Connecticut Huskies (4-5 6-1-1 ATS) vs. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (6-4 3-7 ATS) Notre Dame Stadium, South Bend, IN 2:30 PM EST Saturday November 21, 2009 on NBC
by Jason Green at Predictem.com
Point Spread: Huskies +6 / Fighting Irish -6
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On Saturday afternoon the Notre Dame Fighting Irish host the Connecticut Huskies. Both teams are struggling, as the Irish have lost 2 in a row and the Huskies have lost 3 in row. While the Irish have already qualified for a bowl the Huskies have to win at least 2 of their next 3 games in order to play in a bowl. The Huskies are only 1-4 in the Big East and they face a Notre Dame team that has a solid offense. Neither team has a good defense, so this game may be a shootout. The Fighting Irish have the nation’s 9th ranked defense so they have the advantage in this game.
Last week Notre Dame lost a close game to then #12 Pittsburgh 27-22 while the Huskies lost a shootout to then #5 Cincinnati 47-45 two weeks ago.
In their loss to Pitt in their last game Notre Dame allowed the Panthers to jump out to an 18-point lead and even though the rallied to come back they could not win. 2 turnovers really hurt the Irish in the game and they allowed the Panthers to kill them on the ground, as Pitt rushed for 193 yards. Notre Dame did have 283 passing yards per game, but they had to air it out in order to attempt a comeback. The Irish had a chance to win the game getting the ball back late in the 4th quarter, but they committed a costly 15-yard chap block penalty and then QB Jimmy Clausen fumbled the ball killing their drive. The Irish were underdogs by 6 points so they covered the spread and the posted total of 59 was not reached.
In their loss to Cincinnati last Saturday the Huskies made a valiant comeback, but could not come back and win. The Bearcats jumped out to a 30-10 lead in the 1st half and then the Huskies offense came alive scoring 35 points in the 2nd half. The Huskies took the lead in the 4th quarter, but then could not keep the Bearcats from scoring a TD late in the game, which cost them the win. On defense the Huskies have up 711 total yards (480 passing yards and 231 passing yards). The Huskies were underdogs by 17 points so they covered the spread and the posted total of 52 was only surpassed by 40 points.
The Huskies only have the nation’s 68th ranked defense and in their last 3 games they have given up an average of 34 points per game. That is not good facing an Irish offense that ranks 9th in the nation and is averaging 452 yards per game.
The Huskies proved last week that they can score in bunches and since their D is weak they will have to get into a shootout to win this game.
One way to keep the dynamic offense of the Irish on the sidelines is to run the ball and UCONN has a solid rushing offense with the RB duo of Jordan Todman (812 yds 12 TD) and Andre Dixon (730 yds 7 TD). If these guys can move the chains on the ground and eat up the clock it gives the Huskies a good chance to win this game.
The Notre Dame defense may be even worse than UCONN’s ranking 83rd in the nation and they have to score a lot of points to win. QB Jimmy Clausen (3053 yds 21 TD) has been legit this season and he has to have a good game and not turn the ball over in this game.
Clausen ranks 5th in the nation in passing efficiency and that is not a good thing for UCONN’ D since they have had major issues both pressuring the QB and covering receivers.
The Huskies have to try to cover Irish WR Golden Tate (74 rec 1172 yds 11 TD), who is human highlight film and is averaging 15.8 yards per reception.
Huskies’ QB Zach Frazer became the starter again after Cody Endres went out with an injury and in the In the past 2 games he is 40/78 passing for 594 yards with 2 TD’s and 3 INT’s.
The Huskies are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games and the total has gone Over in 4 of the past 5 Huskies games.
The Fighting Irish are only 2-7 ATS in their last 9 games and 1-5 ATS in their last 6 home games.
Jason’s Pick: UCONN is in desperation mode, as they have to start winning if they are going to play a bowl game. Both teams have a legit offense and weak defense and even though this game is in South Bend the Huskies will come out and play solid, especially running the ball. UCONN may not win this game, but they will cover the spread. Take the Huskies and the points and with both defenses the Over is also a good call.