Connecticut Huskies at #18 East Carolina Pirates
Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium – Greenville, North Carolina
Thursday, October 23, 2014, 7:00 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN
Opening Line: East Carolina -26 1/2
Current Line: East Carolina -28
Opening Total: 55 1/2
Current Total: 54 1/2
Opening Money Line: East Carolina -4500 / UConn +2200
Current Money Line: East Carolina -4500 / UConn +2200
The East Carolina Pirates are 5-1 this season and tied for first in the American Athletic Conference at 2-0 with Central Florida. It is the first year for East Carolina in the conference after years in Conference USA. The Pirates host the 1-5 Connecticut Huskies Thursday night. The Huskies are in last place in the AAC with an 0-3 record. This is the first ever meeting between the Huskies and Pirates, who are conference rivals for the first time this season.
Connecticut is coached by Bob Diaco. The Huskies have lost 4 straight games since a narrow win over Stony Brook 19-16. UConn has home losses to BYU 35-10, Boise State 38-21, and Temple 36-10 along with road losses at South Florida 17-14 and two weeks ago at Tulane 12-3. The Huskies are 0-6 ATS and the total is 1-5 this season. UConn was a 3.5 point underdog at Tulane and the total was 41.
East Carolina is coached by Ruffin McNeill. The Pirates have won 4 straight games since a 33-23 loss at South Carolina. ECU has home wins over NC Central 52-7, North Carolina 70-41, and SMU 45-24, along with road wins over Virginia Tech 28-21 and two weeks ago against South Florida 28-17. The Pirates are 4-2 ATS and the total is 3-3 this season. ECU was a 17 point favorite against South Florida and the total was 57.5.
Connecticut is being outscored 26-13 this season. The Huskies are #127 out of 128 FBS teams in scoring. Only SMU at 7 points a game is scoring less than Connecticut. UConn is averaging 256 yards per game on offense including 179 passing and 78 rushing yards per game. The Huskies are #109 or worse in all offensive categories. On defense, Connecticut is allowing 325 yards per game including 204 passing and 121 rushing yards. The Huskies are #31 or better in all three categories. The Huskies are -9 in turnovers with 14 giveaways. Connecticut is averaging 49 penalty yards per game and opponents are averaging 82. The Huskies are 29/91 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 29/91 as well. UConn has forced 7 sacks and allowed 24 this season. The Huskies are 7/14 scoring in the red zone with 3 touchdowns and opponents are 12/13 with 8 touchdowns. Connecticut has a punt return for a touchdown and a pick six but has allowed 5 defensive touchdowns.
UConn quarterback Casey Cochran had to retire from football early in the season because of multiple concussions. He was replaced by Chandler Whitmer. Whitmer has thrown for 856 yards with 5 touchdowns and 3 interceptions. Running back Max DeLorenzo has 58 carries for 194 yards, plus 2 catches. Arkeel Newsome, Ron Johnson and Joshua Marriner will also get some carries. Marriner has the only rushing touchdown of the season for the Huskies. Receiver Geremy Davis has 33 catches for 431 yards and 3 touchcowns. Deshon Foxx has 13 catches for 176 yards and also has a punt return for a touchdown.
East Carolina is outscoring teams 41-24 this season. The Pirates are #12 in scoring nationally. ECU is averaging 565 yards per game on offense including 371 passing and 193 rushing yards per game. The Pirates are #3 in total offense and #4 in passing nationally. ECU is allowing 364 yards per game on defense including 260 passing and 104 rushing yards. The Pirates are #98 in pass defense and #15 in rush defense. East Carolina is -1 in turnovers with seven takeaways. The Pirates average 84 penalty yards per game and opponents average 62. ECU is 41/82 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 44/107. The Pirates have both forced and allowed 10 sacks this season. ECU is 27/30 scoring in the red zone with 23 touchdowns and opponents are 16/20 with 11 touchdowns. The Pirates have one pick six and have allowed a defensive touchdown.
ECU quarterback Shane Carden has emerged as a dark horse Heisman candidate. He has thrown for 2,129 yards with 16 touchdowns and 4 interceptions, along with 39 carries for 73 yards and 3 touchdowns. Running back Breon Allen has 61 carries for 504 yards and 4 touchdowns, plus 18 catches for 150 yards and a touchdown. Chris Hairston, Marquez Grayson, and Anthony Scott will also get a lot of carries. Hairston has 2 touchdown runs and Scott has 3. Kurt Benkert also has 2 touchdown runs. Receiver Justin Hardy has 47 catches for 593 yards and 5 touchdowns. Isaiah Jones has 42 catches for 478 yards and 4 touchdowns. Cam Worthy has 16 catches for 358 yards and a touchdown. Trevon Brown has 13 catches for 249 yards and 4 touchdowns. Six defensive players and three wide receivers are questionable or out for the Pirates.
Connecticut is 5-1 ATS in Thursday games, 2-5 against teams with winning records, 2-5-1 after a bye week, 7-18-1 in road games, 7-19-1 overall, 5-15-1 after scoring less than 20 points, 1-4 against teams with winning home records, and after allowing less than 20 points, 2-8 after gaining less than 275 yards, 3-13-1 after failing to cover and after allowing less than 170 passing yards, 3-13 in October, 2-11 after passing for less than 170 yards, 0-4 after a straight up loss, 0-5 after rushing for less than 100 yards and on grass.
East Carolina is 6-1 ATS at home, 10-2 on grass, 4-1 after allowing less than 100 rushing and gaining more than 450 total yards, 6-2 after allowing less than 20 points, 8-3 against teams with losing road records and overall, 7-16 after a straight up win, 1-4 in Thursday games, 1-5 in October and after a bye week.
Connecticut actually has a really good defense, but it doesn’t matter how good your defense is when your terrible offense scores less than 13 points a game. I don’t know if UConn’s defense will be able to slow down the high powered Pirate offense. East Carolina should win this game easily.