Week 4 - Connecticut at Western Michigan

Posted Sep 19, 2012

Week 4 CFN Fearless Prediction – Connecticut at Western Michigan

Connecticut (2-1) at Western Michigan (1-2) Sept. 22, 2:00, ESPN3

Here's The Deal: Now that Connecticut is coming off arguably its most important victory since Paul Pasqualoni took over in 2011, what does the team do with it? The Huskies went on the road to defeat Maryland and former head coach Randy Edsall, 24-21, the kind of game that could pay dividends when bowl bids are handed out in December. Western Michigan is a little unsure of itself as the non-conference portion of the schedule is set to expire. The Broncos are battle-tested following road losses at the Big Ten's Illinois and Minnesota, but the offense just isn't clicking the way head coach Bill Cubit would like at this stage of the campaign.

Why Connecticut Might Win: If Cubit is concerned about his offense's execution today, he might be downright frantic by Sunday morning. The Huskies, despite a recent rash of injuries, have been air-tight on defense, ranking among the nation's leaders in a bunch of categories. Testament to its speed and attacking personality, Connecticut leads the country in tackles for loss, getting a bunch from DE Trevardo Williams, DT Ryan Wirth and linebackers Yawin Smallwood and Sio Moore. Smallwood, in particular, is a terror coming from the second level.

Why Western Michigan Might Win: Okay, so the Broncos have had some misfires, but they still have more weapons than a feeble Connecticut offense that currently ranks 115th in the country. Although Alex Carder will need to be on his best behavior when facing the Huskies secondary, he gives his team a chance to move the ball effectively through the air. He has a big arm, a ton of experience and a pair of evolving receivers, sensational rookie Jaime Wilson and steady TE Blake Hammond.

What To Watch Out For: If Connecticut plans to keep the chains moving, it better be prepared to move the ball on the ground. QB Chandler Whitmer has been a disappointment, and the Western Michigan D has played relatively well so far. The Huskies need to find a way to unleash RB Lyle McCombs, who has been bottled up by poor blocking. The team might also look to put backup QB Scott McCummings in a position to take more direct snaps so he can showcase his athleticism.

What Will Happen: Saturday in Kalamazoo essentially boils do to Carder vs. the Connecticut defense. Advantage Huskies, but they'll need to make a few more conversions on offense to avoid the upset. The D will once again lead the way, getting just enough offensive help from McCombs and PK Chad Christen to move two games over .500.

CFN Prediction: Connecticut 23 … Western Michigan 16
ATS Consultants Line (Click for more lines and picks) Connecticut -1 O/U: 43
Must Watch Rating (5 – Ray Lewis: A Football Life, 1 – Frankenweenie): 1.5