Nov. 21, 2009
SOUTH BEND, Ind. - A four-yard touchdown run by Andre Dixon (New Brunswick, N.J.) in the second overtime period handed the University of Connecticut football team the victory over Notre Dame in front of their biggest audience ever, a sold out crowd of 80,795 at Notre Dame Stadium on Saturday.
Connecticut improves their record to 5-5 on the season, snapping their three-game losing streak while Notre Dame drops to 6-5 on the year and loses their third-straight game and second-straight to a BIG EAST opponent.
The duo of sophomore tailback Jordan Todman (North Dartmouth, Mass.) and Dixon carried the game for the Huskies. Todman led all running backs with 26 carries for 130 yards while Dixon had 20 carries for 114 yards, 96 of those yards coming in the fourth quarter and overtime periods. Junior quarterback Zach Frazer (Mechnicsburg, Pa.), who originally attended Notre Dame, was 12 of 25 in the air for 141 yards.
This is the third time this season that Todman and Dixon have combined for 100-yard efforts in a game and the first time since the Baylor game on September 19 this season.
Jimmy Clausen led Notre Dame by passing for 329 yards on a 30 for 45 effort while Golden Tate was impressive with nine receptions for 123 yards and one TD.
In the second overtime, Notre Dame had the first possession as the strong Husky defense forced the Fighting Irish to kick a field goal that was good for the 30-27 lead. But the Huskies responded as Dixon bullied his way into the endzone to help the Huskies to the first win in the last four weeks.
Notre Dame won the coin toss at the beginning of the overtime period electing to go second. After taking a shot at the endzone on the first play in OT, UConn capped their 25-yard drive with a 11-yard touchdown pass from Frazer to Kashif Moore (Burlington, N.J.) to take the seven-point 27-20 lead.
The Fighting Irish responded with a touchdown of their own just four plays later tying the game at 27-27. Clausen connected with Michael Floyd on a third and 10 at the 25 and on the next play of the game lobbed a pass to again to Floyd in the back of the endzone for six. During the extra point attempt the Huskies got a hand on the ball but couldn't derail it enough as the game was sent into a second overtime period.
Two would-be touchdowns by Dixon in the final minutes were negated by holding calls against the Huskies forcing UConn to kick a field goal that tied the game up at 20-20 with 1:10 left in regulation. Teggart connected on the 29-yarder for his second of the game.
On the Fighting Irish's next drive, Armando Allen fumbled the ball after grabbing a first down. The fumble was forced by Kendall Reyes (Nashua, N.H.) and recovered by Robbie Vaughan (North Attleboro, Mass.) setting up the potential game-winning 37-yard field goal which missed wide left to send the game into overtime.
At the end of the third period, the game was knotted up at 17-17. Notre Dame marched the ball 77 yards on its first possession of the second half, but the Husky defense held tight stopping the Fighting Irish on the third down at the one-yard line and limiting the Irish to a 20-yard field goal by David Ruffer.
Todman then took the ensuing kickoff and returned it 96 yards for a touchdown to even the game up at 17-all on his first kick return for a touchdown of his career.
Ruffer broke the 17-17 tie with a 20-yard field goal with 10:47 left in the game to give the Irish a 20-17 lead on an 11 play-47 yard drive.
Notre Dame started the game off with a 14-0 lead as it scored touchdowns on both of its first couple of possessions. On the first drive, the Irish moved the ball 69 yards on nine plays as quarterback Jimmy Clausen hit Golden Tate on an eight-yard pass play for the score.
The Irish scored again early in the second quarter on a one-yard TD run by Clausen to wrap up a 11 play-80 yard drive 28 seconds into the second quarter.
UConn shutout the Irish the rest of the half and put ten points on the board themselves. The Huskies broke into the scoring column on a 43-yard TD run by Todman on a second and 11 play. That drive was seven plays for 75 yards.
Sophomore Dave Teggart (Northborough, Mass.) connected on a 39-yard field goal with 3:14 left in the half to wrap up a 13 play-52 yard drive.
UConn's defense was impenetrable in the second half led by junior Lawrence Wilson (Tuscaloosa, Ala.) who was just one shy of his career-high with 16 tackles and a fumble recovery. His classmate Scott Lutrus had 14 tackles on the night and senior Lindsey Witten finished with five stops and his 11.5 sack of the season.
UConn returns to action next Saturday when it plays host to Syracuse at 12:00 p.m. at Rentschler Field. That game will be televised by the BIG EAST Network and will be seen on MyTV9-WCTX and SNY.