Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#329 Houston vs.
#330 UConn
Saturday, October 19, 2019 at 12:00pm EDT
Rentschler Field, East Hartford
Written by Sporty Jordy

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#329 University of Houston
#330 University of Connecticut
2-4
1-5
3-3
2-4
3-3
2-4
31
16
32
40

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This article covers a past game!

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When and where: October 19, 2019, Pratt and Whitney Stadium, East Hartford, CT, 12:00 PM ET

A first conference win of the season is guaranteed on Saturday when the Houston Cougars and UConn Huskies go toe-to-toe in an American Athletic Conference tilt. It will also be a showdown between two of the conference’s worst defenses with both teams giving up an average of 928.4 total yards per game combined. That should make for an overall sloppy and fun game, assuming UConn’s struggling offense actually shows up to play. They were recently held in check in a 49-7 loss to Tulane, while the Cougars are coming off a 38-23 loss to Cincinnati.

Houston folds in the fourth quarter

The Cougars actually played themselves into a fighting chance against the No. 25-ranked Cincinnati Bearcats. That was until the team gave up 17 points in the fourth quarter and ended their upset hopes. You can rest assured Houston coach Dana Holgorsen has been preaching 60 minutes of football to his team all week.

Along with the late defensive struggles, Houston quarterback Clayton Tune also threw a late pick-six that sealed the game and added more salt to the wounds. Tune especially walked away from that game shaking his head after throwing away three interceptions. However, he should have a much better performance on Saturday when facing a defense nearly as bad as his own. The Huskies are the third-worst passing defense in the conference with opposing teams averaging 241.8 yards per game against them. They’ve also given up 18 touchdown passes through the air with only four interceptions.

Tune is playing through a hamstring injury, which will put even more pressure on his offensive line to hold up. For all of UConn’s defensive struggles, they still rank middle-of-the-pack in the conference with 13 sacks. They could cause some serious problems if they’re able to break into the backfield.

Houston’s defense has been absolutely horrendous this season, but they did show some life in the early going against Cincinnati. If they can replicate that performance in the slightest, they’ll have no problems shutting down a UConn offense only averaging 295.8 total yards and 16.7 points per game.

Can the Huskies generate points?

There is no arguing the Huskies are riddled with problems on both sides of the ball. However, their offensive issues are so glaringly bad that it has a profound impact on the defense as well. They are currently the second-worst team in the AAC conference in turnover margin with seven interceptions and five fumbles lost this season. That’s an alarming number of turnovers and far too many drives with bad field position for a defense that’s already underwhelming on paper.

Some of you might point to the fact that Houston has been worse in the turnover department. While that would be a correct assessment, you also have to take into consideration the Cougars are averaging 32.0 points per game as opposed to UConn’s 16.7 average. The Huskies lack a shutdown defensive unit, which means they’ll have to figure out a way to generate touchdowns against a bad Cougars defense allowing 475.7 yards per game.

It doesn’t help matters that senior quarterback Mike Beaudry is still dealing with an injury and listed as questionable for Saturday’s game. The team could also be without linebacker D.J. Morgan, which would be a huge blow for the defense. The senior defensive player has the third-most tackles on the roster, two sacks and one forced fumble.

Putting pressure on Tune and forcing turnovers is the only hope for the Huskies keeping this game close, along with leaning heavily on the legs of Kevin Mensah to carry the offense. The Cougars are giving up 170.8 yards per game on the ground. At the very least, the Huskies should be able to grind out long, sustained drives and slow the game down.

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If Mensah is the only hope for the Huskies offensively, then they really are in a world of trouble on Saturday. There should be some legitimate concerns regarding Tune’s hamstring injury, as it could possibly limit his mobility. However, it is something he’s been dealing with for the last couple weeks, and it still hasn’t hindered him in getting the majority of the snaps.

The offensive struggles coupled with the defensive liabilities make it hard to trust the Huskies to even be competitive on Saturday. They are also allowing the third-most sacks in the league. While the Cougars aren’t necessarily blowing anyone away with their pass rush, they should be able to generate pressure up front to at least force turnovers from a turnover-prone team.

Four of the Huskies’ five losses were at least a 26-point differential. That’s bad news with a high-powered offense like the Cougars’ coming to town. Tune doesn’t have to be D’Eriq King to run up the scoreboard on this Huskies defense. Give me the Cougars and the points on Saturday.

Prediction: Houston Cougars (-22)

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These defenses have more holes in them than Swiss cheese. Expect to see plenty of broken plays and busted coverages that lead to a big offensive game, particularly for the Cougars. They’ve done a great job of piling up yards against good teams. Imagine what they’ll do against a bad one. I’m taking the over betting total here.

Prediction: Over (58)
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Written By Jordy McElroy , "Sporty Jordy"

Born in Germany and raised in the beautiful state of Tennessee, Jordy McElroy is a storyteller of sports, a sports betting enthusiast and a semi-deep thinker. Being a New England Patriots fan means he's a six-time Super Bowl winner as well, which means you'd have to be a fool to ignore his advice. Prior to joining our team here at Winners & Whiners, Jordy’s work appeared on CNN.com, FOX Sports, Bleacher Report, USA TODAY and BJPenn.com. There are no beaches where he comes from -- just rolling hills, green valleys and all the Sun Drop you can drink.