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    Thursday, July 25, 2024

    UConn vs. UMass football capsule

    UConn head coach Jim Mora talks on his headset as he walks the sideline during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Tennessee, Saturday, Nov. 4, 2023, in Knoxville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)

    Location: McGuirk Alumni Stadium, Amherst, Mass.

    Kickoff: noon (ESPN+)

    Records: UConn 2-9, UMass 3-8

    Last game: UConn beat Sacred Heart, 31-3, Saturday; UMass lost to Liberty, 49-25, Saturday

    Series: UConn trails 38-36-2, winning the last meeting 27-10 in East Hartford last season.

    Players to watch: UConn, r-jr. QB Ta’Quan Roberson (181 for 310, 1,901 yards, 12 TDs, 6 ints), so. RB Victor Rosa (97 carries, 479 yards, 2 TDs), so. RB Cam Edwards (104 carries, 516 yards, 3 TDs), r-sr. OL Christian Haynes, grad WR Brett Buckman (44 catches, 453 yards, 2 TD), r-jr. WR Cam Ross (41 catches, 500 yards, 1 TD), so. TE Justin Joly (50 catches, 542 yards, 2 TD), r-jr. DT Jelani Stafford (37 tackles, eight for loss, 1 fumble recovery, six rushing TDs), r-so. DE Pryce Yates (38 tackles, 12 for loss, 4.5 sacks), sr. LB Jackson Mitchell (106 tackles, seven for loss, 1 int.. 1 fumble recovery for a TD), grad LB Noah Plack (48 tackles, 5.5 for loss), jr. DB Durante Jones (67 tackles, 1 fumble recovery, 1 sack), r-jr. P George Caratan (44.5 yards per kick)

    UMass, r-jr. QB Taisun Phommachanh (121 for 197, 1,277 yards, 5 TDs, 5 ints), r-jr. Kay’Ron Lynch-Adams (218 carries, 1,106 yards, 10 TDs, 18 catches, 90 yards), r-so. RB Greg Desrosiers, Jr. (34 carries, 291 yards, 4 TDs, 13 catches, 173 yards, 2 TDs), jr. WR Anthony Simpson (51 catches, 685 yards, 11 carries, 93 yards), r-jr. WR George Johnson (32 catches, 391 yards, 3 TDs), r-sr. WR Mark Pope (30 catches, 391 yards, 1 TD), jr. DB Te’Rai Powell (51 tackles), jr. LB Nahji Logan (51 tackles, four for loss), jr. RB Gerrell Johnson (47 tackles, 1 sack, 1 fumble recovery), sr. DL Billy Wooden (46 tackles, nine for loss, 5.5 sacks, 3 fumble recoveries), r-sr. DB Dashaun Jerkins (27 tackles, int return for a TD)

    Noteworthy: Entering the regular season finale, UConn is guaranteed to finish with fewer wins last season when the Huskies went 6-7 and earned a bowl bid in coach Jim Mora’s first year in Storrs. He’s seen growth in his program.

    Quotable: “We’re a better football team with a worse record and that’s extremely frustrating…,” Mora said. “It’s been very rewarding. Am I happy? No. But it’s been very rewarding. I’m not happy when we lose because we work too hard not to win.”

    Four down territory

    • Mora talked in great detail during Tuesday’s press conference about the need for more Name, Image and Likeness money to attract players.

    “Things have to change. Change is uncomfortable, but that is what has to happen. You can’t win without players. You can’t get players, in this day and age, as unfortunate as it is and as uncomfortable as it is, without money to pay them. Unfortunately, we, in the past, haven't had money to pay players like our opponents have had money to pay players

    “I’m not confident (it’s changing). I’m hopeful. I see progress. I don t think we’re even scratching the surface of where we need to be. But I see people that are interested in investing. But if we don’t do that, then we will not win. It is just a fact of college football today.”

    Mora added that’s not the reason for every loss, but that’s one reason why UConn has only two wins.

    • UMass quarterback Taisun Phommachanh, who attended Avon Old Farms, is the brother of Tyler, a former Husky QB. He previously played at Georgia Tech and Clemson. He leads an offense that is averaging 23.6 points and 362.4 yards per game.

    • The Minutemen’s wins came against New Mexico State (41-30) on Aug. 26, Army (21-14) on Oct. 28 and Merrimack (31-21) on Nov. 4.

    • UConn recruited UMass junior receiver Anthony Simpson, who’s from Bloomfield, when he entered the transfer portal after attending Arizona for two seasons. Other players with local ties include: Tyler Rudolph (Waterbury, St. Thomas More), Christian LeBrun (Avon Old Farms), Cletus Mathurin (Hartford, Cheshire Academy), Michael Cooper (Wilton).

    Extra points: Game pits two independent football programs. … The Huskies are shooting to win two straight games for the first time this season. .. They’re averaging 319.0 yards of total offense per game compared to allowing 417.2. … UConn posted its largest margin of victory last week against FCS foe Sacred Heart in the last 10 years, according to Mora. “That’s mind-boggling. And not in a positive way.”

    – Gavin Keefe

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