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NEXT! Casey Cochran gets the QB nod for UConn against SMU.

POSTED November 14, 2013
BY Timothy W. Gaffney
Twitter: @TimothyGaffney

STORRS: Okay, now it’s Casey Cochran’s turn.

In the spinning quarterback world that is the University of Connecticut football program, the freshman from Monroe, CT earned the start for the Huskies road game against SMU on Saturday.

The 0-8 Huskies are looking for something, anything to help spark a team that has simply been miserable all season.

Cochran, who won state titles at New London and Masuk, replaces fellow Connecticut native Tim Boyle, who started well in his first game against USF (a 13-10 loss) but has fallen off dramatically since.

Boyle, a star high school quarterback at Xavier, has had a tough go of it against some pretty intense competition in his last three especially.

After USF, UConn took on Cincinnati (a 41-16 loss), UCF (a 62-17 loss) and Louisville (a 31-10 loss). Those three teams have a combined record of 22-4 and are at the top of the AAC standings.

Cochran will face SMU (3-5) to start and if he remains at the helm the rest of the year will take on Temple (1-8), Rutgers (5-3) and Memphis (2-6), a combined 8-17 mark.

First things first though, the Mustangs who know how to chew up yards but also know how to give up yards.

SMU has not scored less than 20 points on only two occasions this year and have scored 55, 34, 59 and 25 points in their last four games (2-2 record).

Mustang quarterback Garrett Gilbert has been a yardage machine for SMU, averaging just over 400-yards of offense per game, tops in the entire country.

The senior from Austin, Texas has lit up teams through the air, he is also the SMU rushing leader with 382 yards on the ground.

"They are about as much of a spread team as we will see all year,” UConn head coach T.J. Weist said on Tuesday. “Our defense played better against Louisville and will need to be even better this week.”

Cochran for his part, has been a good teammate to Boyle and a loyal supporter of the program while in the second or third part of the depth chart.

He has thrown for two touchdowns this year in clean up time against second defensive units but his field savvy got the attention of his coaches when he did see time.

“He is a very smart player,” Weist said. “We like what we have seen from him while he was in and we feel he gives us the best chance to win this Saturday.”

The SMU defense has given up over 400-yards of offense on average this year. The Huskies offense has averaged just 286 while giving up almost 400 per game on the defensive side.

Protecting the quarterback has been a glaring weakness for UConn this year with the play caller hitting the deck almost five times per game.

On the other side of the ball, UConn has sacked the opposing quarterback but a half a dozen times in those eight games.

Cochran will try his hand on Saturday when he makes his first start as a Division 1 signal caller.

It can only get better.   

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