Connecticut Huskies 2023 College Football Preview
June 10, 2023
Record – 6-6
ATS – 6-5 (vs FBS)
Yes, guy. The Huskies SHOCKED the WORLD and exceeded expectations by a wide margin in the first year of the Jim Mora regime. Connecticut started out a bit cold (1-4) but found their SEA LEGS after that rocky start and won five of their final seven games. Those conquests included wins over Fresno St, Boston College, and Liberty. They ended the year with a loss to WE ARE MARSHALL (L 28-14) in the Myrtle Beach Bowl but it was still a season that Huskies’ fans should be proud of. Can they turn the trick again?
Connecticut Huskies 2023 Outlook
The Huskies did some fine work on the ground LY (191 YPG, #33 FBS) and they’ll be a HOT HANDFUL once again in 2023. Leading rusher Victor Rosa had a fine freshman season (636, 11 TD) and they’ve added former LUA-VUH RB Jalen Mitchell who rushed for over 1,100 yards during his time with the Cardinals. It’ll be nice for the running back group to perform behind a veteran offensive line that brings back four starters. The prospects for the THROW GAME are a bit sketchy to say the least as the Huskies’ most productive returning WR is Kevens Clercius (24, 288, TD). Connecticut struggled thru the air LY (#126 passing offense) and they’ll need more balance this season if they want to go bowling. Their QB room posted a mediocre 10-10 TD to INT mark LY but recall that they lost starting QB Ta’quan Roberson in the opener due to injury. Zion Turner did a respectable job whilst leading the squad to a bowl game, and they’ve added Maine transfer Joseph Fagnano who’s got experience working with OC Nick Charlton. We’ll keep an eye on developments during the summer.
Connecticut returns eight starters to a defense that was strong vs the pass LY (#52 pass efficiency defense, 15-13 TD to INT) but not so great in terms of stopping the run (#92). We expect a solid stop unit to emerge this year given that they look good at every level of the defense. Four starters are back up front including a fine pair of PENETRATING defensive ends (Watts, Yates) who combined for 11.5 sacks in 2022. Tackling machine Jackson Mitchell returns at LB (140)(!) and the secondary should be just fine. Jim Mora acts as the DC and he’s got an excellent defensive mind so we expect they’ll perform well on this side of the ball. It doesn’t appear that they’ll be significantly overmatched in many of their games. Maybe Tennessee and NC State?
PK Noe Ruelas converted 12/16 FG attempts LY (28/28 XP) but they’ll need to get better performance from the punting operations (#117 punting average, #121 net punting LY). The Huskies ranked in the bottom-third of the FBS in both PR and KR and they could definitely use some additional spice in those areas.
Overall – There are enough winnable games in their itinerary to make a bowl appearance a legitimate goal. The bad news is that they start with a tough one and a tricky one (NC State, at Georgia St) and have a nasty three-game road trip in the second half (BC, Tennessee, James Madison), Finishing up with Sacred Heart and Massachusetts could be a blessing.
Potential ATS Trouble Spot – at James Madison (Nov 11)
This will be their fourth road game in five, as well as the third consecutive game ON THE HIGHWAY. It also comes after playing a pair of Power 5 teams (BC, Vols). They might not have much left in the tank.
Season Win Total
Market consensus, June 10 <there are many different prices out there>
Over 4.5 -145
Under 4.5 +125
Five wins seems pretty doable. They’ll be competitive in the vast majority of their games and they’ve proven that UPSET SPECIALS are part of their DNA under HC Jim Mora. **
** Case in point: Last year’s MEGALOCKS 209,000 STAR SUPER STEAMER LOCK vs Liberty in which they won OUTRIGHT as yuuuge underdogs.
It wasn’t too long ago (2010) that the Huskies won their second Big East Championship under HC Randy Edsall. They finished tied with Pittsburgh and West Virginia but received the automatic bid to a BCS game due to hard-fought victories over both of those rivals. The Huskies battled mighty Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl (!) but were discarded to the tune of 48-20. That season was still a magical ride for Connecticut fans!
The Huskies won’t have the luxury of sneaking up on folks this season but they still look good enough on both sides of the football to scratch and claw their way to bowl eligibility. It’s never a bad thing to have a strong rushing attack, stingy defense, and a crafty head coach. It’s unclear whether or not they’ll have the ability to scare teams through the air but at least there are three interesting options at QB as we approach press time.
It’s probably gonna come down to a bunch of one-score games but we’ll call for the FIGHTING JIM MORAS to finish at 6-6 and go bowling once again.