UConn vs. Rutgers: 1st-Place Knights Look to Stay Perfect Against Big East Rival

Mark BatorAnalyst IIOctober 5, 2012

Sep 22, 2012; Fayetteville, AR, USA; ESPNU sideline reporter Allison Williams interviews Rutgers Scarlet Knights quarterback Gary Nova (15) after the game against the Arkansas Razorbacks at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium. Rutgers defeated Arkansas 35-26. Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-US PRESSWIRE
Nelson Chenault-US PRESSWIRE

With the Rutgers Scarlet Knights at 4-0 and just beginning to play well, is a week off a help or a hindrance?

Sure, it affords them an extra seven days to prepare for an opponent and gives those individuals with nagging injuries extra time to heal, but players tend to be creatures of habit during the season.

In a typical week, certain days are for specific tasks, and taking players out of their rhythm when they are looking to keep their momentum going is often considered a negative.

The Big East will find out how a week off affects its conference leaders, as the Scarlet Knights return to the gridiron after a bye week to face the Connecticut Huskies. Rutgers is coming off its 35-26 statement win over the Arkansas Razorbacks.

The Huskies roll into Piscataway with running back Lyle McCombs (454 yards, four touchdowns) leading an offensive attack that averages 23 points per game. While they are yet to play a Big East game this season, the 3-2 Huskies have victories over Massachusetts, Maryland and Buffalo.

Quarterback Chandler Whitmer (83-of-134, 1,051 yards, four touchdowns) has an efficiency rating of 128.7 in 2012, having spread the ball around to 11 different receivers this season.

Top receiver Geremy Davis (19 catches) has but one touchdown catch, and the struggling receiving corps only has two other receivers who have found the end zone.

Only John Delahunt (10 catches, one touchdown) and Ryan Griffin (seven catches, two touchdowns) have touchdown receptions in addition to Davis.

The Scarlet Knights should see the return of running back Savon Huggins from injury this week, as well as welcoming back defensive lineman Michael Larrow.

Larrow has been serving a four-game suspension this season, and this week's game will mark the first time he has set foot on a field in over one calendar year.

While coach Kyle Flood and the Knights will welcome the additions, the team will miss defensive tackle Isaac Holmes, who is gone for the season with a wrist injury. He joins defensive lineman Daryl Stephenson, who sustained a fractured foot during fall camp.

Despite the week off, undefeated Rutgers should be focused on Connecticut this week. The Huskies defeated the Scarlet Knights last season, 40-22, in Connecticut.

“I think it’s a whole new season, a whole new team, so we’re not really worried about last year,” said RU quarterback Gary Nova, as quoted by Tom Luicci of The Star-Ledger on NJ.com. “You’ve got to move on.”

Game Time: 12 p.m. ET, High Point Solutions Stadium, Piscataway, N.J. Television coverage: ESPNU.