Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#107 UConn -8.5 vs.
#108 UMass 63.5
Saturday, October 26, 2019 at 3:30pm EDT
McGuirk Alumni Stadium, Amherst
Written by Nick Raffoul

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#107 University of Connecticut
#108 University of Massachusetts Amherst
1-6
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3-4
1-6
2-5
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16
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38
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The UConn Huskies will head to Warren McGuirk Alumni Stadium on Saturday afternoon on Saturday evening for a rare winnable non-conference clash versus the UMass Minutemen.

These two teams come in with identical records, but they seem to ve trending in opposite directions right now. UConn (1-6) nearly stunned Houston last week, but ultimately fell short at home to take its sixth straight loss. Meanwhile, the Minutemen are trying to bounce back after another blowout loss on the road. UMass (1-6) has been much more competitive at home (1-2) this season, where they’ve scored 25.7 points per game compared to just 14.5 points per game on the road (0-4). Can the Minutemen get back on track against UConn in a battle of team’s featured in ESPN’s Bottom 10?

UConn confident in direction of football program

UConn will have a rare chance for a victory this week, as they enter Warren McGuirk Alumni Stadium favored by 10.5 points over the Minutemen. The Huskies are fresh off a crushing 24-17 loss to Houston a week ago despite being tabbed as three-touchdown underdogs. UConn outgained the Cougars 438 to 283 in terms of total yardage, while controlling the clock for 36 minutes, but they were unable to pull off the upset at home. UConn’s Kevin Mensah was caught at the Cougars’ four-yard line on a 57-yard run and Houston forced a goal-line stand to preserve a seven-point lead. The Huskies scored just one touchdown to lose for the 22nd straight time against an FBS team. Freshman quarterback Jack Zergiotis threw for 270 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception, while Mensah finished with a team-high 93 rushing yards. UConn's last win against an FBS opponent came against Tulsa on Oct. 21, 2017.

Last week, UConn’s defense was without a handful of key players, including D.J. Morgan, Tahj Herring-Wilson and Ryan Gilmartin, due to injury. Safeties Diamond Harrell and Tyler Coyle also left the game versus Houston and did not return.

Despite the Huskies’ continued struggles, athletic director David Benedict remains confident in the direction of UConn football. UConn will no longer be a part of the AAC next season. Instead, the Huskies will compete as an independent and build their entire slate from scratch, without conference games.

The Huskies come into the week scoring just 16.7 points per game and allowing 38.1 points per game on defense. They have been outgained by an average of 112.5 yards per game (428.6 to 316.1) and UConn enters the week allowing 195.9 yards per game on the ground.

QB carousel continues at UMass

The Minutemen should be well-rested and prepared following a bye week in Week 7. The week off couldn’t come soon enough for the Minutemen, who will be trying to rebound after getting outscored 113 to 21 over their past two games. They suffered another lopsided defeat two weeks ago, falling 69-21 on the road to Louisiana Tech. The game started off in disastrous fashion for UMass, which went down 42-0 in the second quarter and 52-14 before halftime. Randall West threw for 172 yards, one touchdown, and one interception, while Bilal Ally added 92 yards and a score on the ground to lead the team in rushing on the night.

The quarterback carousel at UMass hasn’t helped matters either. Through seven games, three different quarterbacks have made at least two starts and four quarterbacks have seen action. There have been in-game changes in six of those contests and the lack of continuity seems to be hurting the offense, especially in the passing game. UMass enters the week scoring just 20.6 points and averaging only 301.6 yards of total offense per contest, including just 168.1 yards per game through the air.

On defense, the Minutemen have battled injuries and inexperience along the front-seven, which has made it difficult for them to control the line of scrimmage or get pressure on opposing quarterbacks. As a result, UMass has surrendered 49.9 points and 551.6 yards of total offense per game, including an FBS-worst 267.0 rushing yards per contest.

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Neither of these teams has been playing particularly well this season. UConn comes into this game favored by 10 points, which is telling considering they’ve lost 22 consecutive games against FBS opponents. The Huskies have the advantage under center in this game, as freshman Jack Zergiotis has flashed some potential in limited action this season. Zergiotis was solid for the Huskies last week, throwing for 270 yards and two scores. Most of his game action has come against major conference opponents, but he should have an easier time moving the ball against a UMass defense that ranks last in the country in total defense and rushing defense. Ten points seems like a lot for a team that hasn’t beaten an FBS opponent since 2017, but I’m still going to roll with the Huskies in this spot. Take UConn to cover the spread against UMass on Saturday afternoon.

Prediction: UConn -10

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It’s hard to envision this becoming a high-scoring game. UMass and Akron combined for 66 points in a battle of FBS bottom-feeders a few weeks ago, while UConn totaled just 55 points in their lone victory of the season against FCS Wagner. The UMass defense ranks dead-last in the country in total defense and rushing defense, but the Huskies have not scored more than 24 points in a game this season. In a battle between two inept offenses, I’ll take my chances with the under in this matchup at Warren McGuirk Alumni Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

 

Prediction: Under 62
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Written By Nick Raffoul

Shortly after graduating with an Honors in Business Administration, Nick turned his attention from traditional stocks and bonds to investing in the performance of sports teams. And has now joined our team here at Winners & Whiners. Nick uses a combination of advanced stats and historical data to create sports investment models to identify value and generate consistent profits. Let Nick win for you.