Junior tailback Donald Brown rushes for 161 yards and cracks 1,000 for season
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (Oct. 4, 2008) --- North Carolina blocked three UConn punts in the second quarter the third resulting in a touchdown as the Tar Heels handed the No. 24/23 Husky football team their first loss of the season by a score of 38-12 before a crowd of 59,500 at Kenan Stadium.
UConn, playing its last non-conference game of the regular season, fell to 5-1 on the year while North Carolina improves to 4-1.
The game was delayed for 22 minutes with 9:53 left in the third quarter when two of the banks of lights at Kenan Stadium lost power and went dark.
UNC led 17-3 at the half and UConn scored on its first drive of the second half on a 26-yard field goal by senior Tony Ciaravino (Boca Raton, Fla.).
North Carolina took control of the game on a 39-yard TD run by Shaun Draughn with 6:04 left in the third and a 23-yard interception return by Marvin Austin for a TD with 4:09 left to make it 31-6 UNC.
The Tar Heels added another touchdown on the opening play of the fourth quarter as UNC quarterback Cameron Sexton hit Hakeem Nicks from 14 yards out to increase the lead to 38-6.
UConn junior running back Donald Brown (Atlantic Highlands, N.J.) scored his 12th touchdown of the season (tied for sixth-best in UConn history) with just under 9:30 remaining in the fourth quarter to cap an 11-play, 84-yard scoring drive to make the score 38-12. The Huskies failed on the ensuing 2-point conversion attempt.
Husky sophomore quarterback Zach Frazer (Mechanicsburg, Pa.) made his first collegiate start and was 22-of-44 in the air for 210 yards but also tossed three interceptions. Brown entered the game as the nations leader rusher and had 33 carries for 161 yards and a touchdown.
Brown became the 10th Husky ever to rush over 1,000 yards in a season and now has 1,067 this year which already ranks as the eight-best single season total in UConn history.
Senior D.J. Hernandez (Bristol, Conn.) had seven receptions to lead UConn for 103 yards both career bests.
Sexton was 9-of-16 in the air for 117 yards and a touchdown while Draughn was the leading rusher for the Tar Heels with 19 carries for 109 yards and a score.
Connecticut scored the first points of the game on a 26-yard field goal by Ciaravino. The field goal capped UConns opening drive which went 14 plays for 63 yards and those points turned out to be the Huskies only of the first half.
The drive was highlighted by a 15-yard pass from Frazer to Hernandez on a third and 13 from the Husky 36.
North Carolina came right back and tied the game at 3-3 on a 31-yard field goal by Casey Barth to end a nine-play 61 yard drive.
The Tar Heels then took advantage of an interception by Frazer on the next possession that gave Carolina the ball at the UConn 15-yard line. UNC scored three rushes later on a one-yard run by Ryan Houston to make it 10-3.
Carolina scored the only points of the second quarter when Matt Merletti recovered a blocked punt in the endezone for a touchdown.
After starting the season with six games in six weeks, the Huskies have bye week next weekend and return to action on October 18 against Rutgers. The time and television plans for the game are still to be announced.
- Running back Donald Brown rushed for 161 yards to up to his career total to 2,784 and move past Wilbur Gilliard (2,624) into second place on the UConn career rushing list.
- Donald Browns 161 rushing yards increased his season total to 1,067 yards in six total games.
- Browns 1,967 rushing yards this season make him the 10th player in UConn history to rush for at least 1,000 yards in a season and currently ranks as the eighth-best single-season total in UConn annals.
- Tony Ciaravinos 26-yard field goal in the first quarter marked the third time UConn has scored on its opening drive this season, including each of the last two games.
- Senior Darius Butler opened the game as a two-way starter for the first time in his career at wide receiver and cornerback. Butler caught a 3-yard pass from Zach Frazer on UConns first offensive play of the game.
- North Carolinas 1-yard TD run in the first quarter by Ryan Houston marked the first rushing touchdown surrendered by the UConn defense in the opening quarter this season.
- North Carolinas 10 first quarter points matched the combined total allowed by the Huskies over their first five games in the opening quarter.
- UConn cornerback Jasper Howards interception in the second quarter marked the first of his career.
- UConn place kicker Tony Ciaravinos finished 2-for-2 on field goal attempts to run his current streak to six consecutive makes.
- North Carolinas 17 points in the first half marked the most by a UConn opponent this season.
- Donald Brown rushed for 63 yards in the opening half snapping his streak of consecutive games with 100-yards by halftime at five.
- UConn quarterback Zach Frazers 23-yard completion to D.J. Hernandez in the second quarter marked the longest of his career.
- D.J. Hernandez finished with seven receptions for 103 receiving yards both career bests.
- The game was delayed 22 minutes in the third quarter due to a malfunction of the stadium lights.