NCAA

BYU vs Connecticut: College Football Week 1 Preview and Analysis

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dnews 1111fbccougars.sptEAST HARTFORD, Conn. – The BYU Cougars finished 2013 with a 31-16 loss to No. 25 Washington in the Fight Hunger Bowl to cap off an 8-5 run and will open up 2014 on the road against the Connecticut Huskies who beat Memphis 45-10 to finish 3-9, winning their last three games of 2013.

BYU averaged 30 points a game with a 60/40 run/pass mix on offense led by junior quarterback Taysom Hill who led the team in passing (2,938 yards, 19 TD) and rushing (1,344 yards, 10 TD). Junior running back Jamaal Williams rushed for another 1,233 yards and seven touchdowns in a system that gained more than 6,000 yards on the year. The receiving corps will be all new but the experienced offensive line should give Hill enough time to get to know his new pass catchers.

Senior linebacker Alani Fua and junior linebacker Manoa Pikula bring their experience to the front seven along with senior nose tackle Marques Johnson and junior defensive ends Remington Peck and Graham Rowley. Senior Craig Bills will lead the secondary as the unit will be less-experienced but equally talented compared to last season’s squad that allowed 22 points a game.

UConn struggled offensively last season averaging 20 points a game, mostly helped by scoring 28 twice and 45 in their last game, managing 20 points in only three of its’ prior nine games. Sophomore Casey Cochran returns after emerging as the starter last season while leading rusher Lyle McCombs and leading receivers Geremy Davis and Deshon Foxx look to bolster and offense that seemed to finally get traction late last season.

The secondary will be the strength of the defensive unit with senior Byron Jones, junior Andrew Adams, and sophomores Obi Melifonwu and Jhavon Williams all returning with experience. Melifonwu was second on the team with 70 tackles while Jones had three interceptions and 11 passes defensed. The front seven also returns a lot of experience as well and should improve on last season.

Keys for BYU Win

Hill and Williams must dominate offensively and not turn over the football. Peck and Rowley must control the line of scrimmage and pressure the Huskies passing attack.

Keys For Connecticut Win

Cochran must keep the offense on the same production and efficient track that it finished 2013 on. Melifonwu must establish his presence and be committed to making stops against BYU’s run game.

Key Injuries :

None

Favorite:

Latest Line, BYU -16.5

Conclusion:

BYU will come out with guns blazing on offense and Connecticut will have to keep up.

About Mark West

Mark West grew up playing and loving baseball. In college, he found an interest in writing and reporting on sports. He graduated from Arkansas State University in 1999 with a Bachelor of Science in Radio and Television Broadcasting with a News emphasis and a minor in Political Science. Mark began writing a few years ago informally about politics and sports on various blogs, but has focused primarily on baseball writing for the last two years. He loves Arkansas State Red Wolves baseball and writes about the games and the players for the Red Wolves and the Sun Belt Conference. Mark is a member of the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, giving him official votes in the Dick Howser Trophy, Regional Players of the Year, and NCBWA All-America voting.

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