UConn Football: The injured, the beaten and the bad guys

To say that Jim Mora Jr. is starting from scratch at UConn is putting it mildly — this is a program that has only won 11 games since the start of the 2016 season, and one that has little in the history of fertile recruiting ground to get out of from which to draw as she tries to climb out of the depths of despair.

The Huskies are independent these days, which probably doesn’t help but might as well be: They’ve gone 0-8 in each of their last two seasons in the AAC.

At some point they have to get lucky, finding a quarterback good enough to cover for mistakes elsewhere just to be competitive again. That won’t be the case this season as they’ve already lost their starting quarterback for the season, making for more struggles as they’re forced to play a freshman.

This new quarterback, Zion Turner, has completed just 51.2% of his passing attempts this season while averaging just 4.5 yards per attempt. This level of inefficiency in passing is a pretty serious problem as opposing defenses really have to search to find matchups that affect them.

UConn’s offense has been appalling in 2021, averaging little more than 4.0 yards per game against FBS opponents, and this unit is on a very similar path so far in 2022. If the Huskies had a chance to get better this fall, it likely evaporated with key injuries at the skill positions, let alone the quarterback. The team is without its top two running backs — starter Nate Carter is sixth nationally in rushing yardage but injured a shoulder last week. They also lost their top return receiver in week 1.

The Huskies have sophomores at the top of the depth chart in every skill position, and in the passing game they’ve leaned on flanker Aaron Turner, who has 13 grabs for 164 yards a year. Three of the team’s top six receivers are running backs, two of whom are out, which is revealing. There just isn’t much here, and while UConn clearly did what it could to give Turner some easy throws, that didn’t translate into sustained drives.

Defensively, the problems were just as pronounced. UConn’s three previous FBS opponents have thrown 74.7% of their shots, averaging 10.5 yards per attempt, and have seven passing touchdowns against zero interceptions.

These opponents also averaged 4.1 yards per carry, more than 200 rushing yards per game, and posted 10 rushing TDs. They’ve made 17 trips to the red zone and scored every time, with 14 resulting in touchdowns.

It’s tough times everywhere, man.

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