Syracuse could start the season 2-0 for the first time since 2018 on Saturday, but to do so the Orange will need to take down an old Big East rival. For the first time in four years, SU will challenge Uconn.
The Huskies are 1-1 in the 2022 early-going, already matching their win total from a season ago. Uconn was an abysmal 1-11 last year, with the one victory coming against FCS Yale. The Huskies have lost their last 15 games against FBS opponents, with their most recent victory coming back in 2019.
HEAD COACH JIM L. MORA
Mora has been all over the football landscape, both pro and collegiate, over the last 35 years. The LA native started his career as an assistant with the Chargers and worked his way up the coaching totem pole over the next 20 years. Finally, he got a shot to be the Falcons’ Head Coach in 2004. Mora went 26-22 over three seasons in Atlanta before he was relieved of his job. He later served separate stints as Head Coach for the Seahawks as well as for UCLA. After Mora finished with the Bruins in 2017, he took some time off before getting hired by Uconn prior to this season. Two games in, he’s 1-1. Huskies Athletic Director David Benedict spoke of Mora as “a proven winner, a man of integrity, and he possesses the experience and energy to lead our football program back to success”.
QB ZION TURNER
If this article had been written two weeks ago, we wouldn’t be talking about Turner. The true freshman took over under center in Uconn’s season opener after presumed starter Ta’Quan Roberson tore his ACL during the game. As you could guess, Turner has looked like a true freshman. The Fort Lauderdale native hasn’t eclipsed 200 passing yards in a game yet and has thrown the same number of interceptions as touchdowns. But Turner’s first start is out of the way, and more likely than not some jitters are gone too as he enters start number two.
RB NATHAN CARTER
While Turner may be struggling in the passing game, Carter has had it going on the ground. The Rochester native already has a pair of 100-yard rushing games with a touchdown to along with it. Carter is already more than halfway there to match his rushing yards total from last season. Carter is without question the biggest stud in the Husky offense, and Tony White will have his hands full slowing the running back down.
LB JACKSON MITCHELL
Mitchell is the alpha of Uconn’s defense, and he has done a little bit of everything over his first two games. The Ridgefield, CT native leads the Huskies in total tackles with 23 and has a sack along with both a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. To make matters worse, blocking Mitchell got a little more difficult when Syracuse lost Chris Elmore for the season. It’ll be on the others to step up and contain the star linebacker.
DB DURANTE JONES
The last name with Uconn to look out for is one Garrett Shrader and his receivers should get to know well. Jones already has 12 total tackles, good for third on the team. This strong start is coming off of a 59-tackle freshman campaign in which he also intercepted a pass and forced a fumble. Syracuse’s passing game looked great in week 1. Jones will make it tough for the Orange to kick it up a notch in week 2.
That’s what Dino Babers and company have in front of them if a 2-0 start is to become reality. Syracuse is a 23-point favorite, but you never know.