Not much can be said about last week's game against Michigan. All that I'll say is that it was an embarrassment. There is very little good that can be taken from that game so let's just move on to the next one.
Connecticut isn't a great team, though they do share a record of 2-2 with BYU. The Huskies did take the Missouri Tigers down to the wire in an ugly 9-6 loss. But Mizzou probably isn't as good as its #22 ranking may suggest. UCon doesn't do anything particularly well. They pass for just over 210 yards a game and rush for a little less than 110. Even more telling is that they only score 16.5 points per game. The Cougars were averaging a little more than 30 points per game before the debacle against Michigan and are now at 22.75 points per game. I expect that number to be higher this game.
After such a loss I think all BYU fan wants at this point is a strong showing and a great win against an inferior opponent. So I'm not going to get to crazy with predictions this time around.
Tanner Mangum will throw 3 TDs
Last week against Michigan was the worst we have seen Mangum play all season and I think it will stay that way. We're not likely to see another performance like that the rest of the season. He was running for his life all game and he wasn't getting any help from his receivers. None of them were getting open enough for him to complete a pass.
The receivers were called out by Coach Guy Holliday for their performance, he essentially said with the size they have they can't play that small. I expect to see them fired up and ready to prove that last week was a fluke. Holliday is a fiery coach who expects excellence out of his players and won't tolerate another showing like that. This bodes well for Mangum. It should allow him to connect on passes all over the field. He may even have a long touchdown pass or two. The passing game will be much better on Friday night.
The defense will record 4 sacks
Connecticut quarterback Bryant Shirreffs has been sacked 12 times this season for an average of 3 each game. This makes me think that UConn doesn't exactly have a strong offensive line. Shirreffs is also a sophomore so he's probably still a little prone to hold onto the ball too long. The Cougars still have a pretty solid pass rush with Bronson Kaufusi, Sione Takitaki and Fred Warner. Travis Tuiloma's return is still in question, but the point still remains, if he plays it's a big boost for the defense, especially the front seven. There is still a lot of talent on this young defense. They possess the ability to wreak havoc and to get after the quarterback. The Huskies aren't nearly as good as Michigan, obviously. This should open the door for a strong showing from the BYU defense. They should rattle the quarterback and hit him often.
The Cougars will win by at least 2 touchdowns
BYU's biggest victory so far this season was a home win against Boise State they won by 11. Though 14 of those points were scored in the last minute. UConn is by far the weakest of the first 5 teams they will have played to start this season and this game is at home. The offense should be able to put up close to 30 points against UConn. The Huskies have not given up a lot of points this season either. The highest scoring game of the season was its 28-18 loss against Navy. The offense will be better after what will hopefully be a renewed effort and fire. The players will be keen to get last week's bitter taste out of their mouths. Getting dominated 31-0 will get anyone fired up. If Mangum can throw for at least 3 touchdowns and the defense can play a solid game then I see no reason why the Cougars can't win by at least 14 points.
This week's game will be much more enjoyable to watch. Last week was ugly and probably the hardest game to watch since the 54-10 game against Utah. Beating UConn at Lavell Edwards Stadium will help somewhat in overcoming that horrifying loss. Cougars win 31-13.