Inside UConn - Virginia

A preview of Saturday nights Uconn-Virginia game slated for 7:30 p.m. at Rentschler Field in East Hartford.

Game time: 7:30 p.m.
Place: Rentschler Field (40,000)
Series: Virginia 1-0
Last meeting: Virginia held off UConn 17-16 in Charlottesville in 2007.
Coaches' quotes

UConn coach Randy Edsall:

"This is a big game for us," UConn coach Randy Edsall said. "We need to make sure that they fumble some snaps and get some procedure penalties because it was a tough environment going down there to Virginia last year. Our fans have been great, but this is one of those games where we need them to be as loud and crazy as they can be to keep our winning streak alive at home."

Virginia coach Al Groh

"It took everything we had to win by 1 point at home," Virginia coach Al Groh said. "Less than 50 percent of our starting lineup returns and almost all of UConn returns. Pretty tight margin of victory under ideal circumstances for us. The transition of those circumstances is the No. 1 issue with our team."

UConn on Offense:

UConn has effectively pounded the ball with the running game in the first two games and it should be no different tonight. Donald Brown is the workhorse at RB and the Huskies need to limit turnovers and get QB Tyler Lorenzen going with a crisp and conservative short passing game. There is no need to reinvent the wheel for the Huskies, just clean up the turnovers and see if Virginia's defense can handle the running game.

Virginia on Offense:

Virginia will have its work cut out for as QB Marc Verica makes his debut as a starter subbing for Peter Lalich, who did not travel with the team as he takes care of legal matters centered around probation violation. Verica is said to be more mobile than Lalich, but he has yet to throw a pass in two years of college. Virginia has two solid running backs in Cedric Peerman and Mikell Simpson. The pair share carries, and though their statistics are skewered from a 52-7 thrashing at the hands of USC in the season opener, the Cavaliers can be effective running. Kevin Ogletree is the top receiving threat with 12 catches for 124 yards this season. OT Eugene Monroe is one of the best linemen in the ACC.

UConn on defense

The Huskies defense has been stiff in the running game, but has had a penchant for allowing big plays in the passing game. The defensive line, which is gang busters with the run, needs to develop more of a pass rush to take Verica out of his rhythm. DE Cody Brown has been able to do that, and perhaps the return of DE Lindsay Witten should help the pass rush. The Huskies don't blitz much, so pressure has to come from the front-four. Linebackers Greg Lloyd, Scott Lutrus and Lawrence Wilson have played well this season especially in run support. The secondary has to improve as it has broke down in several occasions for long pass plays against Temple.

Virginia on defense

Virginia lost a host of players from last year including All-America Chris Long. The Cavaliers have surrendered 376 yards per game in its first two contests. In the 3-4 defense, linebacker Antonio Appleby, Jon Cooper and Clint Sintim are the leading tacklers. While the defense doesn't have the star power of Long, the linebackers are fast and athletic.

Inside the numbers

* UConn has an eight-game winning streak at Rentschler Field and has won the games by an average of 19 points.

* The Huskies have won six on last seven non-conference games, the only loss coming 17-16 at Virginia last year The average margin of victory in September at home is 21.8 ppg.

* UConn is 3-8 All-Time against the ACC. The Huskies loss 24-10 to Wake Forest in the Meineke Car Care Bowl last season.

* UConn's defense is ranked 20th in the nation surrendering 234 yards per game. The Huskies scoring difference of 19.0 is 13th nationally while the scoring defense is seventh nationally.

* UConn has not surrendered a touchdown this season.

* Virginia starting quarterback Marc Verica has yet to throw a collegiate pass.

*Virginia is 21-18-1 all-time against the Big East.

* Virginia has had 12 players make their first career start this season.

*Virginia has one CT native, freshman running back Torrey Mack of Stratford. UConn has two Virginia natives, QB Casey Turner and OL Jimmy Bennett.

*Virginia RB Cedric Peerman and Mikell Simpson form one of the best duos in the ACC combing for 1,158 yards last year. Peerman missed the final six games last year with injury.

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