Connecticut Huskies 2015 Preview

Previewing BYU’s game against the Connecticut Huskies

BYU has put a bow on September with an ugly 31-0 loss to the Michigan Wolverines. They struggled right from the get go and gave up five straight scoring drives in the first half defensively, while only mustering a meager 105 yds of total offense over the course of the game. It appeared that the offense took several steps back against the Wolverines, but there is plenty for them to learn from and improve on going forward.After the most staunch September schedule in College Football, the Cougars won’t face the same level of competition through the rest of the season and will play to win out. The Cougars hope to begin this new chapter in the month of October and have a good chance to start it off against the Connecticut Huskies. While there is a lot of optimism to win this game, there are several injury concerns for the Cougars heading into the Friday night matchup including starting RB Adam Hine, MLB Harvey Langi, LG Kyle Johnson, BC Mike Davis, and NT Travis Tuiloma. It remains to be seen if these players will be able to help out the Cougars or if their backups will be able to be competitive.

Connecticut is on a two-game skid after reaching their 2014 win total in their first two contests of the season. Their first loss of the season came against the #22 Missouri Tigers (3-1), falling 9-6 when they had an opportunity to tie the score late in the game but instead went for the win by drawing up a fake FG attempt. The pass was attempted by backup QB Tim Boyle who was holding the snap, he threw the ball up and was intercepted by Mizzou Safety Anthony Sherril. The Huskies then lost the next week to the Navy Midshipmen (3-0) 28-18. UConn has a stout defensive line that will pose a problem for the Cougars offense as well as an athletic secondary that will use last week’s film against Michigan to cause havoc for BYU’s receiving core. The Huskies also boast a young, talented QB in NC State transfer Bryant Shirreffs who is a dual-threat QB that was compared to Tim Tebow coming out of HS.

Connecticut 2014 Record: 2-10

vs BYU 10-35 L

vs Stony Brook 19-16 W

vs Boise State 21-38 L

@ USF 14-17 L

vs Temple 10-36 L

@ Tulane 3-12 L

@ #18 East Carolina 21-31 L

vs UCF 37-29 W

vs Army 21-35 L

vs Cincinnati 0-41 L

@ Memphis 10-41 L

vs SMU 20-27 L

Bronco Mendenhall vs. Bob Diaco

Bob Diaco:

Season: 2nd

Record: 4-12

Away: 0-5

vs Top 25: 0-2

vs BYU: 0-1

Bronco Mendenhall:

Season: 11th

Record: 92-41

Home: 51-11

vs AAC: 3-5

vs non-P5: 73-20

vs Connecticut: 1-0

BYU vs Connecticut: 1-0

      Largest Margin of Victory: 35-10 (’14)

      Largest Margin of Loss: N/A

      Last Game: 35-10 (’14)

Connecticut depth chart


QB: Bryant Shirreffs/Tim Boyle

TB: Ron Johnson/Arkeel Newsome

LT: Richard Levy/Matt Peart

LG: Tommy Hopkins/Steve Hashemi

C: Brendan Vechery/Dan Oak

RG: Tyler Samra/Kyle Bockeloh

RT: Andreas Knappe/Trey Rutherford

TE: Alec Bloom/Chris Lee

TE: Tommy Myers/Zordan Holman

WR: Noel Thomas/Brian Lemelle

WR: Thomas Lucas/Tyraiq Beals


DE: Kenton Adeyemi/Cole Ormsby

DT: Foley Fatukasi/Sean Marinan

DT: Julian Campeni/Mikal Myers

DE: Luke Carrezola/Cameron Stapleton

LB: Graham Stewart/Vontae Diggs

LB: Junior Joseph/John Hicks

LB: Marquise Vann/Matt Walsh

CB: Jhavon Williams/John Green

SS: Andrew Adams/Ellis Marder

FS: Obi Melifonwu/Junior Lee

CB: Jamar Summers/Javon Hadley

Special Teams:

Punter: Justin Wain

Kicker: Bobby Puyol

Kick Off: Michael Tarbutt

LS: Dominick Manco

PR: Brian Lemelle/Tyraiq Beals

KR: Arkeeel Newsome/Josh Marriner

HL: Tim Boyle


UConn runs a pro-style offense that is heavily run-based. Their run-pass ratio is 60:40 and they’ll use the run to set up the pass. The scheme that they run, combined with the athletes isn’t very effective at all. In fact, they are currently ranked 108th in the country in offensive efficiency and 120th in YPG. They avg 211 passing YPG and 108 rushing YPG They aren’t terribly effective at running the ball, the team is currently averaging 2.9 YPC. The QB will primarily go under center, but will also use shotgun formations as well so they can spread out the defense. They don’t have anywhere near the talent that BYU has faced over the last two weeks but they will try to pound the ball and BYU will have to play physically.

Shirreffs is an improvement on what UConn had at QB last year. He comes to the Huskies from NC State where he played 8 games and burned his RS last year. Shirreffs is still growing as a QB, he’s a good athlete who can move the ball on the ground, so far he has rushed for 115 yds on 52 carries. BYU will need to find a way to contain him so he doesn’t burn them on the ground. When Shirreffs drops back to throw the ball he prefers quick routes that offer high completion and he tries to let his receivers make plays, there aren’t many times that he tries to take shots downfield. He struggles to progress through his reads and will take off if his first receiver isn’t open. BYU will be able to use multiple stunts and blitz packages in order to confuse him. Shirreffs also struggles with being aware of where defenders are, there were times on film where he would roll out and was chased down by a DL without throwing the ball away, or he didn’t have great awareness in the pocket.

Connecticut is going to pound the ball on the ground going under center and using offset I-formation, I-formation, double tight, etc. They will bring in extra blockers so they can run between the tackles. Their two primary backs are Arkeel Newsome and Ron Johnson. Johnson has rushed 55 times for 131 yds and 3 TDs, an avg of 2.4 YPC where Newsome has 32 rushes for 153 yds and 1 TD, an avg of 4.8. Bryant Sherriffs will also get involved in the running game and through 4 games has rushed 52 times for 115 yds but yet has to reach the end zone.

Sherriffs go-to receiver is Noel Thomas who has more than doubled the receiving yds of the next receiver, Tyraiq Beals. Thomas has 19 catches for 286 yds while Beals has 13 catches for 132 yds and 1 TD. Alec Bloom and Tommy Myers are two TE’s who UConn will rely on in the passing game. Myers currently leads the team in TD catches with 2, he also has the longest reception of the season, 69 yds against Villanova.

UConn has a very young offensive line, only one senior is projected to start against BYU. Coming into the season, they only had 46 combine starts across the OL. They aren’t too impressive physically, the have struggled to establish a consistent run game and have also given up 12 sacks through 4 games, against less-than-talented opponents. BYU will be able to provide some pressure on Shirreffs and play the run physically and should be able to man-handle the LOS in this match up.

2014 Team Stats:

Points Scored Per Game: 15.5

      2015: 16.5

Rushing Yardage: 1296

      Returning for 2015: 1028 (79.3%)

      2015: 433

Receiving Yardage: 2032

      Returning for 2015: 1084 (53.3%)

      2015: 847

Passing Yardage: 2032

      Returning for 2015: 335 (16.5%)

      2015: 847

Total Offense: 6360

      Returning for 2015: 2210 (34.7%)

      2015: 1280

Fumbles: 19

      Recovered: 3

      Lost: 16

      2015: 5 (3 lost)

Interceptions: 12

      Returning for 2015: 1

      2015: 2

Sacks Allowed: 29 (-168 yds)

      2015: 12 (-58 yds)

First Downs: 178

        Rushing: 69

        Passing: 87

        Penalty: 22

2015: 73

      Rushing: 31

      Passing: 36

      Penalty: 6

Third Down Conversion: 50/164 (30.5%)

      2015: 19/53 (35.8%)

Fourth Down Conversion: 8/14 (57.1%)

      2015: 3/9 (33.3%)

Penalties: 74 (-721 yds)

      2015: 22 (-187 yds)

Red Zone Efficiency: 14/24 (58.3%)

      2015: 9/11 (81.8%)

Red Zone TDs: 10/24 (41.7%)

      2015: 6/11 (54.5%)

PAT Attempts: 19/22 (86.4%)

     2015: (4/7) (57.1%)

Individual Stats:

2015 Season

QB Bryant Shirreffs: 67/103 for 847 yds, 4 TDs and 1 INT, 52 carries for 115 yds; RB Arkeel Newsome: 32 carries for 153 yds and 1 TD, 11 receptions for 104 yds and 1 TD; RB Ron Johnson: 55 carries for 131 yds and 3 TDs, 1 reception for -2 yds; WR Noel Thomas: 19 receptions for 286 yds, 2 carries for 9 yds; WR Tyraiq Beals: 13 receptions for 132 yds, 1 TD, 1 carry for 15 yds; TE Alec Bloom: 6 receptions for 82 yds; TE Tommy Myers: 4 receptions for 103 yds and 2 TDs;

2014 Season

QB Tim Boyle: 43/82 for 335 yds, 1 TD and 3 INTs, 16 rushes for -42 yds; RB Ron Johnson: 114 carries for 429 yds, 3 TDs, 3 receptions for 20 yds; RB Max DeLorenzo: 77 carries for 343 yds, 1 TD, 5 receptions for 42 yds; RB Arkeel Newsome: 47 carries for 188 yds, 11 receptions for 155 yds and 2 TDs; WR Noel Thomas: 26 receptions for 305 yds and 4 TDs; WR Dhameer Bradley: 15 receptions for 100 yds; WR Thomas Lucas: 9 receptions for 122 yds; TE Alec Bloom: 3 receptions for 40 yds, 1 TD; TE Tommy Myers: 2 receptions for 8 yds;


UConn is going to roll out a 4-3 defense this week. Their DL is going to try and make plays and create some leverage on BYU’s OL. They lose 1st round pick corner Byron Jones who was an athletic freak, but still tout two talented safeties in Andrew Adams and Obi Melifonwu, Adams was the teams second leading tackler last year with 96 while Melifonwu was fourth with 75. Their LB core will be involved in a lot of plays with Marquise Vann and Graham Stewart playing vacuum, the two combined for 199 tackles last season. Bob Diaco is a brilliant defensive mind and he will roll out his best to try and stump BYU.

UConn returns 2 starters from last years team on the DL and the top 4 tacklers from the unit also return for the team. They are headlined by Foley Fatukasi and Luke Carrezola who lead the team with 3 and 4 TFL combined Fatukasi also leads the team in sacks with 2.5. Luke provides a legitimate threat off the edge and will consistently trying to get in the backfield to cause disruption. Along with those two, UConn has 45 combined starts by Kenton Adeyemi and Julian Campenni. As a unit, they haven’t been fantastic, through four games they give up an avg of 170.5 rushing YPG and have only totaled 5 sacks on the year. BYU should have an opportunity to play physically and dominate the LOS to establish a run game and give Tanner the protection he needs in the pocket.

UConn has a talented LB core with 6 of their top 7 contributors returning including their leading tackler Marquise Vann and Graham Stewart who finished third last season. They are an assignment sound group who Diaco will rely on to make plays and keep the ball in front of them. Vann has seen a diminished role in the D as he suffered an injury against Villanova, but Matt Walsh has filled in nicely for him with 13.5 tackles and 2.5 TFL. Vann is expected to play in the Huskies games against BYU but it remains to be seen how the rotation will be filled. MLB Junior Joseph has also been a big time playmaker for the Huskies with 20.5 tackles and .5 TFL. The defense will try and funnel plays so he can finish them off.

UConn’s strength is in the secondary and are headlined by two versatile playmakers in Andrew Adams and Obi Melifonwu two are the first and third leading tacklers on this year’s team. Adams also has a nose for the ball and leads the team in INTs this season for 2. They will step up and run the alley to stop the run and as well as make athletic plays in the secondary.

2014 Team Stats:

Points Allowed Per Game: 29.8

      2015: 17.2

Turnover Ratio: 28:15

      2015: 5:5

Forced Fumbles: 8

      Returning for 2015: 7

      Fumbles Recovered: 7

      Returning for 2015: 6

      2015: 7 forced, 2 recovered

Interceptions: 8

      Returning for 2015: 5

      2015: 3

Sacks: 13 (-83 yds)

      Returning for 2015: 11.5 (-75 yds)

      2015: 5 (-21 yds)

TFL: 61 (-186 yds)

      Returning for 2015: 52.5 (-171 yds)

      2015: 23 (-65 yds)

QBH: 17

      Returning for 2015: 10

      2015: 4

PBU: 33

      Returning for 2015: 26

      2015: 9

INTs: 8 (-174 yds, 1 TD)

      Returning for 2015: 5 (-104 yds)

      2015: 3 (-23 yds)

TDs allowed: 45

      Rushing: 24

      Passing: 21

2o15: 9

      Rushing: 6

      Passing: 3

First Downs Allowed: 243

      Rushing: 110

      Passing: 110

      Penalty: 23

2015: 64

      Rushing: 37

      Passing: 21

      Penalty: 6

Third Down Conversion: 74/186 (39.8%)

      2015: 24/52 (46.2%)

Fourth Down Conversion: 11/19 (57.9%)

      2015: 2/8 (25%)

Red Zone Efficiency: 39/46 (84.8%)

      2015: 7/10 (70%)

Red Zone TDs: 29/46 (63.1%)

      2015: 7/10 (70%)

PAT Attempts: 43/44 (97.7%)

      2015: 8/8 (100%)

Key Defensive Players:

2015 Season

SS Andrew Adams: 26 tackles, 2 INTs, 1 PBU; MLB Junior Joseph: 20.5 tackles, .5 TFL; FS Obi Melifonwu: 19.5 tackles, 1 TFL; OLB Graham Stewart: 16 tackles, 1.5 TFL, 1 sack, 1 PBU; OLB Matt Walsh: 13.5 tackles, 2.5 TFL; CB Jamar Summers: 12.5 tackles, .5 TFL; DE Luke Carrezola: 11 tackles, DT Foley Fatukasi: 7.5 tackles, 3 TFL, 2.5 sacks; DT Julian Campenni: 7 tackles, 2.5 TFL;

2014 Season

OLB Marquise Vann: 105 tackles, 7 TFL, .5 sack, 2 PBU, 1 QBH, 1 FF; SS Andrew Adams: 96 tackles, .5 TFL, 4 INT, 4 PBU, 1 FR, 1 FF; OLB Graham Stewart: 94 tackles, 10.5 TFL, 2 sacks, 1 QBH, 2 FF; FS Obi Melifonwu: 75 tackles, 3.5 TFL, 3 PBU; MLB Junior Joseph: 41 tackles, 4 TFL, 1 QBH, 2 FR, 1 FF; CB Jhavon Williams: 38 tackles, 7 PBU, 1 FR, 2 FF; DT Julian Campenni: 35 tackles, 5.5 TFL, 2 sack, 2 QBH; DT Foley Fatukasi: 31 tackles, 3 TFL, 1 QBH; DE Kenton Adeyemi: 31 tackles, 5 TFL, 2 sacks, 2 QBH;

Special Teams:

Connecticut loses their primary PR from last year in Deshon Foxx and he’s been replaced with Brian Lemelle who has yet to return a punt. They keep their leading KR from last season in Arkeel Newsome who is a shifty runner that will make guys miss in the open field.

The Huskies also return their P and K from last season in Justin Wain and Bobby Puyol. Wain was able to pin opponents in the 20 17 times last season while Bobby was 9/14 on FG on the season.

Scoring (2014):

Bobby Puyol: 19/22 PAT, 9/14 FG (1-29: 2/2, 30-39: 3/6, 40-49: 4/6), lng 45 yds


Bobby Puyol: 4/7 PAT, 4/4 FG (1-29: 2/2, 30-39: 2/2), lng 39 yds

Kickoffs (2015):

Michael Tarbutt: 15 KO, 885 yds, 59 avg, 3 TB

Punts (2014):

Justin Wain: 74 punts, 2868 yds, 38.8 avg, 17 inside 20


Justin Wain: 15 punts, 571 yds, 38.1 avg, lg 50, 2 TB, 4 Inside 20, 1 blk

Kick Returns (2014):

Arkeel Newsome: 36 returns for 730 yds, 20.3 avg, 37 long


Arkeel Newsome: 4 returns for 61 yds, 15.2 avg, 20 long

Brian Lemelle: 2 return for 24 yds, 12.0 avg, 12 long

Punt Returns (2015):



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