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Game Preview: UVA football looks for first win at UConn

uva football1It’s a sign of where things are for UVA football that you have to claim a moral victory for its showing last week in a blowout loss at Oregon.

The Cavs (0-2) trailed 30-6 at halftime and 44-13 midway through the third quarter, but hung around in what turned into a 44-26 loss.

The outcome represented marked improvement from the 37-20 loss to FCS Richmond in the season opener on Sept. 3.

OK, maybe not marked improvement. Richmond gained 524 yards of total offense in its win; Oregon put up 632 yards.

Yikes, indeed. But the Virginia offense was much better, at least its running game was. After gaining 38 yards on 21 attempts against Richmond, the ‘Hoos ran for 193 yards on 40 totes against Oregon.

Quarterback Kurt Benkert took a step back. Against Richmond, Benkert threw for 262 yards, completing 26 of his 34 passes, with three touchdowns and one interception.

Benkert threw two interceptions on 20-of-39 passing, for 193 yards and with two touchdown passes.

Sacks continue to be a problem. Benkert went down six times against Oregon, after Richmond sacked him five times.


Getting to know: UConn

The Huskies (1-1) struggled to beat its FCS opponent in Week 1, Maine, by a 24-21 final, then rallied from a 21-0 deficit to Navy to take a late 24-21 lead, then after a Navy touchdown made it 28-24, bumbled in the final seconds with the ball at the 1 yard line as time expired.

UConn is averaging a modest 358 yards of total offense per game, running for 145, on 3.5 yards per carry.

Quarterback Bryan Shirreffs keys the offense, completing 79.6 percent of his passes (39-of-49) for 401 yards and one touchdown through two games. He also leads the team in rushing, with 127 yards at an average of 3.8 per carry.

His favorite target is Noel Thomas, who has caught 20 passes, 10 per game, for 186 yards, 9.3 per catch.

The Huskies have had a bit of the fumble-itis disease, putting the ball on the turf seven times, losing three.

Defensively, UConn is giving up 337 yards per game, 137.5 on the ground, at 4.0 yards per rush, and 199.5 yards per game through the air.

The Huskies D has forced one turnover total in two games.


What the experts say

  • UConn is a four-point favorite in Vegas.
  • The ESPN Football Power Index gives the Huskies a 56.3 percent chance to win.

Preview by Chris Graham


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