EAST HARTFORD, Conn. UConn redshirt senior kicker Bobby Puyol (North Palm Beach, Fla.) hit a 37-yard field goal with 11 seconds left to go to lead the Huskies to a 24-21 win over Maine before a crowd of 29,377 at Pratt & Whitney Stadium at Rentschler Field. The game was the season-opener for both teams.
The Huskies scored the final ten points of the game as they trailed 21-14 with about ten minutes left to go in the game.
Junior running back Arkeel Newsome (Ansonia, Conn.) had a two-yard TD rush with 6:36 left to play that capped a six play-54 yard drive to tie the game at 21-21. Maine then had a 12-play drive and moved the ball to the UConn 30, but senior captain Mikal Myers (Newburgh, N.Y.) blocked a Black Bear field goal attempt.
The Huskies started the game-winning drive at their own 30 and junior quarterback Bryant Shirreffs (Jefferson, Ga.) had all five rushes for a combined 12 yards and four pass completions for 38 yards to move the ball to the Maine 20 to set up the Puyol kick.
Shirreffs finished the game with 162 yards of passing (16 of 23) and 95 rushing yards. Junior tailback Ron Johnson (Naples, Fla.) had 65 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Senior wide receiver Noel Thomas, Jr. (Norwalk, Conn.) had nine receptions for 70 yards.
Junior linebacker Vontae Diggs (Downers Grove, Ill.) led UConn with nine tackles, two of them for a loss.
Maine quarterback Dan Collins passed the ball for 269 yards with two TD passes.
The Black Bears took a 7-0 lead with 50 seconds left to go in the first quarter on a 20-yard pass from Collins to Josh Mack. The game was tied at seven at halftime after Johnson scored a TD with 6:55 to go in the half to finish a five-play, 57-yard drive.
Johnson's 21-yard rush for a TD gave UConn its first lead of the game - 14-7 with 3:10 to go in the third quarter.
Collins had a 40-yard TD throw to Jaleel Reed to tie the game at 14-14 with a second left to go in the third quarter and the Black Bears took a 21-14 lead with 9:56 to go on a 74-yard fumble recovery by Najee Goode.
UConn opens play in the American Athletic Conference on Saturday, Sept. 10 when it travels to Navy for a 3:30 p.m. game. The game will be televised on the CBS Sports Network and heard on the UConn IMG Sports Radio Network.
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