Nov. 23, 2013
PHILADELPHIA - The University of Connecticut football team overcame a 21-0 halftime deficit and scored 28 unanswered points in the second half to post a 28-21 win over Temple on Saturday night before a crowd of 20,045 at windy and chilly Lincoln Financial Field.
The Huskies won their first game of the season and now have a 1-9 record and a 1-5 mark in the American Athletic Conference while Temple is 1-10 and 0-7.
UConn redshirt feshman quarterback Casey Cochran (Monroe, Conn.) tied the game at 28-28 on a one-yard rush with 6:52 to play and junior linebacker Yawin Smallwood (Worcester, Mass.) won it when he intercepted Temple quarterback P.J. Walker and returned the ball 59 yards for the game-winning touchdown with 4:20 remaining.
The 21-0 deficit for the Huskies marked the largest comeback in the school's FBS history, which dates back to 2002. The previous mark was 17 when UConn trailed Western Michigan 17-0 in the second quarter and wound up with a 41-27 win on Nov. 1, 2003.
Smallwood tied for a team-high with eight tackles. The interception was his first of the season, and the first pick-six of Walker's career. Walker attempted to tie the game on its final drive but his final heave to end zone fell incomplete with 38 seconds remaining.
Temple hopped out to an early lead and took a 21-0 advantage into the half, but allowed UConn to make it a one score game with two third-quarter touchdowns, on a 33-yard reception by redshirt junior Geremy Davis (Lawrenceville, Ga.) from Cochran and a seven-yard by redshirt sophomore running back Max DeLorenzo (Berlin, Conn.).
The Owls' defense tried to keep UConn and Cochran from tying the game, but came up short on two key fourth-and-goals. Temple actually stopped UConn on a third-and-goal from the one-yard line but cornerback Anthony Robey was called for pass interference on fourth-and-goal, allowing UConn a fresh set of downs at the goal line. Temple then proceeded to stop three straight rushes at the one-yard line but could not stop Cochran on the Huskies second fourth down from the goal line.
Two minutes and 32 seconds later, Walker couldn't catch Smallwood on his touchdown return.
Temple opened the scoring in the first quarter on a six-yard Walker run up the middle in the first quarter that was set up by an Abdul Smith interception of Cochran. For Smith, a senior, it was his first career interception and only Temple's third pick this season.
Temple proceeded to score on its next two possessions - on an eight-yard Walker touchdown pass to wide receiver Robby Anderson and an 18-yard Zaire Williams rush - and took a 21-0 lead into the break.
UConn returns to action on Saturday when it hosts Rutgers at Rentschler Field at noon. The game will be televised by ESPNU and heard on the UConn IMG Sports Radio Network.