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    UConn Football
    Monday, January 30, 2023

    Struggling Huskies face Temple on Friday night at Rentschler Field

    From UConn's point of view, the sky is not falling.

    The Huskies have tried to remain upbeat and positive. That's not easy when you've lost five of your last six games.

    They've only come unraveled on the field, not off.

    "You're obviously upset because the realities are what they are," fifth-year senior Andreas Knappe said. "But I don't think anyone is falling apart. Everyone is coming closer together and everyone is sticking together as a brotherhood and staying strong."

    Their expectations haven't changed despite their recent woes. Some of their goals are still within reach entering Friday's American Athletic Conference game against Temple at Rentschler Field (7 p.m., ESPN2).

    "We just have to keep our heads up," said junior Vontae Diggs. "All sides of the ball, in all three phases. We try not to get too down. We still have a lot of football left with three games and can still become bowl eligible if we play to our potential.

    "We're trying to keep each other hyped up and keep each other going."

    The Huskies (3-6, 1-5) have entered must-win territory. They need to sweep their remaining three games against Temple, at Boston College (Nov. 19) and at home against Tulane (Nov. 26) to reach the .500 mark and qualifying status for a bowl bid.

    Given the way they've played in recent weeks, it seems like a lot to ask. Friday night's game will tell if they're still emotionally and physically invested in their cause.

    "The team is trying hard and the team is playing hard," coach Bob Diaco said.

    But the hard work is not paying off with positive results. The Huskies need something good to happen tonight.

    "Of course it is frustrating," junior Luke Carrezola said. "It is not easy. As a team, we are just trying to bounce back this week. Temple is a great team coming in and we are excited for the match-up.

    "... We have to take it one week at a time. If we can't get past this week, then we can't go to a bowl game."

    UConn is running into a tough opponent in a rising Temple, winners of five of six, including three straight. The Owls (6-3, 4-1) have plenty to play for, sharing the first place lead in the East Division with South Florida.

    The Owls have won three straight in the series, including 27-3 last season in the regular season final in Philadelphia.

    The game will mark the debut of UConn's newly-promoted offensive coordinator David Corley, who replaced a demoted Frank Verducci. He'll lead an offense coming off its worst output of the season.

    Knappe believes UConn's offensive issues are correctable.

    "I don't think it's big picture stuff," Knappe said. "It's all the small things and it's details. It's a little thing here and there."

    It will likely take more than a new offensive coordinator for the Huskies to reverse directions. Diaco is realistic about Corley's potential impact.

    "David is really, really talented and he's going to be a real icon in our profession but he's not a magician," Diaco said.

    The Owls are surging offensively, averaging 35.3 points in the last three games. They're also one of the top defensive teams in the conference, ranking second in points allowed at 22.7 points per game.

    "They're a darn good football team," Diaco said.

    g.keefe@theday.com

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