East Carolina makes its first trip to UConn
EAST HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) UConn has not had a winning season since 2010 when it last appeared in a bowl game.
And to keep alive their slim hopes of snapping that streak, the Huskies (3-5) need a victory against East Carolina on Friday.
The Pirates (4-4) are coming off a loss a week ago at home to Temple, and need two wins in their last four games to become eligible for a fourth consecutive bowl bid.
”Losing has a contagious element,” UConn coach Bob Diaco said this week. ”Everybody is working really hard – players, coaches and administrators – to beat that back to its appropriate spot, because it doesn’t really represent the work done or the improvement made to have five of the last six end the way that they have.”
The Huskies are 1-5 since starting the season with two wins. They visit two-win Tulane next week before finishing the season with games against undefeated Houston and Temple.
East Carolina has just one more win than the Huskies.
But that is a bit deceiving. The teams that have beaten the Pirates (Florida, Navy, BYU and Temple) have a combined record of 24-4.
”I think they’ve lost to Michigan, UCLA, Notre Dame, and LSU,” East Carolina coach Ruffin McNeill said. ”So that type of competition will harden you, as coaches and players.”
Here are some other things to watch for Friday night:
EXTRA TIME: East Carolina has had a couple of more days to prepare than the Huskies. The Pirates have not played since last Thursday. UConn lost Saturday at Cincinnati, and Diaco said the difference in preparation time is a real concern.
”To have the opponent in our half of the conference have two extra days to prepare and heal up, it’s really bizarre, frankly,” Diaco said. ”We’ve got a pretty bruised and battered team, having just played not long ago.”
STRUGGLING ON D: After giving up an average of 324 yards of offense in their first six games, the Huskies have allowed 461 yards to South Florida and 612 against Cincinnati. East Carolina’s offense comes in averaging 426 yards.
TEMPO: East Carolina’s touchdown drives this season have taken an average of under 3 minutes, and only two of them have lasted longer than 5 minutes.
FIRST VISIT: This will be East Carolina’s first trip to East Hartford. The only other meeting was last year’s 31-21 East Carolina win in Greenville.
NEW UNIFORMS: The Huskies will be debuting alternate uniforms on Friday. The uniforms will feature dark steel gray matching jerseys and pants with a flat matte gray that has a chrome Husky logo on each side.