Connecticut Huskies vs. Cincinnati Bearcats Preview and Pick – Point Spread – 26378

Connecticut Huskies (4-4 SU, 6-1 ATS) vs. Cincinnati Bearcats (8-0 SU, 5-2 ATS), 8:00 p.m. EST, Saturday, November 7, 2009, Nippert Stadium, Cincinnati, Ohio. TV: ABC
by Ryno of

Point Spread: Connecticut +17/Cincinnati -17
Over/Under: 51.5

The Connecticut Huskies are still getting over the tragedy of losing Jasper Howard, and they are still trying to get their first win since then. They’ve suffered through two tough losses in the last two weeks to West Virginia and Rutgers. Last week against Rutgers, the Huskies scored a touchdown with under a minute remaining, but the Scarlet Knights responded with an 81-yard touchdown pass to win the game in dramatic fashion.

Unfortunately for the Huskies, their schedule gets even tougher as they face the undefeated Cincinnati Bearcats on the road. The Bearcats have been doing just fine without star quarterback Tony Pike, who has been out with an injured forearm. The Bearcats won their last three games with Zach Collaros under center by a combined 103-34. Now, Pike is back at practice and could return to the field on Saturday against UConn.

Collaros has been brilliant filling in for Pike. In a 28-7 win over Syracuse on Saturday, Collaros was 22-for-28 for 295 yards and four touchdowns. In the win over Louisville, Collaros was 15-for-17 for 253 yards and three touchdowns. And on top of all that, Collaros can run. He has 213 rushing yards for the season. Collaros’s 218.4 QB rating ranks the highest in the country among quarterbacks that have attempted at least 10 passes. Combined between the two quarterbacks, Pike and Collaros have thrown for 2,382 yards, 24 touchdowns and four interceptions, and they’ve completed 67 percent of their passes. Maybe, the two of them should win a dual Heisman.

If the Huskies are going to pull off the upset, they have to successfully defend wide receiver Mardy Gilyard, who has 53 receptions for 736 yards and eight touchdowns.

The Bearcats have won every game this season by at least eight points and all but two games by at least 17 points. They’ve scored at least 28 points in every single game and given up no more than 20 points in any game.

UConn only 4-4, but the Huskies could easily be 8-0. They lost all four of their games by four points or less. And four of those losses were to solid teams – North Carolina, Pittsburgh, West Virginia and Rutgers. At the same time, they don’t have any high quality wins (Ohio, Baylor, Rhode Island and Louisville). But the Huskies at least have proved they can compete with any team on their schedule.

UConn is led by a solid 1-2 running attack with Andre Dixon and Jordan Todman. Dixon has 150 carries, 703 yards and seven touchdowns, while Todman has 133 carries, 664 yards and eight touchdowns. Huskies quarterback Cody Endres has 1,354 passing yards, six touchdowns and four interceptions. But Endres injured his shoulder against Rutgers and had to leave the game. He is out for the season, so Zach Frazer is now under center for the Huskies. Frazer filled in against Rutgers with 333 passing yards, one touchdown and three interceptions. He completed only 21-of-46 pass attempts.


If the Huskies are going to pull out a win at Cincinnati, they must run the ball well and control the clock.

Cincinnati is allowing 115.9 rushing yards per game and a 3.1 yards-per-carry average. The Huskies are allowing 201.1 passing yards per game and have allowed 11 passing touchdowns while intercepting 11 passes as well.

Cinci is 10-1 SU in its last 11 home games. The total has gone under in four of Cincy’s last six games. UConn is 6-1 ATS in its last seven road games. Cincy has won four of the last five matchups with UConn, but UConn won 40-16 last season.

Ryno’s Pick: Cincinnati has been rolling over its opponents, and it doesn’t matter much if it’s Pike or Collaros at quarterback. For UConn, it is a big loss to lose Endres. But the Huskies are a run-first team and that’s how they could win this game or at least keep it close. The Huskies have to avoid giving up big passing plays like the one they gave up to Rutgers in the final seconds. UConn is getting disrespected a bit by Vegas because of its 4-4 record. But the Huskies lost all four games by four or less points, so they aren’t really a 4-4 team. UConn will keep this game within a touchdown and could even pull off the upset if Frazer doesn’t make any mistakes. Take Connecticut +17.