Niko Porikos grew up in an NTDP billet home. Cool story.
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|2 years 15 weeks ago||UConn Perspective||
UConn fan here. UConn alum and son of a varsity Ohio State alum.
I think 14-6 is a little generous to UConn - I think we're looking more like a 23-0 or 19-3 (some odd score involving a lot of Michigan field goals).
UConn is an enigma in the Pasqualoni era. A couple times a year they "show up" and beat a Louisville on the road or first-place Rutgers two years ago. I haven't decided if this year will be a disaster or an improvement over the last two years of sub-mediocrity. During the Edsall era, sub-par talent (especially on the offensive-side of the ball minus the running back position) overachieved. The talent may be better now than it was (he's already recruited 4 QBs equal or better to the best QB Edsall ever had - Dan Orlovosky) but the team just doesn't show up sometimes. Case in point, their chance to make a bowl game last year, coming off a road win over a Louisville team that went on to be Florida, they were blown out at home by a good, not great Cincinnati team.
The defense wasn't just "good" last year, it was great... but it was on the field too much. The three best teams they faced last year (Louisville, Rutgers and NC State) all struggled to score against them. NC State's only points came on a busted play with a back-up CB on the field while their best CB was on the bench getting a concussion check - NC State put up 30+ points vs. Tennessee the week before. That being said, a lot of that defense is gone - 4 drafted players. They do get Graham Stewart back this year (originally a Florida recruit, had a touch down vs. Ohio State in the bowl game 2 years back on a blocked punt) and some other good young linebackers. The D-Line backups last year were solid, and by the end of the year the DB 2nd string played enough not to be humiliated. Michigan would be smart to go against the 'run on the road' strategy, and air it out early and test the secondary. The longer this game is close, the more anxious it's going to be for Michigan. The Rent is a small facility but it's loud (RGIII called it the most difficult stadium he played in in college). The seats are right on the field and UConn is a markedly better team at home (sans last year's louisville and cincy results). UConn fans will already be nuts because the hype for the Michigan game is pretty big here, and it's the week after UConn plays Randy Edsall's Maryland squad.
And everyone who said UConn can't score against this Michigan defense is right. The offense was a train wreck last year. Traditionally UConn's O-Line is better than last year. I think the receivers are actually stronger than most would give credit, but the QB is dreadful (watch him throw 2 times more picks than TDs this year) and a QB controversy will erupt because there are a RS Freshman and 2 Freshman who were all brought in to be the "QB of the future".
I hope it's a good game, obviously not rooting for Michigan (sorry) but I think this is going to be a snooze fest, not quite a laugher, but never in doubt for Maize Nation. UConn will be very "up" to face Edsall the week before - if they lose there (which is possible - Maryland set the NCAA record for bad breaks last year; they have to be better) they are going to be flat. They could be flat off a win. Or they could be the team that beat Louisville last year (I can only hope).