Syracuse Orange suffered another loss last week and now sit at 1-2 going into this week’s road matchup with the UConn Huskies (2-1). Yes, UConn plays football. I know, I had also forgotten this.
Below, the UConn Blog’s Aman Kidwai stops by to tell us everything we need to know about Connecticut football. Yes, our fans sort of hate each other because of basketball. Let’s not let that get in the way of being cordial, however...
I also answered some questions over there, if you’re interested at all.
How's the Big 12 admissions process going? Do they use the common application, or do they make you use theirs?
The annoying thing about Big 12 expansion is that nobody knows what's happening, and yet every day multiple supposedly credible people are telling us what's happening when not even the leaders of the Big 12 know. It's been an unreal reality show deserving of its own 30 for 30. So yeah it's going great.
UConn is 2-1, but could easily be 3-0 or 0-3. How do you guys feel after the first few games given all of that?
Some feel like Diaco is a fraud, and that it's embarrassing to have close, ugly games, but the more reasonable parts of the fanbase see a developing team early in the season that still has a lot to work on, may also be evolving its offense on the fly, but can still take the program another step forward.
The Maine game was a more controlling performance than the final score indicated, and the loss to Navy, despite the coaching mismanagement which caused the loss, is still a positive result. A 13-10 win over Virginia is definitely is not inspiring a lot of hope or excitement among the casual fans but things could be worse than 2-1.
Have you been turning into Syracuse this year? Any thoughts on the new offensive scheme so far?
I had a chance to catch the past two games, and while I took great pleasure in the beatings the Orange took against Louisville and South Florida, they'll certainly be a challenge for UConn. Amba Etta-Tawo is for real. It will be interesting to see him against UConn's secondary, which has been disappointing early in the season but played well against UVA and has a lot of talent and experience. Dungey's ability to make plays with his legs adds an additional factor which will be of concern.
The offensive scheme is not unfamiliar to Bob Diaco, our defensive-minded head coach, or the players, who have seen similar concepts from Houston, South Florida, and even BYU in competitive games. That said, I don't think it would be surprising to see Syracuse jump ahead early on until the Huskies adjust.
The Huskies struggle to score many points, while the Orange don't, necessarily. Do you see this being an issue on Saturday?
A lot of times when a really good offense meets a really good defense, which is what UConn has, the defensively strong team wins. Just ask then-No. 13 Houston about their trip to Connecticut last year.
How much do you hate us, on a scale of one to six overtimes?
We are better than you at basketball and football, among other things, so the hate isn't really that strong. I'd hardly consider Syracuse a rival if it weren't for our shared time in the Big East. Interestingly enough, during that time UConn has a winning record against Syracuse.
I mean, it's not like I I definitely don't have an "I Hate Syracuse" article coming out this week...
Who's one UConn player we should be keeping an eye on in this one?
I'll go with senior wide receiver Noel Thomas. He has 26 receptions for 277 yards on the season and is a reliable primary receiving target who has consistently produced in each game.
Is there a specific Syracuse player that terrifies you most?
Probably Dungey just because of the way he can keep plays alive. That will help keep drives alive, which could wear down the Husky defense.
UConn wins, just like Vegas says they will, if they _____.
Can put together a solid offensive performance.
Syracuse rights the ship and grabs a road win if they _____.
Wear down the UConn defense until the dam breaks late.
Prediction time: What happens in this game, and why?
UConn wins, 28-24.
Syracuse's defense is going to be in trouble with two injured starters in the secondary and the defense as a whole has not looked stout albeit against very good competition. Diaco's Huskies have found a way to stay in games down to the wire, even going back to last season. This will probably be a close one again but I think UConn's offense can do just enough to propel the Huskies to victory on the back of a strong performance from the defense.
The home field advantage will also help, as Husky fans will be into this one.
Thanks again to Aman for taking the time out to answer these. And be sure to give the UConn Blog a follow on Twitter, and read up on all things Connecticut-related over at the actual site the UConn Blog.