Connecticut vs. Fordham - Saturday September 3, 2011 - 12:00 pm - ESPN3.com
Rentschler Field - East Hartford, CT
Point Spread - No Line
Connecticut enters the 2011 season two days later than planned, but, better late than never. Due to Hurricane Irene, the Huskies were forced to delay their debut under new head coach Paul Pasqualoni until Saturday. Pasqualoni's not the only new face for UConn. The offense, outside of the offensive line, will be entirely new and under the direction of Pasqualoni's long time offensive coordinator George Deleone. The defense returns intact, and should be even more creative and aggressive under new defensive coordinator Don Brown.
I can't recall a team coming off of a conference championship and a BCS Bowl berth being a near universal pick to finish last or near the bottom of the conference a year later. Still, that's what UConn is in 2011. The low expectations are a mixture of skepticism about last year, concern over the change at head coach, and concern over the loss of so many key components of last year's team. The strength of this UConn team will be its defense, particularly the defensive line. Kendall Reyes is one of the nation's best kept secrets and could play for anyone. In Don Brown's defense, Reyes will be all over the place and the Huskies will be far more attacking than they were in 2010.
They'll need an attacking and stout defense to help cover for an offense that has far fewer questions than answers. Gone is star tailback Jordan Todman, the team's best wide receiver was declared ineligible for the season, and there's a good chance the Huskies will start a true freshman at quarterback. The offensive line is a talented and experienced, so look for the Huskies to rely on a consistent ground game and to ease its quarterback into the offense slowly. Fordham shouldn't be able to mount much resistance and while the game might be competitive for a quarter, once UConn gets its feet under it, the advantages in the trenches should be more than enough to allow them to pull away comfortably.
Prediction: Connecticut 31 Fordham 10