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East Carolina football vs. UConn: Time, TV schedule, game preview, score

Pirates battle Huskies

Head coach Scottie Montgomery of the East Carolina Pirates looks on in the second half against the Virginia Tech Hokies at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium on September 16, 2017 in Greenville, North Carolina. (Photo by Michael Shroyer/Getty Images)

EAST HARTFORD, Conn. – After struggling offensively nearly all season, East Carolina has exploded its last two games, scoring at least 43 points against two of the best teams in the American Athletic Conference. Coming off a bye week, the Pirates have a chance to make it a trifecta and win their first conference game Saturday when they travel to Connecticut, which is also winless in league play.

TV: Noon ET, ESPN3. LINE: East Carolina -13.5.

One of the biggest differences in the last two games for the Pirates has been sophomore quarterback Holton Ahlers, who will face a team that ranks 113th in the nation in total defense. Better know for being a threat with his legs, Ahlers has completed an astounding 64 passes for 1,033 yards and 10 touchdowns with only one interception in losses to Cincinnati and SMU. In the team’s previous eight games, Ahlers threw for 1,672 yards and seven touchdowns. The Huskies were outscored 104-13 in their last two games, allowing both opponents to average over 500 yards of total offense.

ABOUT EAST CAROLINA (3-7, 0-6 AAC)

Pirates receivers have been reaping the benefits of Ahlers’ sudden burst as redshirt freshman Tyler Snead caught an eye-popping 19 catches for 240 yards and three touchdowns against Southern Methodist while freshman C.J. Johnson had 12 catches for 283 yards and a score versus Cincinnati. “I think that’s the real key to everything with the past several weeks, the offensive line and their continued progression,” Coach Mike Houston said of the recent surge. The offensive line play has certainly improved, as Ahlers was sacked just twice in the last two games.

ABOUT CONNECTICUT (2-8, 0-6)

The quarterback carousel might keep spinning for the Huskies as redshirt freshmen Steven Krajewski is practicing after missing seven weeks with a clavicle injury. Coach Randy Edsall has not indicated who will start but if it’s not Krajewski, all indications point to Edsall favoring freshman Jack Zergiotis over graduate-student Mike Beaudry, per The Hartford Courant. While the passing game has been in flux, the Huskies have continued to lean on the running game behind Kevin Mensah, who has eclipsed 100 yards on at least 19 carries in each of the last three contests.

EXTRA POINTS

1. East Carolina has put points on the board in its last 11 red-zone trips spanning the last three games.

2. UConn DT Kevon Jones has been suspended for the rest of the season for not meeting "the standards and ... responsibilities to the program."

3. Mensah is eighth in the nation with 200 carries on the season.

PREDICTION: East Carolina 38, UConn 17