It is the dawn of a new college football season — and potentially a new era for the UConn Huskies football program. UConn ushers in a brand new head coach in Jim Mora Jr., and he hopes to inject some much-needed enthusiasm into the program. His first task as head coach of the Huskies is a road trip to Utah State to face an Aggies program coming off an impressive 11-3 season under the leadership of head coach Blake Anderson.
Anderson helped turn the fortunes of Utah State around in a hurry. After inheriting a program that won just one game in the season before his arrival, Anderson coached Utah State to an 11-win season capped with a surprising Mountain West Conference Football Championship Game victory over San Diego State and a victory in the LA Bowl over Oregon State. Can the Aggies roll up their sleeves and do it again now that the conference has been put on notice?
UConn at Utah State
Kickoff: Saturday, Aug. 27 at 4 p.m. ET
Spread: Utah State -27
When UConn Has the Ball
UConn's offense will be put in the hands of Penn State transfer quarterback Ta'Quan Roberson, whose only significant playing time with the Nittany Lions came in relief of an injured Sean Clifford on the road against a feisty and aggressive Iowa defense. Utah State won't be quite the same level of competition, which should bode well for Roberson's confidence level.
Mora has some experience to work with on his roster on offense, although UConn still has a way to go before being much of a viable threat with the football. This should especially be true on the road in this spot. Still, the Huskies should be able to manage a few scoring drives, putting the game on the defense.
When Utah State Has the Ball
And unfortunately for UConn, the defense could have its issues keeping up with the Aggies. The Huskies ranked 115th in the nation in total defense last season and 105th against the pass. Utah State quarterback Logan Bonner threw for 3,628 yards and 36 touchdowns last season. He will likely cause plenty of headaches for the UConn secondary.
After ranking 15th in the nation on passing offense in 2021, the Aggies will aim for a fast start at home in their season opener. Several key pieces to last year's offense have moved on but Utah State still boasts plenty of talent in running back Calvin Tyler Jr. and wide receiver Justin McGriff. Several transfers could emerge as well with Bonner needing to find some new targets.
UConn is probably going to be a better team this season, but it will struggle to show that on the road in this opener against the defending Mountain West champions. The Huskies may hang with Utah State early on, but the Aggies' aerial attack will be too much to hold down for too long, and Utah State should be able to put this game out of reach after halftime.