Inside the Lines - UConn verses Hofstra

The University of Connecticut football team opens the 2008 season tonight hosting Hofstra, an FCS school out of the Colonial Athletic Association tonight at Rentschler Field.

Here is UConn-Hofstra inside the lines:

Last season: UConn 9-4, 5-2 Big East
Hofstra 7-4, 4-4 Colonial Athletic Association

Coaches

Randy Edsall begins his 10th season at UConn with a career record of 50-55.

Hofstra's Dave Cohen is making his head coaching debut. He served as defensive coordinator for FCS power Delaware for six seasons.

Scouting Hofstra

Hofstra offense

The Pride put their offense in the hands of quarterback Bryan Savage, a Wisconsin transfer. Savage is a dual-threat quarterback who tossed for 2,688 yards and 13 touchdowns. His top target is Otis Lewis, who can stretch the field averaging 17.2 per catch last year. The Pride is balanced offensive team and will rely on redshirt freshman Larry Gaskins to carry the load.

Hofstra defense

The Pride surrendered only 312 yards per game on defense last season and were an aggressive and quick defense a year ago. Only four starters return from that defense with Luke Bonus returning at linebacker. The Pride do have some transfers coming in to help the defense including Anthony Vernaglia, a transfer from Notre Dame, and cornerback Leslie Jackman, who spent three years at Rutgers.

Three keys to the game

Unleash the passing game

Winning comes first, but UConn should go to its passing game early getting Kashif Moore and Ellis Gaulden involved. Rhythm and tempo are important and getting the passing game started will get everyone off on the right foot.

Flex their muscles

UConn is bigger and much stronger on the offensive and defensive lines. The lines have to be physical and punish the smaller Pride players. The more they wear down Hofstra the chance of an upset diminishes. UConn has nearly 60 pounds per player advantage on the offensive line vs. the smaller Pride defensive line.

Don't let the Pride linger

UConn is 6-0 against FCS schools since making the move up to Division I and the games haven't been close with UConn 297-52. The Huskies have to score early and often to take the fight out of the Pride. Letting teams hang around that you should beat gives the underdog confidence, and a close game opens up the door for a fluke.

Injury report: UConn: RB Jordan Todman (shoulder) out; WR Brad Kanuch (out), RB Andre Dixon (ankle) out; DE Mike Cox (knee) out; SS Aaron Bagsby (knee) probable.

Tidbits

Strong safety Dahna Deleston is the active leader in tackles with 210 in his career in 35 games. Corner Darius Butler has started every game in his career -- 35.

UConn is 6-0 against FCS team since moving up to Division I. They have outscored opponents 297-52 in that span.

UConn is riding a five-game winning streak in September.

UConn has won seven straight games at Rentschler Field.

UConn has won five straight home openers, tied for eighth longest streak in the nation.

UConn is playing on the first day (Aug. 28) allowed and will play a game on the last week (Dec.6) this season. The Huskies have three bye weeks this season.

UConn ranked 37th nationally in yards per game last year giving up 351 per game. The Huskies were even better keeping teams off the scoreboard allowing just 19 per game.

UConn committed only 15 turnovers last season, and only six interceptions, fourth lowest in the nation.

UConn returned five interceptions for touchdowns last season

UCONN Playbook Top Stories