Sophomore Lawrence Wilson returns interception for TD with 2:45 remaining
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Sept. 26, 2008) - Sophomore linebacker Lawrence Wilson (Tuscaloosa, Ala.) picked off a pass with 2:45 remaining and returned it 45 yards for the go-ahead touchdown as the University of Connecticut rallied from a 21-10 third quarter deficit to post a 26-21 BIG EAST road win at Louisville on Friday night.
The win improves UConn to a perfect 5-0 overall and 1-0 in BIG EAST Conference action. The 5-0 start marks the second consecutive season that the Huskies have opened with wins in each of their first five games. Louisville slips to 2-2 and 0-1 in the league following the loss.
The 11-point comeback marked the largest third-quarter deficit UConn has overcome since rallying from 31-17 down to post a 46-45 overtime win over Pittsburgh on Nov. 11, 2006.
The Huskies won despite losing a number of key players with injuries, including senior quarterback Tyler Lorenzen (Fremont, Iowa), who left the game in the second quarter with a foot injury.
Sophomore Zach Frazer (Mechanicsburg, Pa.) replaced Lorenzen with the Huskies leading 10-7 in the second quarter and finished the game 8-of-15 for 90 yards and a touchdown.
UConn junior running back Donald Brown (Atlantic Highland, N.J.), who entered the game as the countrys leading rusher, had another outstanding performance with 33 carries for 190 yards and a TD. Brown posted 124 of his yards in the opening half, marking the fifth straight game he has eclipsed the 100-yard mark by halftime.
The Huskies had a chance to take the lead on their possession just prior to Wilson's game-changing defensive play. Frazer guided Connecticut on a 15-play, 68-yard drive that took 6:28 off the clock, but the march stalled at the Cardinal 12-yard line and UConn had to settle for a 29-yard field goal by Tony Ciaravino (Boca Raton, Fla.), which trimmed the Louisville advantage to 21-20.
UConn scored the first 10 points of the game, but Louisville came back and scored two touchdowns in the final 6:03 of the first half to take a 14-10 halftime lead.
Louisville also scored on its first possession of the second half to take a 21-10 lead on five-yard TD run by Bilal Powell that concluded a 7-play, 53 yard drive.
Frazer led UConn on his first collegiate scoring drive as the Huskies posted a 9-play, 72-yard drive that was capped off on a 13-yard TD reception by senior Darius Butler (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) to make it 21-17 Louisville. It was the first collegiate TD reception for Butler, a mainstay on the Husky defense who became a two-way player this season.
The Cardinals scored their first points of the game on a 7-play, 80 yard drive that saw Louisville register 5-of-7 plays for 10 yards gains or more. Vic Anderson finished the drive with a two-yard rushing TD.
Louisville followed with another second quarter drive of 11 plays and 88 yards that saw the Cardinals began possession at their own 12 yard line. Louisville converted on two third downs early on to key the drive. Cantwell connected on an 18-yard TD pass to Anderson on the final play from scrimmage in the second half to give the Cards the 14-10 halftime lead.
The Huskies took a 10-0 lead with 9:23 left in the second quarter on a 1-yard run by Brown that capped an 8-play, 71 yard drive. Brown led the way with five carries for 58 yards. The rushing TD marked Brown's 11th this season, which is already tied for the seventh-highest single season total in UConn history.
UConn scored the only points of the first quarter on a 47-yard field goal by senior kicker Ciaravino just 5:05 into the game. The 47-yard boot was a season high and three yards off Ciaravino's career-best effort.
The field goal completed a 7-play, 32-yard drive that began when UConn recovered a fumble following a 31-yard Louisville pass completion that was stripped by Husky sophomore Jasper Howard (Miami, Fla.) and recovered by Wilson.
Louisville lost despite rolling up 508 yards of total offense. The backfield tandem of Powell (112 yards) and Anderson (100 yards) led the way for the Cardinals' offense as they combined for a total of 212 yards on the ground.
UConn returns to action next Saturday at 7:00 p.m. for its final non-conference game of the regular season at North Carolina. The game will be televised by either ESPN2 or ESPNU.
- The 11-point comeback marked the largest third-quarter deficit UConn has overcome since rallying from 31-17 down to post a 46-45 overtime win over Pittsburgh on Nov. 11, 2006.
- UConn improves to 2-0 this season in games that it trails at halftime.
- The UConn defense held Louisville scoreless in the first quarter, marking the third time in five games that the Huskies have shutout their opponent in the opening 15 minutes.
- UConn kicker Tony Ciaravinos 47-yard field goal in the first quarter marked a season-long and his best since booting a 50-yarder against Temple on Sept. 15, 2007.
- UConn tailback Donald Browns 1-yard TD rush in the second quarter marked his 11th of the season already tied for the seventh-best single season total in UConn history.
- UConn quarterback Zack Frazer saw the first action of his UConn career in the second quarter.
- Donald Browns 124 rushing yards in the first half marked the fifth time in as many games this season that he has eclipsed the 100-yard rushing mark by halftime.
- UConn quarterback Zach Frazer completed his first collegiate pass on a 9-yard reception by Jordan Todman in the third quarter. It was also Todmans first career reception.
- Zach Frazer tossed his first career TD pass on a 13-yard completion to Darius Butler in the third quarter. The play also marked Butlers first receiving TD of his career.
- Donald Brown finished with 190 rushing yards increasing his career total to 2,623, which ranks third on the UConn career rushing list one yard shy of Wilbur Gilliard (2,624) for second-best all-time.
- Browns season total of 906 yards already ranks as the 11th best in school history.
- Donald Browns 1-yard TD run increased his career total to 26 which moves him into a tie for third best among UConns career leaders with Taber Small (1999-01).
- Donald Browns 33 carries tonight brings his career total to 477, which ranks as the sixth-most in UConn career annals seven behind Wilbur Gilliard (1992-95) for fifth place.
- Louisvilles Bilal Powells 52-yard run in the fourth quarter marked the longest rushing play allowed by the UConn defense this season.
- Freshman receiver Mike Smiths 14-yard reception in the fourth quarter tied his longest of the season.
- Senior tight end Martin Bedards 20-yard reception in the fourth quarter marked his longest this season.
- Martin Bedards two receptions marked the most of his career.
- UConn extends its winning streak on the month of September to nine straight games.
- UConn improves to 3-2 all-time in BIG EAST Conference openers.
- Following UConns win tonight, the Huskies now trail Louisville 3-2 in the all-time series.
- UConn improves to 2-3 all-time in BIG EAST road openers.
- UConn improves to 12-16 all-time in BIG EAST Conference games and has won six of its last nine overall.
- UConn improves to 3-11 all-time in BIG EAST Conference road games.
- With tonights win, UConn opens the season 5-0 for the second straight year.
- UConn improves to 20-8 in games played during the month of September dating back to 2002.