Time and Place: 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 4 at Rentschler Field in East Hartford.
Where to Watch: ESPNU, channel 50.2 on Storrs TV listings.
Last Meeting: USF won 42-27 on Oct. 15, 2016 in Tampa. UConn led 17-14 early in the third quarter before the Bulls rolled off four touchdowns separated by a lone UConn field goal. USF quarterback Quinton Flowers rushed for three touchdowns in the win.
Last Time Out: UConn lost 52-12 at home to Missouri. USF lost 28-14 at home to Houston, their first loss of the season.
Key Players: UConn (3-5, 2-3 the American) vs. USF (7-1, 4-1 the American)
UConn quarterback Bryant Shirreffs:
Shirreffs had an inconsistent day in UConn’s 52-12 loss to Missouri, going 19-for-39 for 202 yards while rushing 15 times for just 23 yards. He missed a few open throws as the Huskies struggle to move the ball against a vulnerable Tigers defense. He will have to play well Saturday to keep pace with his counterpart on the other sideline.
USF quarterback Quinton Flowers:
That counterpart is the explosive Flowers, who was considered a fringe Heisman candidate at the start of the season and dominated the Huskies last season. He has thrown for 1570 yards and 12 touchdowns this season while rushing for 620 yards and nine scores. Last week, however, Houston was able to contain him on the ground, holding the speedy passer to seven yards on 14 totes, although he scored twice.
UConn linebacker Junior Joseph:
You can’t stop Flowers, you can only hope to contain him. Joseph is the Huskies’ tackle leader with 68 (42 unassisted), with 5.5 for loss and three sacks. UConn’s linebackers will have to play well to minimize the offensive damage.
USF running backs D’Ernest Johnson and Darius Tice:
Last year, Flowers was flanked by workhouse back Marlon Mack, who now plays for the Indianapolis Colts. Mack’s replacement are Johnson and Tice, who have combined for 1,327 yards and 15 touchdowns on the ground. Neither are threats to catch passes, but both will keep UConn honest with the threat of Flowers’ rushing.
Bulls No Longer Undefeated: USF was 7-0 and ranked No. 17 in the AP poll entering last Sunday’s home showdown with Houston, but a 20-yard touchdown run by Cougars quarterback D’Eriq King with 11 seconds left handed them a 28-24 loss, their first of the season. The Bulls dropped out of the AP poll with the loss this week, and failed to make the Top 25 of the initial College Football Playoff Rankings.
Summers’ Punishment: Last week against Missouri, cornerback Jamar Summers tossed the ball at a receiver after coming down with an interception, leading Randy Edsall to sned him to the locker room for the rest of the game. Edsall announced Tuesday at media availability that Summers would not play in the first three quarters Saturday, replaced by Tre Bell. According to Edsall, his appointed leadership council determined the discipline, which the head coach called “pretty harsh.”
Makeup Game: Saturday’s game was originally scheduled for Sept. 9 in East Hartford, but it was postponed due to travel concerns from the threat of Hurricane Irma. The game was initially cancelled, but efforts from the American Athletic Conference and a few of its non-conference opponents led to its re-scheduling, as well as the shuffling of several other games’ dates. Saturday is UConn’s last regular season home game at Rentschler Field this season.
Tyler Keating is the sports editor for The Daily Campus, covering men’s basketball. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. He tweets @tylerskeating.