Huskies put game away by outscoring Bearcats 30-3 in the second half
EAST HARTFORD, Conn. (Oct. 25, 2008) -Junior running back Donald Brown (Atlantic Highlands, N.J.) set the single-season school rushing mark and teamed with some players seeing their first meaningful playing time of the season in leading the University of Connecticut football team to a hard-fought 40-16 BIG EAST Conference victory over Cincinnati Saturday afternoon before a homecoming crowd of 40,000 at Rentschler Field.
The win, which makes the Huskies bowl-eligible, pushes the Connecticut record to 6-2 on the season and 2-1 in BIG EAST play. The Bearcats slip to 5-2, 1-1 in the conference.
Brown, who entered the contest as the nation’s leading rusher, was held in check for most of the afternoon before exploding for a 53-yard run late in the fourth quarter. The run helped him break the single-season rushing mark in Connecticut history. Brown now has 1,324 yards in eight games, breaking Tory Taylor’s mark of 1,262 yards set in 1995. Later in that drive Brown bulled in from the five, his second scoring run of the game. He now has 14 touchdowns this season and 29 in his career.
Brown had lots of company among Connecticut players having big afternoons. Redshirt freshman placekicker David Teggart (Northborough, Mass.), handling placekicking duties for the first time in his career, connected on four of four field goals and was perfect on four extra-point attempts in a dazzling debut. In addition, Teggart drilled a 47-yarder into the wind at the end of the third quarter that gave the Huskies a 20-16 lead. Redshirt freshman quarterback Cody Endres (Washington, Pa.) playing for the injured Tyler Lorenzen (Fremont, Iowa) and Zach Frazer (Mechanicsburg, Pa.), completed 18-of-42 passes for 196 yards without an interception.
The Connecticut defense had its standouts as well. Junior cornerback Robert McClain (Lusby, Md.) intercepted two passes in the game’s final 8:11, including running one back 28 yards for a touchdown to secure the victory with 1:41 to play. McClain now has five career interceptions. Scott Lutrus (Brookfield, Conn.) and Cody Brown (Coral Springs, Fla.) led the way for the Connecticut defense. Lutrus had nine tackles and one pass break-up, while Cody Brown had three tackles (including one sack), a forced fumble and two pass break-ups.
The Huskies quickly fell behind 3-0 just 1:47 into the game on a 29-yard field goal that was set up by a blocked Connecticut punt. But the Huskies quickly answered with a 26-yard Teggart field goal, and after a Cincinnati punt, Donald Brown rambled in from the two to put the Huskies ahead, 10-3.
The Bearcats tied the score on a 27-yard pass from Tony Pike to Mardy Gilyard late in the first quarter and Cincinnati took a 13-10 lead into intermission on the back of a 54-yard field goal by Jake Rogers with 35 seconds to play before halftime.
The Huskies held the Bearcats to a three-and-out on their first possession of the second half, and took the lead for good on their next possession when freshman running back Jordan Todman (North Dartmouth, Mass.) scrambled in from the one with 11:10 to play in third quarter. The Huskies nursed a 17-16 lead until Teggart drilled that long field goal at the end of the third quarter. Then the Huskies put the contest away with 20 unanswered points in the final period.
Donald Brown finished with 150 yards on 29 carries, eclipsing the 100-yard rushing mark for the eighth time in eight games this season.
The Huskies will return to the gridiron next Saturday, November 1, when they entertain league foe West Virginia at Rentschler Field. Kickoff is set for noon and the contest will be televised by the BIG EAST Football Network.
- Donald Brown finished the game with 150 rushing yards – the eighth straight game this season he has posted over 100 yards rushing and the 14th time in his career.
- Donald Brown’s 150 rushing yards increased his single season total to 1,324 – which ranks as the highest single-season total in UConn annals. Brown entered today’s contest boasting the fifth-largest single-season rushing total in UConn history. Brown surpassed Tory Taylor’s total of 1,262 yards in 1995 as the highest single-season total in UConn annals.
- Redshirt freshman quarterback Cody Endres made his first career start in today’s game vs. Cincinnati.
- Redshirt freshman David Teggart place kicker connected on his first career field goal attempt – a 26-yard try in the first quarter.
- Running back Donald Brown’s 27-yard reception in the third quarter marked the longest of his career.
- Donald Brown’s two rushing TDs increased his totals to 14 this season and the 29 in his career.
- Defensive end Cody Brown’s second quarter fumble recovery marked the first of his career.
- Cornerback Jasper Howard’s second quarter interception marked his second this season.
- 54-yard field goal by Jake Rogers at the end of the first half marked the longest successful field goal attempt in the history of Rentschler Field – surpassing the previous long of 53 by Akron’s Jason Swiger on Oct. 25, 2003.
- Jake Rogers 54-yard field goal also tied for the third-longest in BIG EAST Conference history.
- 54-yard field goal by Jake Rogers at the end of the first half also marked the longest ever by a UConn opponent – surpassing the 53-yard make by Villanova’s Frank Venezia on Oct. 7, 1995 and Akrons Jason Swiger on Oct. 25, 2003.
- The 34-yard completion from quarterback Cody Endres to wide receiver Michael Smith marked both the longest completion of Endres career as well as the longest reception of Smith’s career.
- Wide receiver Michael Smith’s 41 receiving yards marked a single-game best.
- Neither team converted on third down until the third quarter – the two teams were a combined 0-for-17 on third down conversions in the first half.
- Donald Browns 58 yards receiving marked the highest single-game total of his career.
- Redshirt freshman David Teggart’s 47-yard field goal in the third quarter tied for the longest by UConn this season – matching Tony Ciaravino’s 47-yarder against Louisville on Sept. 26.
- Making his first career start, redshirt freshman place kicker David Teggart was a perfect 4-of-4 on field goal attempts.
- David Teggart’s four field goals were the most by a UConn place kicker in a single game since Matt Nuzie booted four in the 2004 Motor City Bowl against Toledo on Dec. 27, 2004.
- David Teggart’s became the first UConn kicker since the program moved to Division I-A in 2002 to go a perfect 4-of-4 on field goal attempts in a single game.
- Quarterback Cody Endres’ 28 pass attempts in the first half mark the most by a UConn QB in any half this season.
- Cornerback Robert McClain Jr.’s first fourth quarter interception marked his first this season and the fourth of his career.
- McClain Jr.’s second interception of the fourth quarter marked the fifth of his career and the 28-yard return for a TD represented his first career TD and the longest return of his career.
- CJ Marck’s fumble recovery in the fourth quarter marked the first of his career.
- Today’s improves UConn to 13-17 all-time vs. BIG EAST opponents since joining the league in 2004.
- Today’s victory extended UConn winning streak at Rentschler Field to 11 consecutive games.
- UConn has now won 15 of its last 20 games dating back to the beginning of the 2007 season.
Post Game Quotes
University of Connecticut
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Head Coach Randy
“It was a great team victory today. I’m so proud of the players and coaches because of the effort they gave and the focus they had all week long. We went out today and did the things we had to do in order to win; it wasn’t always pretty but they fought for every inch today for 60 minutes. That’s what we talked about a lot this week in that we have to play for everything. This is a team that has been beating us up over the past couple years and I am so proud of those young me and coaches.”
On the play of the defense:
“They played very well; they held them 30 yards rushing, 19 of 47 passes and got three picks. We held them to no third conversions which has been an achilles’ heal for us. It was great to be back home and in front of our fans which I know juiced them up. When you prepare the right way, you stay focused and you scrap for every inch out there then you will give yourself an opportunity to do what they did today.”
On starting Cody Endres:
“There is no one that cares who is hurt or who is not playing and that is the kind of thing that we try to tell our players. No one outside our building cares so whoever has the opportunity to step up because of someone down then they have to do that. Cody Endres stepped up and did a great job. He did not turn the ball over, managed the game extremely well, and made some big throws.”
On David Teggart:
“I gave him the opportunity and he went out there and did it. That’s the great thing about today is that David went out and got his opportunity and did what he did. Cody got his opportunity today and did what he did. That is what life is all about which is what we try to teach these kids, not just in football. If you get opportunities in life then you have to take advantage of them. Both of those players did. After the 47 yard attempt into the wind I told him that he made me look good. I have confidence in them and both of those kids stepped up.”
Freshman David , K
On the 47-yard field goal into the wind:
"Before I went out there Coach Johnson asked me where I felt comfortable
from, where we needed to get the ball to. I just said that as long as we
could get to the 30-yard line I would be able to make the kick. I got my
leg into it and it was good."
Were you nervous about your first game?
"I was a little nervous about going out there a first. I was nervous on the
first one but I made it and I just felt comfortable after that. It’s a
game I’ve been playing for a long time and so I was just going out there
and doing what I had to in order to help the team win."
Freshman Jordan , RB
How did it feel to contribute to the offense tonight by scoring that touchdown?
“It felt good, anytime you can put points on the board it is obviously good. It was a play we worked on in practice and it has been working well there, we threw it into our offense and there was a nice hole to the outside and I scored the touchdown. It helps us as a team to get fired up because we are putting points on the board. It helps to have a lot of people contributing and not just one person scoring.”
How does it feel as a freshman to be able to come into the game and be able to contribute?
“It definitely felt good, we have a lot of good offensive players so when I am not on the field that is the reason. When you come in as a true freshman you never know how much time you are going to get, but when I do get time I am happy and try to make the best of it. Today I was able to make an impact on the offense by scoring so it always feel good.”
Your defense has been strong the last few weeks, but it seems as if today the offense, defense, and special teams all played well, can you explain?
“We all had to come together as a team because we lost two games in a row, and it would have hurt to lose three so we had some fire built up in us. Every member of this team knew what needed to be done to win the game today. The defense was great, the offense was great, as well as the special teams and that always helps.”
Freshman Cody , QB
How were you so poised today in the game?
“It involved a lot of hard work in practice this week. I had a lot of confidence and knew what they were doing and what we were doing. After the first drive I settled in and realized that in practice we go against a really good defense and told myself that it was just like practice.”
Would you say that this was a needed win for you guys?
“It was pretty necessary because we dropped two games on the road, but we came back home and we are pretty good here as everybody knows and put in a lot of hard work which paid off for us.”
Did you know you would be throwing as much as you did?
“I knew coming into the game that they had a pretty stout run defense so I knew we would have to throw the ball a little bit and I was ready to do that.”
Junior Donald , RB
Late in the game, do you think the defense was tired which allowed you to run so effectively?
“A little bit, I mean the offensive line did a great job. Usually around four or five minutes left in the game and you are winning the defense knows that you are going to run the ball, it was tough but we got the job done.”
Can you compare this game to how you have played Cincinnati in the past?
“We came out with the same intensity and at times it was a hard fought battle, but we knew that it was going to be coming into the game. We kept fighting the whole game and that is why we came out on top.”
On the margin of victory:
"I’m just glad we won, 1 point or 2 points the point is just to win."
What did you think about the defensive pressure that was applied
throughout the game?
"It’s important to put pressure on the quarterback. If you can get pressure
on him then it’s makes it tougher for the quarterback to concentrate on
completing passes downfield. Every game you want to go out and get
How does it feel to beat Cincinnati?
"It feels good. Cincinnati has been able to come out the last few years and
be physical with us, and it seems like every year three or four guys get
hurt. We just had to go out there and be the most physical team on the
University of Cincinnati
HEAD COACH BRIAN KELLY
“Well, a tale of two halves – obviously. In the first half, I thought we came out and played pretty good football. We had some missed opportunities obviously in the first half. [On our] third down conversions, Connecticut was outstanding. They came up big on every third and fourth down. But having said that, we took a lead into the half and then the second half was due to a number of different factors. I could go through every position group, turnovers… [backup QB] Chazz [Anderson] having to come in under those circumstances, which were difficult on the road and Donald Brown breaking a lot of tackles. We got to give him a lot of credit. Connecticut whipped us in the second half. So, a tale of two halves.”
On the injury that forced starting QB Tony Pike out of the game after the first half:
“There appeared to be some loss of feeling and we wanted to be certain that we weren’t putting him in a precarious situation – obviously. So, our training staff recommended that under those circumstances we should not play him. We’re not really sure how it happened… he tried to go and they re-did the cast at halftime. They tried to get him more comfortable but he just had lost the feeling [in his hand] and was quite uncomfortable... I believe [it happened] on the last drive [of the first half]. There was a facemask penalty where he was kind of torqued and had to put his arm down [to brace himself]… but I’m not certain.”
DE CONNOR BARWIN
On the play of UConn backup QB Cody Endres & their offensive gameplan:
“I didn’t expect them to throw that much esp. with the backup quarterback and it kind of made it hard to get to him with how much they run. Their offensive line did a good job in pass protection. We thought we’d be able to pressure him more. We did a little bit but not nearly good enough. They were good, they kept us on our heels with those draws and screens and not running the ball.”
On the play of UConn RB Donald Brown:
“He was better than I thought he was. 160 yards on us? He’s a real good player. He’s hard to tackle, he’s got great balance and we definitely struggled in tackling him because I don’t think the holes were that big. I don’t think the offensive line was pushing the defensive line anywhere - it’s just that he was hard to tackle. We were bad at tackling.”
PK JAKE ROGERS
On his 54-yard field goal right before the end of the first half:
“Coach turned to me and asked me if I could hit it and I told him, ‘yeah, we’re going with the wind.’ So, it was a bit easier of a kick. I went out there and hit it but the joy of hitting it is lost when you lose… its focus and confidence. I have the team’s confidence. I have my confidence back and I’m just trying to feel good about it.”