EAST HARTFORD, Conn. - University of Connecticut redshirt sophomore quarterback Bryant Shirreffs (Jeffeson, Ga.) threw for 270 yards (19 of 25) and the Huskies got touchdown runs from sophomore running backs Arkeel Newsome (Ansonia, Conn.) and Ron Johnson (Naples, Fla.) as the Husky football team defeated Army 22-17 on Saturday afternoon. The game was played before a crowd of 28,260 at Pratt & Whitney Stadium at Rentschler Field.
The Huskies improve to 2-0 on the season - their first 2-0 start since the 2008 season, while Army drops to 0-2.
UConn led 12-10 at the half, sandwiching a 10-yard touchdown run from sophomore Arkeel Newsome (Ansonia, Conn.) around two field goals from redshirt sophomore Bobby Puyol (North Palm Beach, Fla.). Puyol's 23-yard with 2:13 to go in the first quarter tied the game at 3-3 while his second, a 25-yader with 42 seconds left in the half, gave UConn the intermission lead.
Newsome had a 10-yard TD run with 5:07 left in the half that gave UConn a 10-9 lead.
Redshirt junior safety Obi Melifonwu (South Grafton, Mass.) sniffed out a misdirection pitch to Army's DeAndre Bell on a fourth down and made an open-field tackle to set up a UConn 62-yard touchdown drive early in the second half.
Johnson completed that drive with a two-yard run to make it 19-10 Huskies with 7:10 left. Shirreffs' 32-yard throw to freshman Tyraiq Beals (East Orange, N.J.) set up the drive.
Puyol hit a valuable 39-yard field goal with 5:33 left in the game that made it 22-10 Huskies.
Army quarterback Ahmad Bradshaw rushed for 129 yards, including a 56-yard first-half touchdown that made it 10-3 Black Knights with 8:48 to go in the second quarter. His backup, senior A.J. Schurr, threw a 71-yard touchdown to Joe Walker in the fourth quarter to close the UConn lead to 22-17 with 4:51 left.
Husky senior safety Andrew Adams (Fayetteville, Ga.) intercepted a pass with 2:21 left in the game to seal the win for UConn.
UConn junior wide receiver Noel Thomas (Norwalk, Conn.) caught four balls for 83 yards Twenty-one of the 22 defensive players on UConn's depth chart played in that game. They held the Black Knights to 180 rushing yards on Saturday - as opposed to 325 yards last year in a 35-21 loss at Yankee Stadium.
The Huskies outgained Army 415 yards to 265 and held onto the ball for 39 minutes.
Schurr came into the game after the Huskies made it 22-10. Army had just five yards passing on two attempts before he went long to junior Joe Walker, who out-jumped Melifonwu and raced down the left sideline with just under five minutes left to cut lead to 22-17. Army could not get the ball back after Shurr's pass into coverage ended up with Adams.
Newsome rushed 13 times for 73 yards for UConn, while Johnson added 39 yards on 18 carries, and Shirreffs had 31 yards on the ground.
With the game tied at 3-3 after the teams traded first quarter field goals, Army took the lead back in the second quarter. After a taunting penalty gave the Black Knights first down at their 44, Bradshaw kept the ball, ran through the middle of the Husky defense, then cut right and outran the secondary for his touchdown.
Newsome's touchdown run capped a 75-yard Husky drive. But for the second consecutive week, UConn had an extra point blocked, and trailed 10-9.
On the final drive of the half, Thomas followed up a diving 33-yard catch, with a 26-yarder after a screen play to set up Puyol's 25-yard kick.
Army's Andrew King had three sacks and 4 1/2 tackles for loss.
UConn had not won back-to-back games since the end of the 2013 season in which it won three straight.
The Huskies return to action next Saturday when they travel to Missouri for a noon game. That game will be televised on ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPNU. It will also be heard on the UConn IMG Sports Radio Network.
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