Losers of five straight and with just four games remaining in the season, the UConn Huskies (1-7, 0-4 American) have a chance to build momentum for the home stretch against Tulsa (1-7, 0-4 American) this Saturday.
During their outing against UMass last weekend, the Huskies held a 17-9 fourth quarter lead, but surrendered two touchdowns in an eight-minute span before quarterback David Pindell threw an interception on the Huskies’ last offensive drive.
However, head coach Randy Edsall said at his weekly press conference that he is not overly concerned with wins and losses right now, and that he is more focused on establishing a culture.
“I couldn’t care how many we win or lose,” said Edsall. “Everyone wants to sprinkle the fairy dust or put it in the microwave and hit five seconds and that ain’t what it’s about in my book.”
With the program’s eyes set towards the future, the veterans of the team seem to be focused on self-improvement while leaving a legacy for the younger members of the team to look towards.
“For me, the whole season is just for me to get better in areas that I felt coming into the season I wasn’t as good,” said senior wide receiver Hergy Mayala. “I’m just playing to get better and maybe give something to the younger guys.”
After winning its season-opener, Tulsa has lost seven straight games. Saturday provides a rare opportunity for the Huskies’ defense to face a below-average offense.
The quarterback position has been a revolving door for Tulsa this season. Junior Luke Skipper started the first four games of the season before sophomore Seth Boomer was handed the playbook in early October. Skipper ranks 10 out of 11 qualified quarterbacks in the American Athletic Conference in passer rating and neither quarterback has passed the 1000-yard mark this season.
Tulsa is stronger on the other side of the ball. The Golden Hurricanes don’t have a single defensive player that has tallied more than two sacks this season but their defense ranks top-five in The American in opposing scoring defense and total defense.
If UConn wants to leave Tulsa with a win Saturday, it will need its defense to take advantage of Tulsa’s lack of offensive firepower. It may be a tall task to order considering UConn’s defense currently ranks dead last in the conference, allowing 47.8 points per game. UConn’s defense is porous. It has been all year. But Tulsa’s offense also has the explosive potential of an underwater firework.
Tulsa’s offense ranks dead last in passing efficiency. UConn’s defense ranks dead last in opposing passing efficiency. One of those units is going to have a better day on Saturday.
The two conference foes will kick off at Skelly Field at Chapman Stadium at 7 p.m. Saturday night.
Bryan Lambert is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at email@example.com.