On Saturday, the University of Connecticut football team will take on Army in its fourth game of the season.
After last week’s humiliating loss to Purdue, 0-49, the team is looking to rebound and improve upon its 0-3 record. The UConn roster has yet to score on a Football Bowl Subdivision team, giving up a combined 94 points against Fresno State and Purdue.
Now, the roster rolls up to play Army in its second away game of the season. With uncertainty looming around the team’s quarterback position and outright frustration over the struggling status of both the offense and the defense, most fans aren’t hoping for a win. They’re just hoping for a less embarrassing loss.
Interim head coach Lou Spanos has been tight-lipped on the quarterback situation thus far; against Purdue, Steven Krajewski started after being second-string behind Jack Zergiotis for the first two games of the season. “UConn’s quarterback carousel may be getting another turn come Saturday’s game at Army,” said the Hartford Courant’s Shawn McFarland in an article on Wednesday. This week, Spanos remarked the team was “going to see throughout the week of practice who could give us the best opportunity to win.”
It’s a coach’s answer, but it means more than just what Spanos says. The Huskies have changed starting quarterbacks twice in four games, and it’s clear Spanos’ confidence in Krajewski may be wavering after he was held scoreless and gave up a late-game interception last weekend. But Zergiotis has looked even less compelling in his performances, scoreless against Fresno and then struggling with interceptions against Holy Cross.
The other two quarterbacks on the roster right now are Micah Leon, a redshirt junior, and Tyler Phommachanh, a freshman. It seems unlikely, though certainly not impossible, that one of them will get to start, as UConn works with new week-by-week offensive analyst Noel Mazzone, formerly of Arizona, and adjusts to Spanos’ position as interim head coach.
This will be just the third game of the season for the Army lineup. It handily beat Georgia State two weeks ago and clinched a nailbiter over Western Kentucky by just a field goal last week. Army comes into this matchup averaging over 40 points per game while giving up an average of 22. UConn comes in with an average of just over nine points scored and has given up an average of 44 a game.
It would take something truly spectacular, truly beyond what UConn has done this season, for this game to even be close. And yet Army is at least not infallible, though no one would argue the level of UConn and Georgia State is similar right now. Army has had four fumbles, one of which was lost, and its three quarterbacks have done nothing close to what its rushing game has.
Army averages just under 300 yards per game rushing, but under 90 passing. If defending against the run wasn’t one of UConn’s biggest weaknesses, that’s a weakness that the team could exploit.
Unfortunately, defending against the run is not one of UConn’s strong points. Its opponents average nearly 200 yards per game rushing and nearly 300 passing. Army, on the back of running backs Tyrell Robinson and Jako Buchanan, is poised to tear the UConn defense apart, and yet the pair still isn’t the biggest issue for UConn’s defense.
No, that is Christian Anderson, QB, who has an average of 87 rushing yards per game. He, like Holy Cross’ quarterback Matt Sluka, seems to prefer a rushing approach, which is bad news for a UConn defense that recently gave Sluka 112 yards.
UConn and Army will face off on Saturday at noon in West Point, New York, and the game will be broadcast by CBS.