Cochran makes debut as UConn quarterback today at SMU
Dallas - SMU is in a precarious situation trying to get to its fifth consecutive bowl game under coach June Jones.
Six wins might not be enough this time to get a postseason berth, like it was last year. The Mustangs (3-5, 2-2 AAC) might have to win their final four games.
The first step is today, when SMU is back home as a two-touchdown favorite against winless UConn (0-8, 0-4) at 3 p.m. (no TV).
Mustangs quarterback Garrett Gilbert is the national leader with 409 total yards a game. He has averaged 480 yards the last four games while throwing for 1,746 yards with 13 touchdowns and only one interception. He has also run for five scores in that span.
"His confidence has risen and his play has shown through that. ... I'm glad we have him," Jones said. "I didn't realize that he had never had the same offensive system in college two years in a row. So with that said, that makes sense why he's starting to gain his confidence."
Even with Gilbert's recent surge, the Mustangs have won only two of those four games. Gilbert threw two TDs to Darius Joseph in the fourth quarter last week before a 28-25 loss at Cincinnati.
While SMU is set at quarterback with Gilbert, the Huskies plan to give redshirt freshman quarterback Casey Cochran his first career start.
"We think he gives us the best chance at this point in time," interim coach T.J. Weist said. "He's done a great job the last few games, coming in and leading us to scoring drives. He's made good decisions in practice through the whole fall."
Cochran, who will be the third different starter for the Huskies this season, has completed 17 of 28 passes for 183 yards with two touchdowns and an interception as a reserve in four games. Tim Boyle, the freshman who started the last four games, completed only 44 percent of his passes (58 of 132) with eight interceptions and no touchdowns.
"We will try some different things with our game plan," Weist said. "We're not going to reinvent the offense. We just have to throw it and catch it better."
Geremy Davis is UConn's leading receiver for the second consecutive season, with 41 catches this season for 620 yards. He has three 100-yard games, but hasn't yet scored a touchdown. Last season, Davis had 44 catches for 613 yards with one TD.
SMU has played UConn only once before, a home game the Mustangs won 31-30 on Sept. 16, 1989. The significance of that victory was it was SMU's first after coming back from being the only team given the so-called death penalty by the NCAA.
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