Connecticut has a four-man defensive front that began the season with 93 offensive starts. The Huskies are currently eighth nationally against the run, and much of that can be attributed to 6-4, 295-pound tackle Kendall Reyes, one of the Big East's best. West Virginia's three-man front of Julian Miller, Jorge Wright and Bruce Irvin has been solid, but not spectacular. The team is 48th nationally against the run.
UConn has exactly what one looks for in a linebacker corps: the three starters lead the team in tackles. Jory Johnson, a 6-1 junior, and Yawin Smallwood, a 6-2 freshman, have 44 and 42 tackles, respectively. For WVU, now strong-side linebacker Najee Goode is tied with corner Pat Miller with 36. Jewone Snow is getting his feet wet at middle. Give UConn a slight advantage because of that.
If you're seeking the Achilles heel of Connecticut's defense, well, here 'tis. Perhaps it's appropriate one cornerback is named Gary Willburn. Because if you have a good QB, you will burn this unit. WVU, led by Pat Miller, Terence Garvin, Darwin Cook and Keith Tandy, is 19th nationally in pass efficiency defense, while UConn is 41st. In pass defense, WVU is 17th, while UConn is 83rd.
UConn's Dave Teggart entered the season as this game's more highly acclaimed kicker, but he's 6-of-10, while WVU's Tyler Bitancurt is 9-of-10. Connecticut has been better in punting, kickoff defense and punt defense. But West Virginia has a lethal weapon in return man Tavon Austin, who outshines any Husky in punt and kickoff return duties.