UConn set to host No. 19 UNC

The last time the UConn football team played North Carolina it was a nightmare. Zach Frazer was making his first career start and had three interceptions, including one for a touchdown. The Huskies also committed 11 penalties. That wasn't the worst of it. North Carolina linebacker Bruce Carter blocked three kicks and the Huskies went on to a demoralizing 38-12 loss.

UConn was ranked No. 24 at the time and was 5-0. They dropped out of the Associated Press poll after that loss and were never heard from again nationally.

It was a nightmarish game in Chapel Hill. The Huskies tried to exorcise some of those special team demons this offseason revamping the punting scheme and protection plan. With the No. 19 ranked Tar Heels coming into Rentschler Field Saturday afternoon UConn coach Randy Edsall knows the mistakes they made in a 23-16 win last week over Ohio can't happen. If the Huskies have a repeat performance as the one in Chapel Hill it won't be pretty.

"If we do this again this year, we have no chance," Edsall said.

UConn is coming off a The Huskies are 1-12 against Top 25 opponents with the lone win coming against No. 11 South Florida in October of 2007. 

UConn Offense

 The Huskies racked up 259 yards against Ohio University with Jordan Todman rushing for 157 yards and Andre Dixon for 100. That was the good. The bad was a shaky performance from Zach Frazer who had some bright spots with two touchdowns, but was woefully inconsistent and finished 11-of-24 for 127 yards with three interceptions. They key for the Huskies against an excellent front 7 for the Tar Heels is establishing the running game and getting Frazer off passing with accuracy and confidence. If Frazer doesn't play well the chances are the Huskies won't be close.   

Randy Edsall quote: "I saw a guy that was inconsistent. He understands we can't have the turnovers at the position and work extremely hard to correct things and get better.

"There were times that maybe he stayed on something too long, or didn't see whole picture long enough. It comes through experience and playing. He played twice a year ago. He has to do a better job of seeing the big picture and doing exactly what defense tells him to."                                    

 North Carolina on offense         

The Tar Heels run the same scheme, but they are different than a year ago because they have lost Hakeem Nicks and Brandon Tate to the NFL. In response, the coaching staff moved Greg Little from running back to wide receiver and Joshua Adams into the lineup as a true freshman. Last week T.J. Yates was mediocre with 9-of-20 passing for 114 yards two touchdowns and 1 interception in a 40-6 win over The Citadel. The strength of the Tar Heels is the running game is Shaun Draughn. He had 118 yards and a touchdown in the opener. The Tar Heels ran for 261 yards in the opener and like the Huskies, they will need to establish a passing game if they are going to be productive against BCS conference teams.   

UConn on defense

The Huskies may be without linebacker Scott Lutrus (questionable with a stinger) and if that is the case it will be a big blow. The junior linebacker is the most indispensable part of a defense that was ranked No. 6 in the country last year in total defense. Lutrus would be replaced by multiple players on defense and the Huskies would have to scramble. The key for the Huskies will be in controlling Draughn and forcing Yates into passing situations with a receiving corps that isn't nearly as explosive and experienced as last year's edition. Lindsey Witten had three sacks and a safety last week from defensive end and he is a player to watch.             

North Carolina on defense

 The Tar Heels boast an NFL sized front line and are one of the better defensive lines in the country. Robert Quinn is a tremendous force at defensive end at 6-5 270 and the tackles are 320 and 305 pounds in Cam Thomas and Marvin Austin.

The secondary is no slouch with Quan Sturdivant returning after 122 tackles a year ago and the athletic Carter on the outside. The Tar Heels allowed only 30 yards rushing to Citadel last week. If North Carolina can have similar success against UConn they will be tough to pick off.   

"They are big up front, take a look at them Robert Quinn 6-5, 270 and they are active in their linebackers," Edsall said. "You have to be good technique wise and fundamentally because they have big guys you have to move off the ball. That is the strength of their football team, their up front people."           



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