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Previewing the Papa John's Bowl: Topics for Discussion on UConn's Offense

Can we slow down UConn's running game?  UConn was expected to struggle running the football after star back Donald Brown graduated, but the Huskies found two good running backs to shoulder the load: Jordan Todman (1152 yards) and senior Andre Dixon (967 yards). Overall, UConn averages 172.8 ypg on the ground. UConn favors to mix in plenty of power running in its no-huddle offense, with hopes that the bruising running game combined with the fast game tempo will eventually wear out a defense. The Gamecocks have struggled at times against strong rushing teams, although the hope right now is that we'll be tougher in the middle after a few weeks of rest.

How will we handle UConn's hurry-up scheme? UConn hired Jim Moorhead over the off-season to install a no-huddle offense. The results have been positive; UConn projected to have a fairly torpid offense, and they've far outpaced expectations. The passing game, in particular, has improved since 2008, and, as said, the running game has survived the loss of All-American Brown. The Gamecocks haven't faced many such offenses so far this year, so our defense's ability to adjust to the faster tempo will be key. Luckily, we sport what is likely the fastest, most athletic defense the Huskies will have faced this year.

Can we force turnovers? South Carolina failed to force a turnover over a four-game stretch that included an ugly win over Vanderbilt and three losses to Tennessee, Arkansas, and Florida. Then, against Clemson, the Gamecocks D came alive to force three turnovers, catalyzing a convincing win over the eighteenth-ranked Tigers in the process. Obviously, winning the turnover battle makes winning easier. Unfortunately, UConn is a well-coached team, and we'll have to work for any turnovers we enjoy.