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Cincinnati aiming to keep UConn winless
CINCINNATI (AP) -- T.J. Weist is coming home, still looking for that first win.
Connecticut's interim coach spent three seasons as the receivers coach at Cincinnati, helping the Bearcats win a share of two Big East titles. When Butch Jones left for Tennessee after the final regular-season game last year, Weist moved into the role of offensive coordinator for Cincinnati's 48-34 win over Duke in the Belk Bowl.
He's moving around again at UConn, taking over the top job after Paul Pasqualoni was fired four games into the season. Weist will feel a bit nostalgic on Saturday when the Huskies (0-5, 0-1 American Athletic) visit Nippert Stadium.
"It was a great time," Weist said. "Me and my wife and family loved the city. ... It was a really good experience because I was with a quality staff.
"Being in one of the oldest stadiums in the country was a good experience."
The Bearcats (4-2, 1-1) replaced Jones with Tommy Tuberville, who brought a different style of offense. They seem to be getting the hang of it lately, with quarterback Brendon Kay coming off his best game.
Kay went 31 of 37 for 270 yards and two touchdowns during a 38-20 win over Temple a week ago at Nippert. He also ran for a touchdown, overcoming a bruised chest suffered on a hit the previous week.
The sixth-year senior has completed 71.4 percent of his passes with nine touchdowns. He was sidelined during summer camp and the start of the season by a sore passing shoulder.
"You're going to get banged up throughout the year," Kay said. "It's going to happen at my position. You've got to play through it. I've been through a lot in the past and know how to deal with it."
Five things to watch on Saturday in Weist's return:
NEW UCONN QB: Weist's first major change after taking over as interim coach was to make freshman quarterback Tim Boyle his starter. Boyle, who is 6-foot-4 and has a strong arm, replaced junior Chandler Whitmer. He went 15 of 43 for 149 yards during a 13-10 loss to South Florida, which blanked the Huskies in the second half.
"I'm just trying to get all these situations behind me so I can learn from it and not do it in the future," Boyle said.
UP AND RUNNING: The Huskies finally got their running game moving against the Bulls. Junior Lyle McCombs had a career-high 164 yards on 20 carries, including a 52-yard touchdown run. It was his first 100-yard game of the season and the 10th of his career. The Bearcats expect UConn to try to run it a lot on Saturday against a defense that ranks sixth nationally in total defense and fourth in pass defense.
BEARCATS GO FAST: Cincinnati's offense hit a rhythm by going up-tempo in the last quarter of a 26-20 loss at South Florida. The Bearcats stayed with the faster tempo against Temple and had positive results.
"We'll do a lot more of that as the year goes on," Tuberville said. "It just depends on who you're playing. But for last five quarters, the up-tempo really helped our offense in terms of consistency, production, long drives, making big plays. All those things kind of fell into place."
KAY GETS SOME HELP: The quarterback was honored as the AAC's Offensive Player of the Week for his high-percentage game against Temple. He had a couple of important helpers. Receiver Anthony McClung returned from a hamstring injury and has caught 15 passes in the last two games. Running back Tion Green had a career-high 91 yards against the Owls.
"It definitely helps," Kay said. "It's another piece to the puzzle for this offense to continue to do what we did last week and get better."
BUSY WEIST: Weist is not only the interim coach but offensive coordinator and receivers coach quite a heavy load with a winless team. The change to a freshman quarterback presented a whole new set of challenges. But the close loss to South Florida was encouraging in a way.
"These last few weeks have been emotional and, I wouldn't say draining, but our players have really put up signs of being all in," he said.
PHOTO: Cincinnati quarterback Brendon Kay (11) passes under pressure from Temple defensive lineman Shahbaz Ahmed (91) in the first half of an NCAA college football game, Friday, Oct. 11, 2013, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Al Behrman)