Oct. 31, 2009
EAST HARTFORD, Conn. - Tim Brown scored on an 81-yard pass from Tom Savage with 22 seconds to play in the fourth quarter to give Rutgers a wild 28-24 BIG EAST Conference football victory Saturday afternoon before a crowd of 37,045 at Rentschler Field.
The loss drops the Huskies to 4-4 on the season, 1-3 in conference play. The Scarlet Knights improve to 6-2, 1-2 in league action.
The Huskies seemed to have won the game with 38 seconds to play when Jordan Todman (North Dartmouth, Mass.) scampered in from the two on a fourth down play to cap a 15-play, 87-yard drive. Connecticut converted a third down and two other fourth downs on that drive.
The Huskies first lead of the game was short-lived as on the first play from scrimmage after the kickoff Savage connected with Brown to put the Scarlet Knights ahead for good. The Huskies got to midfield on their final drive but were ultimately stifled.
The Huskies, playing at Rentschler Field for the first time since the untimely passing of junior cornerback Jasper Howard (Miami, Fla.), played most of the contest without starting quarterback Cody Endres (Washington, Pa.), who left the contest midway through the first quarter with a shoulder injury. Endres was replaced by Zack Frazer (Mechanicsburg, Pa.), who threw for a career-high 333 yards, on 21-of-46 passing, but he was intercepted three times.
The contest started inauspiciously for the Huskies as for the second straight week an opponent returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown. Rutgers' Devin McCourty took the opening kickoff and raced 98 yards untouched to put Rutgers ahead just 12 seconds into the game.
The contest remained a 7-3 affair until midway through the second quarter when Savage hit Brown on a 37-yard scoring strike. But the Huskies answered right back when Frey took the ensuing kickoff back 100 yards for a touchdown, tying for the longest in school history. However, Rutgers marched right back down the field as Savage connected with Mark Harrison late in the second quarter on a 20-yard scoring play to give the Scarlet Knights a 21-10 lead that they took into halftime.
The Huskies maintained that 11-point deficit until Frazer connected with Marcus Easley (Stratford, Conn.) on a pretty 32-yard catch and run to bring the Huskies within five at 21-16. Connecticut went for a two-point conversion, which was successful when Frazer connected with tackle eligible Mike Ryan (Tamaqua, Pa.), but the play was ruled illegal touching and was overturned. The penalty set the ball back to the eight and the Huskies had to kick the extra point, which was good, but the Huskies now trailed by four, 21-17, and could not tie the score with a field goal. Todman finished the game with 68 yards on 13 carries, and he scored his eighth touchdown of the season. Redshirt freshman tight end Ryan Griffin (Londonderry, N.H.) set career marks with six catches and 80 receiving yards, while Easley finished with five grabs for 81 yards, and his fourth touchdown of the campaign.
Lawrence Wilson (Tuscaloosa, Ala.), the BIG EAST's leading tackler, had a team-high nine stops, while Greg Lloyd (Clermont, Fla.) chipped in with eight tackles.
The Huskies will return to action next Saturday, November 7, when they hit the road to play nationally-ranked Cincinnati at Nippert Stadium. Kickoff time and television information will be announced on Sunday.