Brigham Young is known for offense but finds itself in the position of needing to rebound from its worst offensive showing in 12 years when it hosts Connecticut in Friday’s contest. The Cougars were anemic in a 31-0 loss to Michigan while being blanked for the first time since 2003 and totaling its fewest offensive yardage (105) since having 92 against Iowa State in 1974.
The Huskies are averaging just 16.5 points per game and are traveling nearly 2,000 miles — their longest-ever regular-season trip — to play a team that beat them 35-10 last season. “To fly out west and play BYU, a team that beat the snot out of us a year ago, it’s an exciting challenge and an exciting opportunity,” UConn coach Bob Diaco said in a press conference. While Diaco pipes in with optimism, Cougars coach Bronco Mendenhall pessimistically talked about the need to start over following the Michigan drubbing but had changed his tune a few days later. “We’ve played really well in three games and not played well in one,” Mendenhall said in a press conference. “I think it’s just a new start for the rest of the year rather than going all the way back. That month is over and now it’s time to play the rest of our season.”
TV: 10:15 p.m. ET, ESPN2.
LINE HISTORY: Books opened BYU as 17.5-point home faves. The total is down to 44 from the opening 46.5.
INJURY REPORT: UConn – LB Marquise Vann (Probable, leg), WR Dhameer Bradley (Out indefinitely, leg). BYU – RB Adam Hine (Questionable, ankle), LB Harvey Langi (Questionable, undisclosed), OL Kyle Johnson (Questionable, undisclosed), DB Micah Hannemann (Questionable, undisclosed), DB Michael Davis (Questionable, undisclosed), RB Algernon Brown (Questionable, knee), DB Jordan Preator (Questionable, suspension), DL Travis Tuiloma (Mid October, knee), Garrett Juergens (Out indefinitely, collarbone).
WEATHER: Temperatures in the low-50s with a 35 percent chance of rain.
WHAT BOOKS SAY: “After getting absolutely destroyed by Michigan last weekend, BYU opened as a 17.5-point fave at home to UConn. The sharps jumped on that number forcing us to move to our current number of BYU -18. At our current number of -18, we are seeing solid two-way action with a slight edge on UConn to cover the +18 with 56 percent of the action.” Michael Stewart, CarbonSports.ag.
ABOUT CONNECTICUT (2-2 SU, 2-2 ATS, 0-4 O/U): Sophomore quarterback Bryant Shirreffs has completed 65 percent of his passes for 847 yards and has four touchdowns passes against only one interception. Sophomore Arkeel Newsome (153 yards. 4.8 average) has wrestled the starting running back job away from sophomore Ron Johnson (131 yards, 2.4 average) while junior receiver Noel Thomas has team-best figures of 19 receptions and 286 yards. Senior safety Andrew Adams recorded a career-best 17 tackles in last Saturday’s loss to Navy and leads the team with 34 stops and two interceptions while sophomore defensive end Foley Fatukasi has a team-best 2.5 sacks.
ABOUT BRIGHAM YOUNG (2-2 SU, 3-1 ATS, 2-2 O/U): Freshman quarterback Tanner Mangum had a poor outing against Michigan, going 12-of-28 for 55 yards — for the lowest output since the Cougars had just 41 in the 3-0 loss to Utah in 2003. Senior running back Adam Hine (team-leading 312 yards) is doubtful with an ankle injury and junior Algernon Brown (knee) figures to miss the game so freshman running back Francis Bernard is being prepared to start. Junior safety Kai Nacua is tied for the national lead in interceptions with four, while junior middle linebacker Harvey Langi (four sacks, two interceptions) and senior free safety Michael Wadsworth (team-best 32 tackles) are also playing superb.
* Huskies are 1-8 ATS in their last nine games in October.
* Cougars are 1-4 ATS in their last five vs. AAC.
* Over is 4-0 in Cougars last four games in October.
* Under is 4-0 in Huskies last four Friday games.
COVERS CONSENSUS: Fifty-nine percent of Covers users are backing BYU.