Oct. 8, 2011
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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith was 27 of 45 in the air for 450 yards and the Mountaineers scored 23 unanswered points in the final 7:54 of the third quarter to top the University of Connecticut football team by a 43-16 score on Saturday afternoon. The game was played before a crowd of 56,179 at Mountaineer Field at Milan Puskar Stadium as Connecticut is now 2-4 on the season and 0-1 in the BIG EAST while the No. 16 Mountaineers are 5-1 and 1-0.
Stedman Bailey had seven receptions for 178 yards and two scores and Dustin Garrison had 80 rushing yards to help lead the Mountaineer effort.
Redshirt senior Johnny McEntee (Servite, Calif.) was 21 of 37 in the air for the Huskies with 193 yards. The Huskies were led in rushing by redshirt freshman Lyle McCombs (Staten Island, N.Y.) with 20 carries for 73 yards.
WVU led 10-9 at halftime, but the game took a dramatic momentum change midway in the third quarter as Connecticut had driven to the Mountaineer 13-yard line. On a first down play, McEntee rushed the ball to the 10, but then fumbled the ball and WVU's Jewone Snow recovered and returned the ball all the way to the UConn 12 with 7:54 left in the quarter.
West Virginia scored two plays later on a 12-yard TD pass from Austin to Smith that made it 17-9 Mountaineers. WVU took control of the game, when after a Husky three-and-out, the Mountaineers got the ball at their own 16. Smith threw an 84-yard TD pass to Stedman Bailey to give WVU 24-9 lead.
The Mountaineers added two more points on a safety with 2:31 left in the third quarter as McEntee was sacked in the endzone to make it 26-9 and Smith had a 22-yard TD pass to Brad Sparks with nine seconds left in the quarter to make it 33-9.
Tyler Bituncurt kicked a 33-yard field goal for West Virginia with 10:52 left to make it 36-9. The Mountaineers went on to score 33 unanswered points when Smith added a second touchdown pass to Bailey, on a 27-yard toss to the end zone with 8:51 remaining in the game.
After a quick three-and-out by UConn, WVU made a change at quarterback. Freshman Paul Millard entered the game and was picked off on his first play by Connecticut red-shirt freshman Ty-Meer Brown. Brown nearly came close to stepping out of bounds, but stayed in to return the ball 48 yards to the end zone for the only Husky touchdown of the afternoon.
West Virginia led at halftime by a 10-9 count as UConn senior kicker Dave Teggart (Northborough, Mass.) accounted for all of the Huskies' nine points on three field goals.
The first quarter saw the teams trade a pair of field goals as WVU's Bitancurt opened the scoring with a 31-yarder with 7:43 left. The Huskies came right back on the next possession as Teggart hit a 41-yarder to tie it at 3-3 with 3:23 to go. On the opening drive of the game, Teggart had missed a 42-yarder as it hit the left goal post and then bounced off the crossbar.
Teggart hit a pair of second quarter field goals - including a career-long 53-yard field goal that came on the first play of the quarter to make it 6-3 Huskies. UConn had gained possession of the ball on a fumble caused by redshirt junior Jory Johnson (Tampa, Fla.) and recovered by redshirt freshman safety Ty-Meer Brown (McKeesport, Pa.). Brown was making his first career start.
West Virginia scored the only touchdown of the first half on a seven play-45 yard drive that ended on a 14-yard rush by Garrison to make it 10-6 Mountaineers. UConn was also hurt on a holding penalty on a third and then play that cost the Huskies an interception.
Teggart cut the WVU lead to a point at halftime with a 22-yard field goal on the final play of the stanza. UConn got the ball back with 55 seconds left after it held the Mountaineers on fourth and one to the get the ball at the Husky 42. McEntee had three pass completions on the drive, including two to senior Isiah Moore (Cambridge, Mass.).
Connecticut returns to action next Saturday when it takes on USF in the BIG EAST Conference home opener. Kickoff is at 3:30 p.m. and the game will be televised by SNY and on the WTIC-UConn Radio Network.