When: Thursday, 7:30 p.m.
Site: Rentschler Field, Storrs, Conn.
Series: Towson leads 1-0
What's at stake: Towson opens the season with an opponent from the Football Bowl Subdivision level for the fourth time in the past five years and is seeking its first victory over an FBS opponent in seven attempts. This will be coach Rob Ambrose's first appearance in Storrs since he spent seven seasons as a Huskies assistant coach prior to returning to his alma mater for the 2009 season. The Tigers have been champing at the bit to play since getting overlooked by the NCAA selection committee and watching the playoffs unfold while sitting at home. The snub led to the coining of a team-wide mantra ("Leave no doubt"), but getting a win against Connecticut does not figure to be easy. Although the Huskies went 5-7 last year and did not play in a bowl for the second time in the past six campaigns, the offense does return seven starters, including junior quarterback Chandler Whitmer (2,659 yards, nine touchdowns, 16 interceptions).
Key matchup: The chess game between the Towson wide receivers and Connecticut cornerbacks could develop into an interesting battle. Junior Spencer Wilkins returns as the Tigers' top target after ranking second on the team with 32 catches for 352 yards and one touchdown, and senior Leon Kinnard — a Loyola grad and former UConn receiver — caught 36 passes for 402 yards and one touchdown two years ago. The Huskies have had to replace their two defensive backs and their top pass rusher from a year ago.
Player to watch: The quarterback position is often scrutinized and will continue with fifth-year senior Peter Athens outplaying sophomore Connor Frazier for the right to start for Towson. Athens was the starting quarterback for the first half of the 2009 season, but appeared in just one game last season as a reserve. If Athens can play well, he will likely further cement his status as the starter. If not, however, the door will be opened for Frazier to perhaps leapfrog Athens on the depth chart.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun