Big shoutout to Aman Kidwai and our pals at the UConn Blog for sharing some thoughts on the Huskies’ season thus far.
After a 6-6 regular season last year that led to a Myrtle Beach bowl appearance, the Huskies have had a less than stellar 2023 thus far. What’s to blame for the 1-6 start?
Some tough opponents, like Duke, NC State (tough for us), and Georgia State (tougher than expected) account for three of those losses. The other three, FIU, Utah State, and USF were essentially coin-flip games that the Huskies lost. They have looked better across the year despite a rocky start.
Giving up big plays and other unforced errors have been a large culprit. The losses to FIU, USU, and USF came by 7, 1, and 4 points, respectively, so while UConn fans rue this very bad record, it is just a few plays from being better. They gave up late-first-half TDs to FIU and USU, and missed an extra point at the end of the game to lose the latter. They had a game-tying touchdown called back against at the end against FIU and against USF, the only touchdown they gave up in the first three quarters was off a bad fumble inside UConn’s 10.
Ultimately, the Husky defense is not as stout as expected. The offense was not so great last year and is making modest progress this year, but still has a way to go, and the rushing attack has been weakened by two in-season departures at RB, including Devontae Houston, who was a big playmaker last year.
The last time Boston College played UConn, last year, UConn beat BC for the first time ever. Will this new trend continue? What is your prediction for the final score?
I do not think the trend will continue but like last year my expectation is for UConn to play a competitive game. I could definitely still see BC covering the double-digit spread, but I’ll go with a 34-24 final score.
At what point will UConn fans start calling for Jim Mora’s job? This is only his second year of his tenure, but how long do you think they should give him before evaluating next steps?
It’s really hard to figure out where he stands. After such a resounding success last year, this year is showing signs of concern.
Given how much is changing in college football, including realignment, NIL, and the portal, team development has changed a lot. It can happen faster, but the landscape is also just so different. So I think it’s okay to allow Mora a bad year, given that he had a good Year 1 and there are signs of progress this year from last year, like the improvement of the offense. Beyond that, we’ll have to see how well he can portal and recruit to keep building this team up. But there’s no doubt the program is in a better place than it was under its predecessor in 2021.
If next year, the record is just as bad, Mora’s seat will start to get hot. But he has some cover this year to figure things out, and it is fair to recognize how unnaturally bad things were two years ago.
The Huskies ended last year strong winning 5 of their last 7 games. Do you see the same thing happening this season? How many games do you predict they’ll finish the year with?
After BC, UConn visits Tennessee and James Madison in back to back weeks, so I think that will be tough. After that, they host FCS Sacred Heart and then end the season at UMass. Those both should be wins and, to the point of your previous question, Mora’s seat will get very hot if he loses to UMass.
Obviously, the best way to finish out this season, with a bowl out of the picture, would be to beat Boston College again.
UConn athletics does have a lot to celebrate with the basketball team winning the national championship last season. Are you hopeful for another strong season this year even after losing centerpieces such as Jordan Hawkins, Andre Jackson, and Adam Sanogo?
Absolutely, thank you for asking. Despite seeing all three of those guys make their way to the NBA (Sanogo signed with Chicago undrafted and is on their opening day roster), the Huskies return two starters and Donovan Clingan, a 7-3 center who could have easily gone pro, while also adding Rutgers’ leading scorer via the portal and a loaded recruiting class headlined by five-star recruit Stephon Castle. The future is bright for the men’s basketball team.