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Cliff's Notes: UC at UConn

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For those who haven't been paying close enough attention this week, I don't condone it, but here is a helpful cheat sheet so you can be an informed fan heading into Saturday's game against UConn.

Where: Rentschler Field, Hartford, Conn. (grass, outdoors)

When: Saturday, 3:30 p.m., ABC/700WLW

Forecast: Temperatures in the 30s, possible snow/rain

2012 records: Bearcats 8-3 overall, 4-2 Big East, Huskies 5-6, 2-4

Ranking: Cincinnati receiving votes in the Coaches poll.

Tickets: Tickets are still available.

What to wear: Layers. Possible parka.

Past results: The Bearcats lead the series 6-2, UC has won two of the last three but lost the last game at The Rent in 2010 by a 38-17 final.

Need to know: Who knew this would be for a share of the Big East title two weeks ago, but here the Bearcats are thanks to Louisville's win at Rutgers on Thursday. A win and that would mean the fourth time in the last five years UC earned at least a share of the championship. This won't be as easy as anticipated a few weeks ago, either. The past two weeks UConn pulled off wins against Pitt and Louisville. Their defense ranks among the best in the country suddenly they've found some semblance of offense with Chandler Whitmer at quarterback. After scoring an average of 8.3 points through their first four conference games, the Huskies reeled off back-to-back games cracking 20 points. 

Need to know stat: The UConn defense ranks in the top 25 in six different defensive categories:

Rushing defense: 9th
Pass efficiency defense: 25th
Total defense: 10th
Scoring defense: 19th
Sacks: 13th
Tackles for loss: 14th

Trevardo.jpgWho to know: Huskies DE Trevardo Williams. The senior became the UConn career sack leader on Nov. 3, he's now collected 30.5 career sacks. He took down the Cardinals QBs three times in the triple overtime win last week. He currently ranks fifth in the country in total sacks per game this year (1.05).

If UC can't keep Williams from terrorizing Brendon Kay off the edge, he's capable of scuttling the entire offensive gamplan.  

Defining matchup: UC DL vs. UConn OL. The Huskies front five the team name. They average 304 pounds with the only player under 300 being 295-pound junior tackle Kevin Friend. Meanwhile, they'll own 15-30 pound differences on the Bearcats line. Not allowing the Huskies to plow a path for RB Lyle McCombs could decide the day. Though Whitmer's been better at QB, he's still a liability and forcing the offense to run through the pass game would swing a significant advantage toward the Bearcats.

Delving deeper: Jumping out to a quick start could be the biggest difference in the game. In wins against Pitt and Louisville the last two weeks the Huskies jumped out to a combined 34-0 halftime advantage.  

By the numbers: The Huskies haven't scored a touchdown in the third quarter since Sept. 29 against Buffalo and yet to accomplish the feat in conference play.

Injury update: QB Chandler Whitmer was cleared to play by UConn, but was called a gametime decision by Paul Pasqualoni.

Quotent Quotables: Butch Jones on the importance of grabbing a share of the Big East title:

"It's what our program is. We expect to contend for conference championships."

Looking Ahead: The Bearcats will await their bowl placement, but all signs point to them ending up in Charlotte for the Belk Bowl or possibly the Russell Athletic Bowl in Orlando. 

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