ECU. Quarterback Hayden Moore threw three touchdowns and just one interception, but only earned 187 yards through the air. The Cincy defense allowed 464 yards passing, including one 95-yard touchdown.

UConn (3-8, 2-5 the American) vs. Cincinnati (3-8, 1-6 the American)

Key Players: 

UConn running back Arkeel Newsome:

He may not be the Huskies’ leading rusher, or even their second-leading rusher, but Arkeel Newsome is the most dynamic player in the UConn backfield, and perhaps the entire UConn offense. The senior running back from Ansonia, Connecticut is just an explosive play waiting to happen, especially when deployed on passing downs. Newsome has 256 yards and three touchdowns on the ground this year, but is far more impressive through the air where he has 541 yards and two touchdowns on just 25 receptions. That amounts to a whopping 21.6 yards per reception. Every time he catches the ball, the defense has to be on notice, because he might burn them for big yardage.

Cincy quarterback Hayden Moore:

Hayden Moore is a redshirt junior quarterback for the Bearcats and is the leader of a not-so-stellar Cincinnati offense. Moore has 2,363 passing yards this season and has thrown 18 touchdowns to eight interceptions. Moore isn’t the best dual-threat quarterback in the nation, but has had some moderate success on the ground this season, rushing for 302 yards and three touchdowns. Moore can make some big plays on the run, too, with a season-long rush of 46 yards. That’s enough success such that the Huskies will have to be wary of his ability to scramble out of the pocket. If the Huskies’ linebackers can keep that rushing ability in check and the secondary doesn’t give up big plays as they have most of the season, UConn should come away with a win.

UConn defensive back Tyler Coyle:

Redshirt freshman Tyler Coyle may be one to watch on a porous Huskies’ defense. The redshirt freshman from Windsor, Connecticut has two interceptions and a fumble recovery this season, as well as four pass breakups and six passes defensed. Coyle ranks third on the defense in tackles this season with 64, trailing only linebackers Junior Joseph and Vontae Diggs. Coyle has been the best playmaker in the worst unit on the Huskies’ defense, and he will need to come up big in the secondary on Saturday to ensure UConn ends the 2017-18 season on a high note.

Cincy linebacker Jaylyin Minor:

The Huskies will need to watch out for Cincy’s senior linebacker Jaylyin Minor, a 6-foot-1, 233-pound beast who imposes his will on opposing offenses. Minor leads the Bearcats with 110 tackles, including 4.5 tackles for loss and one sack. Minor is pretty good in coverage as well, recording two pass breakups and two passes defensed this season. The senior linebacker has also recovered one fumble on the year. Minor will be all over the field Saturday to find whichever Husky has the ball and he’ll probably bring him down. UConn will have to expose Cincinnati’s weakness on defense as far away from Minor if they want to continue to move the ball down the field.


Chris Hanna is the associate sports editor for The Daily Campus, covering women’s basketball and football. He can be reached via email at christopher.hanna@uconn.edu. He tweets @realchrishanna.