Fresno State starts up its season by hosting UConn in a Week 0 matchup and there is a lot of unknowns about the Huskies. They did not play in 2020 so this team is very different from what was going to suit up last year with players leaving the program to be able to play last year.
1. UConn didn’t play last year, so how is the team getting ready for playing football once again?
As you can imagine coaches are pretty tight-lipped about the exact details, but as you can imagine they did more live practice during the time off than normal. And I think they just let people recuperate, get stronger, stay healthy, and most importantly not risk their health by playing during a global public health crisis. The 2020 Huskies were going to be a young team dealing with a lot of turnover through the transfer portal, so between us pals, the year off may have been a blessing in disguise, even though it likely happened because getting a schedule set as a new FBS independent was not going to be easy.
2. What was gained and/or learned by not playing football last season?
I think UConn earned some goodwill with the players, many of which stayed during the pandemic. Of course, some people who wanted to play left, but attrition was not nearly as bad as you would think given that they canceled the season and haven’t been very good even when they’re playing.
3. The offensive line is a concern for Fresno State, who does UConn have on the defensive side to take advantage of?
Watch out for Travis Jones and Lwal Uguak, two very disruptive interior linemen, especially Jones. I would also guess that Omar Fortt and Ian Swenson, two converted DBs who’ve been lifting for two years straight, might also be factors in the pass rush.
4. Fresno State’s defense was in the bottom half of the Mountain West last year, who are the star players on offense that could have a big game?
Running back Kevin Mensah and wide receiver Cam Ross are the big threats. UConn is a little unproven at QB, with no starter even set, but Mensah and Ross are proven commodities that are both capable of having big games.
5. How do you see this game playing out?
I see Fresno winning big to be honest. I think UConn is, correctly, treating this game like an exhibition, and will be happy to come home healthy with a better sense of who they can count on when the chips are really down in live action. If I had to guess, I’d say Fresno State even covers the four-touchdown spread.