In this series we will look at the Mids football opponents for the 2016 season. Today the school we are looking at is Connecticut.
Date/time/location/TV: September 10, 3:30pm EST, Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, Annapolis, Md., CBS Sports Net
2015 Record: 6-7 (4-4 The American). Lost St. Petersburg Bowl to Marshall 10-16.
Head Coach: Bob Diaco. Third year at UConn (8-17).
Series History: Navy leads 7-1.
Last Meeting: UConn and Navy are in the same conference, but in different divisions within The American. Having said that the Mids are playing the Huskies for the second straight year. Last fall Navy beat Uconn 28-18 in a September game played in East Hartford, CT.
Top Returners: QB Bryant Shirreffs (Jr.) 2078 yards passing and 9 passing TDs in 2015. DT Folorunso Fatukasi (Jr.) 42.5 tackles, 8 TFLs, and 7.5 sacks in 2015. LB Junior Joseph (Jr.) 67 tackles in 2015. FS Obi Melifonwu (Sr.) 73 tackles, 2 INTs, and 5 pass breakups in 2015. K Bobby Puyol (Sr.) 88.9% on FG tries in 2015.
Key Losses: LB Graham Stewart, 54.5 tackles and 9.5 TFLs in 2015. SS Andrew Adams, 80.5 tackles and 3 INTs in 2015.
What You Need To Know: In getting UConn to a 4-4 record in The American in 2015 Bob Diaco exceeded all expectations in his second season at the school. This was a Huskies' team that was a downtrodden 2-10 in 2014, boasting limited talent and potential. If Diaco can continue to work his magic in year three then the Huskies will be a tougher team than expected in this early season matchup.
It is pretty obvious where the focus has to be to make Connecticut better. The Huskies' offense finish 124th in the country last fall. You simply cannot get any worse than that at an FBS school. There will be continuity with nine of those starters returning, but Connecticut has to get way more out of playmakers like RB Arkeel Newsome, who was a Parade All-American in high school but who has not got off the ground yet in college.
It was a defensive masterclass from Diaco that got UConn winning games in 2015. Coming over from Notre Dame with the reputation as a defensive guru, Diaco put in a system that allowed the Huskies to only give up 19.5 points per game, essentially keeping them in every contest. There are some pieces to replace defensively, specifically LB Graham Stewart, but the addition of Florida State transfer E.J. Levenberry at the position could well stop the potential drop-off in its tracks.
2015 Stats That Matter (FCS): Total offense, 124th; Defensive points per game, 15th. Field goal percentage, 5th.
Fun Fact: UConn hosts the largest mud volleyball tournament in the nation, OOzeball.
Famous Alumni: Rick Mastraccio (NASA Astronaut), Meg Ryan (Actress), Tim Shriver (Businessman), Ray Allen (NBA player).