Connecticut Huskies Statistical Profile

David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

The Connecticut Huskies will come into Nippert Stadium with, get this, a true freshman quarterback tasked with reviving a moribund offense. That was the basic script for Temple last week as well, but that is where the similarities end.

UConn Offense

Number Conference Rank National Rank
Rushing Yards Per Game 77.4 10 120
Rushing Yards Per Carry 2.39 10 124
Passing Yards Per Game 211.2 7 81
Passing Yards Per Attempt 6 8 104
Passer Rating 101.24 9 118
Yards Per Play 4.26 9 122

For years UConn won games by playing a very straight forward brand of offense. Everyone knew what they wanted to do, run the ball to stay ahead of the sticks and throw only when the opportunity was right. It worked fantastically under Randy Edsall. When Edsall moved on to Maryland his offensive ethos remained behind, which suited Paul Pasqualoni and George DeLeone fine. But it didn't work.

T.J. Weist was brought in to run the offense, and change it he has. The core of the scheme is based in what UC did under Butch, but UConn doesn't have the personnel to run it right. For the first time in half a decade the Huskies are passing more than they are running. The Huskies have some skill on the perimeter, Geremy Davis and Shakim Phillips have benefited the most from the change. But the change in philosophy has cratered the running game. Even with Lyle McCombs returning the running game is at a decade long low ebb.

The offensive line that for most of the last decade has relied on gap schemes and power blocking is now being tasked with mastering the zone blocking schemes favored by Weist. It’s not going well, with the exception of last week the running game hasn't been able to get off the ground in any contest.

It will be interesting to see how the ascension of Tim Boyle effects the offense going forward. He got his first start last week against USF and he played like a true freshman. His play is all about next year as the Huskies have nothing to lose in throwing the youngster out there.

UConn Defense

Number Conference Rank National Rank
Rushing Yards Per Game 178.4 9 86
Rushing Yards Per Carry 4.08 8 60
Passing Yards Per Game 169.8 3 9
Passing Yards Per Attempt 7.1 8 64
Passer Rating 110.68 2 26
Yards Per Play 5.14 5 36

The old UConn model for winning only worked because they had an often elite defense capable of keeping the team in the game despite the oft paltry offensive production. This defense is not elite, but probably fits into the slightly above average category.

Uncharacteristically the defensive line is not leading the way, and UConn struggles against the run. As you can see they give up almost 180 yards on the ground per game, that despite not facing a single team ranked in the top 50 in rushing offense.

Most teams have found little resistance on the ground, and therefore have not felt the need to throw the ball all that often. That gives some context to the low passing yards per game allowed, and yet the high yards per attempt. That YPA is a weird statistical glitch for an otherwise excellent secondary, probably best the Bearcats have faced to date.

Disruptiveness

Opponents Defense UConn
Tackles For Loss 42 28
Sacks 22 5
Hurries 13 7
Pressure % 20% 10%
Interceptions 7 6
Passes Defended 14 15
Defensed/Incompletion Ratio 24% 33%

Its interesting that the Huskies have played the pass so well despite not having much support in the form of a pass rush. Their 5 sacks is 120th in the nation, and the lowest rate of production at UConn in the last 7 years at least, possibly longer.

On the other hand look at how disruptive they are against the pass once the ball is in the air. None of those passes defended have come from the defensive line. The back seven has a huge impact on opposing offenses. That alone makes me think that UConn is going to be the stiffest test for the Bearcats passing game yet.

Life On The Margins

Opponents UConn
Interceptions Thrown 6 7
Opponent Fumbles 7 8
Opposition Fumbles Recovered 3 4
Recovery Rate 43% 50%
Turnover Margin 0 0
Blocked Kicks 2 1
Red Zone Touchdown Percentage 77% 40%
Non Offensive Touchdowns 3 1

For the most part UConn is not a terribly lucky or unlucky team. In most categories they are just sort of average. The turnover margin is perfectly neutral, they don't recover or lose an inordinate percentage of the fumbles. No huge disparity in blocked kicks, a slight disparity in non offensive touchdowns. The one exception to the normality, the red zone. I don't particularly care for total red zone percentage for the simple reason that touchdowns are more valuable than field goals. TD percentage is a better indicator of the relative red zone success of an offense, and UConn is terrible at generating TD's. UConn's total red zone percentage is 100 percent, but you can't win kicking field goals while giving up TD's.

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