THREE THINGS TO WATCH (UConn at Western Michigan)
1. UConn’s defensive line: Teddy Jennings and Jesse Joseph are injured and out for the season. That’s a lot of talent and experience lost to the Huskies. End Trevardo Williams and tackle Ryan Wirth remain in their spots. Tim Willman starts at the other end and Julian Campenni gets the nod at the other tackle. Guys like Angelo Pruitt and E.J. Norris will see more action. Kenton Adeyemi and B.J. McBryde remain in the rotation too. The younger guys are being put the test, so watch closely.
2. Broncos quarterback Alex Carder: UConn’s defense doesn’t need to be reminded that this guy had his way with the Huskies last season when Western came to the Rent and knocked off UConn. It’s hard to see anyone passing for over 400 yards against the Huskies this season. Rain is in the forecast at Waldo Stadium too. That might force the Broncos to run the ball a little more. The Huskies will need to be on their toes.
3. UConn’s running game: Think about it. If you were a defensive coordinator, wouldn’t you focus on stopping the Huskies from running the ball? UConn hasn’t shown any inclination to pass the ball or pass it well. Chandler Whitmer still hasn’t thrown a touchdown pass. So stop Lyle McCombs and the running game and you’ve got a chance, right? The Huskies need better blocking. We say it over and over. But a little variety in the attack couldn’t be a bad thing either. Wouldn’t you love to see a 40- or 50-yard pass play on the very first play from scrimmage? Or at least more passing on first down.
BIG EAST POWER RATINGS
1. Louisville (3-0): The Cardinals scored on their first six possessions against North Carolina and won 39-34. Louisville is 3-0 for first time since 2006.
2. Rutgers (3-0): Kyle Flood is the first Rutgers coach to win his first three games since John Bateman in 1960.
3. Cincinnati (2-0): Bearcats are off until Sept. 29 when they play Virginia Tech.
4. USF (2-1): Bulls travel to Ball State for second road trip in three weeks.
5. UConn (2-1): Where’s Waldo Stadium? Kalamazoo, Mich., of course. Huskies play at Western Michigan, hoping to go 3-1.
6. Syracuse (1-2): Orange head to Minnesota to face the Gophers of the Bit Ten.
7. Pitt (1-2): QB Tino Sunseri jump kicked the Panthers’ offense last week. Can Pitt find some consistency?
8. Temple (1-1): Owls head to Penn State. The Nittany Lions lead the series 37-3-1, but I doubt Temple will get that fourth win.
THIS WEEK’S BIG EAST SCHEDULE
Saturday, September 22
Connecticut at Western Michigan.......... 2 p.m.
Series: Tied, 1-1
Last Meeting: Oct. 1, 2011 — Western Michigan, 38-31
Gardner-Webb at Pittsburgh............. 3:30 p.m.
Series: First meeting
Temple at Penn State........................ 3:30 p.m.
Series: Penn State leads, 37-3-1
Last Meeting: Sept. 17, 2011 — Penn State, 14-10
USF at Ball State................................ 4:30 p.m.
Television: BIG EAST Network
Series: USF leads, 1-0
Last Meeting: Sept. 10, 2011 — USF, 37-7
Rutgers at Arkansas................................ 7 p.m.
Series: First meeting
Louisville at Florida International........... 7 p.m.
Series: Florida International leads, 1-0
Last Meeting: Sept. 9, 2011 — Florida International, 24-17
Syracuse at Minnesota........................... 8 p.m.
Television: Big Ten Network
Series: Minnesota leads, 2-1
Last Meeting: Sept. 5, 2009 — Minnesota, 23-20 (ot)
Next Game: Sept. 29 vs. Virginia Tech