No. 19 Liberty (8-1) at UConn (5-5), Saturday, noon EST (CBSSN)
Line: Liberty by 14 ½, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.
Series record: UConn leads 1-0.
WHAT’S AT STAKE?
UConn needs to win one of its final two games under first-year coach Jim Mora to qualify for its first bowl since 2015. The Huskies have already surpassed their win total (four) from the previous three seasons combined. Meanwhile, fellow FBS independent Liberty will be in position for an invitation to a New Year’s Six bowl should it win its final three games. The Flames may also crack the College Football Playoff rankings for the first time with another victory.
Despite losing Nathan Carter to a season-ending shoulder injury in September, UConn’s running game has remained potent. The Huskies are averaging 187.6 yards per game (38th in FBS) on the ground, thanks in part to Devontae Houston and Victor Rosa. Their effectiveness has taken some pressure off freshman quarterback Zion Turner. Liberty, however, is coming off a strong showing against Arkansas, in which it held the SEC’s second-best rushing attack to 3.4 yards per carry.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Liberty: DE Durrell Johnson has 3.5 sacks over his last four games and leads the Flames with seven this season. He had two against Arkansas, in addition to a career-high nine tackles. He ranks third nationally with 1.7 tackles for loss per game.
UConn: TE Justin Joly has boosted UConn’s banged-up receiving core, with two touchdowns in his last three games, including a 62-yard score against Boston College.
FACTS & FIGURES
UConn won the only previous meeting, 59-0, on Sept. 10, 2005, in East Hartford. Since then, the Huskies are 76-128 while Liberty is 128-76 … Liberty is 4-1 all-time when playing as a Top 25 team … Liberty leads the nation in sacks per game (3.78) and tackles for loss per game (9.3) and ranks eighth with 20 takeaways. UConn sits 16th with 18 takeaways … UConn hasn’t won three straight games since 2015.
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