Smallwood played a big role in UConn's 37-0 victory over Massachusetts last Thursday. He had a team-high seven tackles to go with a sack, 3.5 tackles for loss and a pass breakup as the Huskies didn't allow the Minutemen to cross midfield. It was UConn's first shutout since 2007.
UConn gave up just 59 yards of offense, a number that held up as the fewest yards yielded by any Football Bowl Subdivision team in Week One. The Huskies also limited Massachusetts to just three first downs and an average of 1.3 yards per play.
The UConn defense has a bigger challenge ahead this Saturday against North Carolina State (0-1) at Rentschler Field. The Wolfpack, a preseason Top 25 team in Sports Illustrated, lost at Tennessee 35-21 in their opener but rolled up 407 yards offense – including 288 passing.
Smallwood said the Huskies made a statement with their defense against UMass.
"We're going to make teams game plan around us – not us planning around them," Smallwood said. "We're ready for NC State. It's going to be very challenging. They're a top team. They are coming into The Rent and they've got to game plan around our defense."
Syracuse quarterback Ryan Nassib was named Big East Offensive Player of the Week and the Special Teams honor went to Temple kicker/punter Brandon McManus.
Nassib completed 45 of 66 passes for 482 yards — all school records — with four touchdown passes, rallying the Orange from a 22-point third-quarter deficit to a six-point lead with 2:40 left in the fourth quarter before losing to Northwestern. The 66 pass attempts broke the BIG EAST single-game record, while the 45 completions tied the mark. The yardage total is fourth on the conference's single-game chart. Nassib's passing and total offense (512 yards) numbers are the best by a Bowl Subdivision player in The Opening week of the season.
McManus scored 11 points and averaged 44.2 yards on two punts to help Temple to a 41-10 win against Villanova in the Mayor's Cup game at Lincoln Financial Fied
UConn coach Paul Pasqualoni said Monday that defensive end Teddy Jennings will not play Saturday against North Carolina State. Jennings injured his left knee in the third quarter against UMass, trying to reach the quarterback for a sack. Pasqualoni said UConn's medical staff will let the knee injury "calm down a bit" before evaluating it again next week.