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    Tuesday, November 28, 2023

    UConn at Georgia State

    UConn quarterback Joe Fagnano (2) hopes for better results on Saturday when the Huskies play their first road game against Georgia State in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Bryan Woolston)


    Location: Center Parc Stadium, Atlanta

    Kickoff: 7 p.m. (ESPN+)

    Last game: UConn lost to North Carolina State, 24-14, Aug. 31; Georgia State beat Rhode Island, 52-35, Aug. 31

    Series: First meeting

    Players to watch: UConn, sr. QB Joe Fagnano (14 for 26, 113 yards, 1 int.), so. RB Victor Rosa (9 carries, 99 yards, 2 TDs), So. TE Justin Joly (4 catches, 38 yards), Sr. LB Jackson Mitchell (15 tackles), Jr. DB Durante Jones (14 tackles, including 10 solo), Sr. DE Eric Watts (5 tackles) r-so. kicker Joe McFadden

    Georgia State, r-sr. QB Darren Grainger (16 for 20, 193 yards, 2 TDs, 51 rushing yards), sr. RB Marcus Carroll (184 yards, 3 TDs), jr. WR-KR Robert Lewis (7 catches, 97 yards, 1 TD, 207 all-purpose yards), grad. DB Gavin Pringle (Int for TD, 4 tackles), r-jr. DB Cody Jones (1 int.), sr. DB Jeremiah Johnson (8 tackles), r-sr. LB Jontrey Hunter (6 tackles, 2 pass breakups), r-jr. P Kade Loggins (47.2 average per kick)

    Noteworthy: Road opener for the Huskies, who went 1-5 in true road games last season.

    Quotable: Mora on what makes a successful road team: “Mental toughness, resilience, being able to stick to a routine and stay focused. Not allowing the distractions of people coming to the hotel that are family that may live in the area. Being able to block out that when you’re in a new locker room. Being able to focus on the 120 yards of length of the field, the 53 yards of the width of the field. … That’s what it is.“

    Four down territory

    • Cleaning up mistakes: Penalties and poor tackling contributed to UConn’s demise last week. Being more disciplined will be important, especially on the road.

    • Containing the quarterback: Like NC State last week, Georgia State has a mobile athletic quarterback. Grainger rushed for 51 yards vs. Rhode Island. “We had some problems with that last week, especially with the quarterback scramble,” Mora said. ”That’s something we’ve been focusing on.”

    • Keeping up the tempo: The Panthers operate at a hyper speed, making it challenging for a defense to be ready on the snap. They run a balanced attack, rushing for 231 yards and passing for 193 last week. Mora: “They’ll work hard to get you a little bit winded, catch you unready and then pop a run on you.”

    • Establishing the run: UConn’s offense sputtered in Fagnano’s debut, generaging only 273 yards. Seventy-one of the team’s 160 rushing yards came on Rosa’s long touchdown run. Expect the Huskies to try and establish the running game. Mora: “To be able throw it, you’ve got to be able to run it.”

    Extra points: Homecoming game for Durante Jones, Kaleb Anthony, Mumu Bin-Wahad, who are all from Atlanta … Mitchell needs five tackles to move into eighth place on the school’s all-time list. … Georgia State was picked to place sixth in the Sun Belt Conference. … Huskies are back home next weekend, hosting Florida International University in the first of three straight home games. Game time is 3:30 p.m.

    — Gavin Keefe

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