EAST HARTFORD, Conn. - University of Connecticut redshirt sophomore Bryant Shirreffs (Jefferson, Ga.) threw for 202 yards and two touchdowns in his first collegiate start and first game for the Huskies as the UConn football team defeated Villanova by a 20-15 score on Thursday night. The game was the season opener for both team and was played before a Pratt & Whitney Stadium at Rentschler Field crowd of 26,113.
The Huskies opened the scoring with a 14-yard TD reception by redshirt sophomore Tommy Myers (Coventry, Conn.) from Shirreffs that completed a 13 play, 79 yard drive that made it 6-0 Huskies with 6:55 to go in the first quarter.
The Wildcats led 9-6 at the half, but the Shirreffs to Myers duo was back at work on the second play from scrimmage of the second half for a 69-yard completion that put the ball at the Wildcat one-yard line. Two plays later, sophomore running back Ron Johnson (Naples, Fla.) ran the ball in for the score and give UConn the lead for good at 13-9.
The Huskies made it 20-9 on a 27-yard reception by sophomore Arkeel Newsome (Ansonia, Conn.) with 4:53 to go in the game. Villanova quarterback John Robertson scored on a three-yard run with 1:45 to go.
UConn had a key defensive stop early in the fourth quarter as Villanova had moved the ball to the Husky 36, but stopped the Wildcats on fourth and one.
Johnson was UConn's leading rusher with 69 yards while junior Noel Thomas (Norwalk, Conn.) and Newsome each had three receptions.
Redshirt sophomore Junior Joseph (Sinking Springs, Pa.) led the Huskies with nine tackles while sophomore linebacker Luke Carrezola (Langhorne, Pa.) had six tackles with a sack and redshirt sophomore Folorunso Fatukasi (Far Rockaway, N.Y.) had six tackles with two sacks.
Robertson passed for 153 yards and one TD while rushing 66 yards for the Wildcats, who are ranked fourth preseason in the NCAA FCS.