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The UConn Fast Break - 9/2/2022
Students are back and so are games on campus!
Welcome to this week’s Fast Break, and thank you for being a subscriber. Happy Labor Day weekend!
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Football returns home
UConn football has been on a rollercoaster the past few weeks. Just 10 days before the season started, the program announced that defensive coordinator Lou Spanos would be taking an indefinite leave of absence from the team. Social media and the message boards did not take it well, to say the least. The lack of a defensive coordinator, combined with a tweet from a national reporter implying that the environment in Storrs isn’t all that pleasant, and the nearly four-touchdown spread against reigning Mountain West champion Utah State to open the year, the vibes were not good.
Then the game started. The Aggies recorded just one first down before being forced to punt and Nathan Carter made his presence felt. He got loose for 13 yards on the first play of the drive, then broke off a 52-yard rush on the next snap to get deep into Utah State territory. UConn converted a fourth-and-1 inside the Aggie 10-yard line and got the first touchdown on a Roberson sneak.
Then, on the back of another long Carter rush, they scored again to go up 14 points for the first time since 2019. The defense was preventing points, the offensive line was getting a push in the running game and the team looked competent for the first time in a long time, doing so against an opponent that won 11 games in 2021.
The long-term injuries to Ta’Quan Roberson and Keelan Marion definitely hurt, but competency, especially with a true freshman at quarterback, is an admirable goal at this stage of Jim Mora’s rebuild and the new coach certainly passed his first test by faring better than the 45-0 result against Fresno State to begin 2021.
This weekend, the Huskies are at Rentschler Field with a solid chance to bring home Mora’s first win as UConn head coach, against CCSU. The home side is favored by more than 14 points in SP+ and the sportsbooks feel even better about UConn, with a line as high as -19.5 as of Thursday afternoon.
CCSU Preview - Check out UConn’s depth chart and what to watch for in advance of Game 2 in 2022.
UConn WBB Weekly - This week’s version of the newsletter looks at Aaliyah Edwards and if she’ll be able to take a leap in her junior year.
Ines Bettencourt commits - In search of a point guard to replace Paige Bueckers after her ACL injury, Geno Auriemma went to the Azores to grab Bettencourt, who was originally committed to Northwest Florida.
Paige Bueckers to return in 2023-24 - Despite being eligible for the 2023 WNBA Draft, the star point guard has committed to returning to UConn next season for her senior year.
The UConn Hockey Hub is on Substack! - Previously on Patreon, the best coverage of UConn men’s hockey out there has a new home on Substack.
Tage Thompson got paid - The only first-round pick in the NHL Draft out of UConn, Tage Thompson signed a seven-year, $50 million extension to remain in Buffalo after a 68-point breakout season.
First weekend recap - While the Huskies went just 1-1-0 at home over the first weekend of the season, but the team had plenty of positives as it continues through Chris Gbandi’s first season at the helm.
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Moussa Wade of the men’s soccer team bagged this free kick goal from a sharp angle to open the scoring on Sunday against Holy Cross:
One day prior, Nate Carter announced his arrival in Logan, Utah, with this long run to kick the Huskies’ first drive of the season into high gear:
This week, we look back three years to the last time UConn football started 1-0 with a victory against Wagner in 2019. UConn opened up a 10-0 lead and looked ready to cruise against the FCS school, but mistakes by a young team kept the contest a nailbiter.
UConn, Great Pic
The men’s and women’s soccer teams had a day-night doubleheader on Saturday, with wins by both sides. The women took home a 5-0 win against UMass Lowell in the afternoon portion, while the men finished off the day with a 2-0 victory over Holy Cross. Our own Ian Bethune was on the scene to grab some shots.
Both men’s and women’s soccer have floundered the past few seasons but have had encouraging starts to their 2022 campaigns. The women are up to 2-1-1 on the year and it’s clear the team is going to put the ball in the back of the net. The Huskies have scored 12 goals in four games, which is tied for 18th in the country out of 342 teams, including six- and five-goal deluges against Syracuse and UMass Lowell, respectively. UConn also was able to stay with No. 4 South Carolina for a majority of their matchup.
On the other side, men’s soccer is 1-1-0 after splitting its first weekend of play against Charlotte and Holy Cross. New head coach Chris Gbandi has imposed a much faster and more attractive style of soccer than that of retired head coach Ray Reid as part of his rebuild of the program that was once a frequent NCAA Tournament participant. While it may take some time for the Huskies to get results, at least the games will feature tactics that are more fun to watch, with better offense.
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