The Connecticut Huskies continue their search for their first win of the season in Saturday’s clash with the visiting Wyoming Cowboys. Pratt & Whitney Stadium could serve as the stage for another blowout if the Huskies’ defense can’t do a better job of stopping the run. They have been shut out in at least two games already this season, and they’re coming off a 52-21 loss to Army. Meanwhile, Wyoming strolled to 3-0 after crushing Ball State in a 45-12 win at home.
A potential offensive soiree for the CowboysAfter a couple of nail-biters, the Cowboys finally showed up on both sides of the ball at the same time against Ball State. The defense came up with six sacks and forced three turnovers, while the offense rushed for 177 yards and three touchdowns.
Quarterback Sean Chambers wasn’t all that accurate, but he didn’t need to be when the team was eating up grass like a lawn mower.
And that should be the game plan for Saturday as well.
It should be all about pounding the football with running backs Xazavian Valladay and Titus Swen. Connecticut’s defensive front is seemingly made of porcelain with opposing teams averaging 241.5 rushing yards per game against them in the first three games of the season. Wyoming needs to run Valladay and Swen until the glass breaks.
Chambers should have a chance to get in on the fun as well against a secondary that has already given up 13 touchdown passes in a span of only three games. He should eat all day long when rearing back to throw.
Wyoming’s defense hasn’t been great against the run, either, and they gave up 43 points after getting bullied on the ground by Northern Illinois in Week 2. But the unit has been strong outside of that game in holding both Ball State and Montana State to less than 20 points. They’ll need a similar effort to cover as 30.5-point favorites on Saturday.
Can the Huskies build a wall?The Huskies already know what’s coming in Saturday’s run-in with the Cowboys.
But can they stop it?
That’s the biggest question heading into a matchup with another opponent with an effective rushing attack. The Huskies are going to have to stiffen up along the defensive front if they hope to end the losing and get their first win of the season. It’s hard to win games when the defense can’t get off the field.
It’s even harder when there’s so much uncertainty at the quarterback position. Freshman Tyler Phommachanh got the call to start last week against Army, and he finished for 109 passing yards and one interception. However, he did lead his team on the ground with 11 carries for 60 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Perhaps that’s the spark the team needs moving forward.
Wyoming has shown some struggles in slowing down the run, and Phommachanh could find himself in position to make some plays. For a team severely lacking in the playmaking department, they’ll need all of the help they can get to stave off the Cowboys.
The top supporting trends for this game, found on Covers.com, are:
- Cowboys are 7-3 ATS against a team with a losing record.
- Cowboys are 9-4 ATS in their last 13 games after allowing more than 200 yards rushing in their previous game.
- Cowboys are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 road games against a team with a losing home record.
- Huskies are 15-36-2 ATS in their last 53 games following a straight up loss of more than 20 points.
- Huskies are 15-37-2 ATS in their last 54 games overall.
- Huskies are 4-10 ATS in their last 14 games after accumulating less than 275 total yards in their previous game.
- Huskies are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games as an underdog.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
It has been an uphill battle for the Huskies since the start of the season. They have yet to win a game, and they’ve already been shut out in two of their four outings. Teams are outscoring them by a combined 184-49 points.
A big reason for those struggles is the fact that they can’t stop the run.
You won’t win many games at this level when you’re giving up 241.5 rushing yards per game at 4.88 yards per carry. It has been too easy for opposing offenses to bludgeon them on the ground. You can rest assured the Cowboys are licking their chops for a chance to unleash Xazavian Valladay and Titus Swen in another ground onslaught against the Huskies defense on Saturday.
The ground game opens so much up for the passing attack for quarterback Sean Chambers, who will also have a big day against a Connecticut secondary getting sliced and diced in every direction through the air. They have allowed more touchdown passes than any other team in the country (13). It’s a lingering problem that isn’t going to suddenly go away overnight against this undefeated Wyoming team.
I’m laying the big points and riding with the Cowboys.
Full-Game Total Pick
This game is going to get ugly like all of the rest for a Connecticut team that has too many holes on the defensive front. Combine that with poor tackling and you have one of the worst run defenses in the country. The scary part is most of the touchdowns against the Huskies are coming through the air. They’ve given up 25 touchdowns, including 13 touchdown passes, over the course of three games. So it’s basically an all-you-can-eat-buffet of points against that defense right now. They’re allowing an average 46 points per game so far this season. Give me the over on Saturday.