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The Opener: Holy Cross (0-0) At UConn (0-0)

Site: Rentschler Field

Time: 7:30 p.m.

Line: Off the board

Series: Began in 1916. Holy Cross leads 19-8-1.

Last meeting: UConn, 22-2, Oct. 19, 1985, Memorial Stadium, Storrs.

Weather: 71 degrees. Partly cloudy. 12 mph wind.

TV: SNY (Eamon McAnaney, Andy Gresh, Taylor Rooks)

Radio: WTIC-AM 1080 AM (Joe D'Ambrosio, Wayne Norman, Ken Sweitzer)

Injuries: Holy Cross — None reported. UConn — LB E.J. Levenberry (knee), out; LB Vontae Diggs (knee), out; DB Bebe Olaniyan (ankle), questionable.

When the Crusaders pass: Peter Pujals is entering his fifth year as the starting quarterback. He was injured early last season and awarded a medical redshirt. He was outstanding through three and a half games last season (111 of 175, 1,110 yards, 10 touchdowns, five interceptions). Richie DeNicola is the team's top returning receiver, with 49 receptions, 513 yards and four touchdowns last season.

When the Crusaders run: Senior Gabe Guild, who has averaged 5 yards per carry in his career, also returns after missing most of last season with an injury. He's the main ball carrier behind an experienced offensive line, led by All-Patriot League center James Murray. The Crusaders averaged 103.8 rushing yards last season.

When the Huskies pass: David Pindell was one of the top junior college quarterbacks in the nation last season at Lackawanna (Pa.) College and is making his UConn debut. After a season in which Noel Thomas was so dominant (a program record 100 receptions), the Huskies will look for a more-balanced approach. Junior Hergy Mayala leads an inexperienced group, having caught 23 passes for 296 yards last season.

When the Huskies run: Arkeel Newsome is said to have had had a terrific offseason and training camp. He returns as a senior having led the Huskies in rushing each of the past two seasons. He'll be supported by freshman Nate Hopkins and junior Jason Thompson, and will work behind an offensive line that has much to prove.

Holy Cross impact player on offense: Pujals has played in 37 career games and is near the top of every Holy Cross career passing list. What's more valuable than an experienced quarterback for a season opener on the road?

Holy Cross impact player on defense: Senior linebacker Nick McBeath led the Patriot League with 106 tackles last season, eight for a loss of yardage. He has 208 tackles in his career.

UConn impact player on offense: Pindell has the appropriate tools — quick release, quick feet, strong arm — and was named the starter over Bryant Shirreffs relatively early in camp. His ability to show a grasp of the offense and execute will determine how many pages of Rhett Lashlee's playbook the Huskies can explore.

UConn impact player on defense: Senior linebacker Junior Joseph is one of the defense's best overall players, and his value is of particular importance until Vontae Diggs, another linebacker, returns from a knee injury.

Holy Cross special teams: Senior A.J. Wells has punted and been involved in kickoff duties in his career, but he's making his place-kicking debut. Will McGrail averaged 41.5 yards per punt last season. Darrius Lacy is the top returner on punts and kickoffs. He was in a secondary role on both units in past seasons.

UConn special teams: A major question mark for UConn, which must compensate for the loss of solid players in kicker Bobby Puyol and punter Justin Wain. Freshman Jordan Swann is the top return man for punts and kickoffs, supported by Quayvon Skanes. Randy Edsall has not decided on a punter — Luke Magliozzi or Brett Graham — and might use both. Michael Tarbutt will kick field goals.

Turnovers: UConn committed 19 turnovers last season (11 interceptions, eight fumbles) and forced 11 (seven interceptions, four fumbles) for a margin of minus-0.67, which ranked 114th of 128 FBS teams. Holy Cross forced 16 turnovers (eight fumbles, eight interceptions) and lost 23 (10 fumbles, 13 interceptions).

About the Holy Cross coach: Tom Gilmore, in his 14th season, is a two-time Patriot League coach of the year (2006, 2009). He has a career record of 70-76. Gilmore, originally from Philadelphia, was a three-time All-Ivy League defensive lineman at Penn, where he was the Ivy player of the year in 1985. Befpre taking the Holy Cross job, he worked as an assistant at Lehigh, Dartmouth, Penn and Columbia.

Connections: Holy Cross has no players listed on its roster from Connecticut. UConn has eight from Massachusetts: DL James Atkins (Saugus), OL Cam DeGeorge (Lynnfield), OL Nino Leone (Middleton), QB Jordan McAfee (Everett), DB Brice McAllister (East Longmeadow), WR Aaron McLean (Southborough), RB Kevin Mensah (Worcester), LB Rhakim Williams (Worcester).

Returning to The Rent: As of Tuesday, 21,000 tickets for the game and 16,000 season tickets had been distributed. UConn is 11-4 in season openers since joining what is now known as the FBS level in 2002 (11-3 in openers at Rentschler Field). The Huskies are 54-62-2 in season openers since starting the program in 1896. UConn is 60-35 all-time at Rentschler and has averaged 34,128 fans per game. The pre-game Husky Walk will take place between Gates C and D. Fans are encouraged to gather at 5 p.m. and the team is scheduled to arrive at 5:30.

Mascot Matchup: Jonathan the Husky in a blowout victory. Holy Cross has no mascot and is considering a nickname change.

The Word

• "There is a lot of excitement for this game. This is our season opener, we are playing our first FBS opponent since 2002 and we are renewing an old New England rivalry. We are looking forward to kicking off the 2017 season down in East Hartford." – Holy Cross coach Tom Gilmore

• "There are going to be a lot of people in the stands who were here to support us when we were here before, and I appreciate that very, very much. But for me, it's just going out and making sure I do the best job I can to help these kids win and achieve their goals." – UConn coach Randy Edsall

Holy Cross Two-Deep

Offense

LT: Jackson Dennis (Jr., 6-6, 296)

Daniel Kurkowski (So., 6-4, 307)

LG: Nick Piker (Sr., 6-5, 3-5)

Daniel Bernard (Sr., 6-3, 318)

C: James Murray (Sr., 6-5, 304)

Max Daurelle (So., 6-3, 285)

RG: Rory Costello (Jr., 6-4, 299)

Justin Knotts (So., 6-4, 280)

RT: Charles Steele (Sr., 6-8, 316)

Joe Mattingly (So., 6-5, 300)

QB: Peter Pujals (Sr., 6-2, 215)

Geoff Wade (Jr., 6-2, 209)

RB: Gabe Guild (Sr., 5-11, 210)

Diquan Walker (Sr., 5-10, 192)

TE: Jayke Simsheuser (Sr., 6-4, 260)

Cole Pirwitz (So., 6-3, 246)

WR: Darrius Lacy (Sr., 5-11, 187)

Jordan Montgomery (Jr., 6-1, 192)

WR: Blaise Bell (Sr., 6-3, 213)

Martin Dorsey (Jr., 6-3, 201)

WR: Richie DeNicola (Jr., 6-1, 180)

Jon Jon Roberts (So., 5-8, 175)

Defense

DE: Phil Zobrest (Sr., 6-5, 273)

Dillon Hart (So., 6-6, 249)

DT: Jack Kutschke (Sr., 6-5, 280)

Jordan Kupec (Sr., 6-4, 292)

DT: Neil Vorster (Jr., 6-3, 294)

Jake McArdell (Jr., 6-2, 289)

DE: Teddy Capsis (Jr., 6-3, 264)

Mark Ebo (So., 6-3, 252)

LB: Nick McBeath (Sr., 6-1, 219)

Jack Haddon (Jr., 6-0, 224)

LB: Ryan Brady (Jr., 6-1, 223)

Kevin Bucceroni (Jr., 6-3, 240)

LB: Andre Chevalier (Jr., 5-11, 226)

Corey Stefanik (Jr., 6-3, 205)

CB: Alim Muhammad (Sr., 5-10, 175)

Akeem Walcott (Jr., 5-10, 203)

SS: Chase Stratton (Sr., 5-11, 188)

Alex Johnson (So., 6-0, 196)

FS: Ahmad Tyler (Sr., 6-3, 203)

Chris Riley (So., 6-3, 194)

CB: Mike McCaffrey (Sr., 5-9, 188)

Damion Baker (Jr., 5-11, 197)

Special Teams

PK: A.J. Wells (Sr., 6-1, 200)

Cody Wilkinson (So., 6-2, 210)

P: Will McGrail (Sr., 6-5, 221)

A.J. Wells (Sr., 6-1, 200)

KO: Cody Wilkinson (So., 6-2, 210)

A.J. Wells (Sr., 6-1, 200)

KR: Darrius Lacy (Sr., 5-11, 187)

Domenic Cozier (So., 5-9, 175)

PR: Darrius Lacy (Sr., 5-11, 187)

Alim Muhammad (Sr., 5-10, 175)

LS: Stevie Rainero (Jr., 6-0, 229)

Jack Dixon (Jr., 6-3, 201)

H: Will McGrail (Jr., 6-5, 221)

Geoff Wade (Jr., 6-2, 209)

UConn Two-Deep

Offense

LT: Matt Peart (So., 6-7, 300)

Brendan Vechery (Sr., 6-6, 310)

LG: Trey Rutherford (Sr., 6-5, 312)

Nino Leone (Fr., 6-6, 316)

C: Ryan Crozier (Jr., 6-4, 290)

Dan Oak, Jr., 6-3, 285

RG: Cam DeGeorge (Fr., 6-6, 286)

Steve Hashemi (Sr., 6-6, 293)

RT: Tommy Hopkins (Sr., 6-6, 300)

Ryan Van Demark (Fr., 6-7, 265)

TE: Alec Bloom (Sr., 6-6, 253)

Tommy Myers (Sr., 6-5, 245)

RB: Arkeel Newsome (Sr., 5-7, 180)

Nate Hopkins (Fr., 6-1, 212)

Jason Thompson (Jr., 5-7, 182)

WR: Tyraiq Beals (Jr., 6-0, 185)

Keyion Dixon (Fr., 6-3, 185)

WR: Quayvon Skanes (Fr., 5-11, 175)

Tyler Davis (So., 6-4, 235)

WR: Hergy Mayala (Jr., 6-2, 203)

Mason Donaldson (Fr., 6-2, 205)

QB: David Pindell (Jr., 6-0, 192)

Bryant Shirreffs (Sr., 6-2, 210)

Defense

DL: Cole Ormsby (Sr., 6-3, 264)

James Atkins (Jr., 6-5, 266)

DL: Foley Fatukasi (Sr., 6-4, 303)

Kevin Murphy (So., 6-1, 280)

DL: Luke Carrezola (Sr., 6-3, 260)

Sheridan Lawley (Jr., 6-4, 275)

LB: Chris Britton (Jr., 6-1, 225)

Darrian Beavers (Fr., 6-3, 216)

LB: Junior Joseph (Sr., 6-1, 232)

Santana Sterling (Jr., 6-0, 223)

LB: Cam Stapleton (Sr., 6-4, 230)

Eddie Hahn (Fr., 6-3, 205)

DB: Anthony Watkins (Jr., 5-10, 197)

Ian Swenson (Fr., 6-1, 197)

DB: Jamar Summers (Sr., 6-0, 190)

Tahj Herring-Wilson (Fr., 6-1, 190)

DB: Tyler Coyle (Fr., 6-1, 202)

Omar Fortt (Fr., 6-1, 190)

DB: Brice McAllister (Sr., 5-11, 189)

Marshe Terry (So., 6-4, 212)

DB: Tre Bell (Sr., 5-11, 175)

Jordan Swann (Fr., 5-10, 180)

Special Teams

K: Michael Tarbutt (So., 6-0, 187)

Will Rishell (Sr., 5-11, 184)

P: Luke Magliozzi (Fr., 6-3, 203)

Brett Graham, RFr., 6-3, 197

LS: Nick Zecchino (So., 6-1, 190)

Jeffrey Sidebotham, (Fr., 6-2, 217)

PR: Jordan Swann (Fr., 5-10, 180)

Quayvon Skanes (Fr., 5-11, 175)

KR: Jordan Swann (Fr., 5-10, 180)

Quayvon Skanes (Fr., 5-11, 175)

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