EAST HARTFORD, Conn. (September 30, 2006) - Navy quarterback Brian Hampton rushed for 182 yards and three touchdowns and passed for another score as the Midshipmen rolled past Connecticut, 41-17, Saturday afternoon before a sellout crowd of 40,000 at Rentschler Field.
The loss drops the Huskies’ record to 2-2, while Navy improves to 4-1 on the season.
Navy amassed 464 rushing yards, which is the second most allowed by UConn in school history. The most rushing yards allowed was 530 to Georgia Southern in the Division I-AA playoffs in 1998, a team that was also coached by Navy head coach Paul Johnson. Navy out-gained the Huskies 605-343 in the game.
In an unfortunate season-long trend that continued in the contest, the Huskies were burned for a big play early in the game. On Navy’s first offensive play Hampton hit Reggie Campbell with a 77-yard scoring catch-and-run just 1:40 into the game. On the ensuing UConn possession, Deon Anderson (Providence, R.I.) fumbled after a catch and Navy recovered at the UConn 42. Three plays later, Hampton scampered in from the 24 to put Navy ahead 14-0 just 5:20 into the game.
The Huskies got on the board early in the second quarter when Matt Nuzie (Trumbull, Conn.) drilled a 39-yard field goal. After a Navy successful field goal, Matt Bonislawski (Natrona Heights, Pa.) led the Huskies on their first touchdown drive of the game. Bonislawski, making his first start of the season, connected with freshman wide receiver Brad Kanuch (Johnstown, Pa.) on a beautiful leaping catch for a 42-yard gain. Five plays later, Bonislawski found Terry Caulley (Lusby, Md.) on a third-and-10 with a screen pass that Caulley took and scooted into the end zone from the Navy 14. Unfortunately, Navy was able to connect on a 39-yard field goal by Matt Harmon on the last play of the opening half putting the Mids ahead 20-10 at intermission.
Navy struck quickly in the second half as well, as Campbell took an option pitch from Hampton on the first play and raced 68 yards for a touchdown. Connecticut inched to within 10 late in the third quarter, when Bonislawski hit Anderson with a four-yard touchdown pass capping an 11-play, 93-yard drive. The Huskies had one final chance in the contest after stuffing the Middies on a fourth-and-one from the Connecticut 2. But the Huskies went three-and-out, and Navy scored back-to-back touchdowns to earn the 41-17 victory.
Caulley finished with 87 rushing yards, extending his school-record mark to 2,928 yards. He also registered his first touchdown reception since September 13, 2003. Bonislawski finished with 15 completions in 37 attempts, for 176 yards and the two touchdowns. Larry Taylor (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) had five receptions for 46 yards.
The Huskies did have a few standouts on the defensive side of the ball as linebacker Ryan Henegan (Arlington, Texas) had a hand in 12 tackles and defensive end Cody Brown (Coral Springs, Fla.) had one and half sacks. Senior punter Chris Pavasaris (Needham, Mass.) had a solid game averaging 45.3 yards on six punts, including a long of 54.
The Huskies will open up 2006 BIG EAST play next Saturday when they travel to Tampa, Fla. to play South Florida. Kickoff is set for 7:00 p.m. and the game will be televised by ESPN Regional.
UConn falls to 1-6 all-time vs. Navy following today’s loss.
UConn falls to 9-4-2 all-time vs. military-associated institutions following today’s loss (includes games against: Navy, Army, Penn Military College, Virginia Military Institute and Norwich University.)
Navy’s 464 yards rushing marked the second-most ever by a UConn opponent in the program’s history – the most rushing yards ever by a UConn opponent was 530 by Georgia Southern in the 1998 I-AA Quarterfinals – a team that was also coached by current Navy head coach Paul Johnson.
Navy’s 41 points marked the most by a UConn opponent in the history of Rentschler Field – previous high was 37 by Akron on Oct. 25, 2003.
Navy’s 605 yards of total offense marked the most by a UConn opponent since it moved to Division I-A in 2002.
Navy’s 77-yard touchdown reception by Reggie Campbell on Navy’s first play from scrimmage marked the first time UConn has allowed a touchdown on the game’s opening play since it allowed a 42-yard touchdown reception to open a game at Georgia Tech on Sept. 17, 2005.
Navy’s 77-yard touchdown by Reggie Campbell on the opening play marked the first time a UConn opponent has scored on its opening possession in the last 14 home games – the last time it happened was vs. Murray State on Sept. 4, 2004.
Navy’s 77-yard touchdown by Reggie Campbell on its opening play marked the first time a UConn opponent has scored on its opening drive this season and the first time overall since No. 12, 2005 at Pittsburgh.
Navy’s 77-yard touchdown by Reggie Campbell in the first quarter tied for the longest play by an opponent in Rentschler Field history – the last time it happened came on Sept. 30, 2004 on a 77-yard touchdown pass from Pittsburgh’s Tyler Palko to Greg Lee.
UConn’s defensive offsides penalty at the 9:48 mark of the first half marked the first penalty UConn has been flagged for while on defense this season.
UConn special teams penalty for an illegal block in the back at the 9:30 mark in the first quarter was the first time the Huskies have been flagged for a penalty on special teams this season.
Navy’s 81-yard rush by Adam Ballard in the second quarter marked the second longest play from scrimmage and the longest rush vs. Connecticut since they joined Division I-A in 2002. The longest play was an 87-yard reception by Rutgers’ Tres Moses on Nov. 25, 2004.
UConn freshman Brad Kanuch’s 42-yard reception in the second quarter marked the first catch of the collegiate career.
UConn Terry Caulley’s 14-yard touchdown reception marked his first receiving touchdown since Sept. 13, 2003 vs. Boston College – a 13-yard pass from Dan Orlovsky.
Navy’s Reggie Campbell’s 68-yard touchdown rush on the first play if the second half marked the 13th time Navy has scored on its first possession of the second half in its last 16 games and the fourth time in the last five games overall.
UConn’s Deon Anderson’s 4-yard touchdown reception marked the first receiving score of his career since Sept. 6, 2003 vs. Army.
University of Connecticut
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On the game:
“We got out played. Hats off to Navy and the way that they played today. Today we just didn’t get the job done. We haven’t had many days like this in the program. We’ll just keep working to eliminate mistakes and move forward.”
On the big plays Navy had scoring:
“That happens. They get a big play because we didn’t have a man where he was supposed to be or doing what he was supposed to do or taking the responsibility he was supposed to take. Maybe we didn’t put him in a good enough position as coaches to make that play. I’ll have to watch the tape, but the thing that was disappointing was the big plays in this game. We play pretty good defense around this place, but the thing that hurt us was those big plays. We had opportunities to get the game back in control, but every time we got it cut down a little bit we could do what we needed to, to get some momentum going. It was a tough day all around.”
Do you think it was the play coming out of the half that hurt the most?
“That was worse than all of the other ones. They executed on that and we didn’t. We turned the ball over today and then we had some penalties today that we hadn’t had. It wasn’t a very good day all the way around.”
How do you feel about the loss today?
“I’m a little but embarrassed and a little frustrated. A little disappointed; all those things you can think of all rolled into one. I expected us to play better and we didn’t. I have to try to figure out why. We had a good week of practice. We just didn’t go out there and execute the way I thought we would execute. I think we’re better than what we showed today but we didn’t play that way today. It happens sometimes. I’m not happy about it and we’ll get it corrected.
Did Navy’s passing game have an effect on how things went today?
“I know that we told the team to be alert for the action passing on the first play. The thing is that we have some guys who have made some great plays over the years. Today happened to be the day that those guys didn’t make the plays that they could make. A lot of theses guys have played a lot of good football for us. They all made mistakes today in some crucial situations and that made it very tough. We knew they were going to throw the ball a little bit more than when we played them in 2002, but we worked on it. Like I said, they executed better than we did today.”
Would you label you performance today as frustrating and disappointing?
“No, I wouldn’t label it as frustrating. We’re two and two now. Individually, I don’t think that’s important as long as we as a team win. Our motto this year is “As One” and all together this year we just got to win and go to a bowl game, hopefully a BCS. Individually, my stats they don’t matter to me.”
What do you think the Wide Receivers need to do to get open more often?
“I don’t necessarily think it’s the Wide Receivers. I feel we’re getting open as a unit, but you know sometimes we break down up front with the protection. Today it looked like Bons was on the same page as us, but a couple of times he missed connected with me too high. You know, a lot of pressure was on him as he was being hit while throwing. I just think we need to get better as a unit”
Do you think they did a good job kicking away from you?
“I’m sure they succeeded with what they were trying to do by kicking the ball away from me. I didn’t get any chances to get any returns until I just took it upon myself to go wherever they were kicking the ball. I got to give them credit. They did a good job.”
What do you think was the difference out there today?
“I thought we just didn’t execute well. When it came down to it, we were just to inconsistent. Especially when everything’s going well, we’re passing the ball and running well. We had a 90 yard drive that proves we could do it, but I think we’ve got to do it just a little bit more often. "
How difficult is it when you see a big play like the one in the third quarter? It kind of took you guys out of the game. Were you surprised with how bad the defense played today?
“We can’t really worry about what they do. Coming out of halftime 20-10 after we fumbled the ball a couple of times, we didn’t execute as well as we wanted to in the first half. It’s only a ten point game so I think we might have pressed a little bit too much in the second half after that play, but we just got to worry about what we’re doing and execute ourselves.”
Would you say stunning is the best way to put it after they came out and ran all those big plays against you?
“Well, we didn’t execute anything. Bottom line is we lost and just got to bounce back.”
Deon was saying there is a lot of heart of this team, but I think a lot of the players this week will look in the mirror and decide it’s time to step up. Do you think this is crucial time in the season when players need to start stepping up?
“Of course, I mean unfortunately we didn’t perform the way we wanted to. They came out and executed their game plan and we didn’t come out on fire. This is going to set us back, but we just got to bounce back and stay focused for South Florida.”
Can you put your finger on why you weren’t focused?
“We were focused coming into the game it’s just that we were off schedule. They came out and made big plays especially the first play of the game. We had two fumbles on offense, one that I contributed to, but we just couldn’t get it done.”
How do you feel about your current progress, physically?
“I am moving alright, but my speed is a little down right now. I am still working on getting my lower body strength up. It will come back.”
When you are back to full strength, how much more do you feel you can contribute?
“As much as my body will let me. I am going to everything I can to get us winning and getting the offense to move the ball.”
It has been a while since you have played with Matt Bonislawski. Do you think you worked well together today?
“Yeah, definitely. We are roommates and good friends. We have a great connection going and we will be fine.”
Did you think that a team could come in here and put up 605 yards in offense?
“Well, they are a team that can do something when they carry the ball. They showed what they can do today when they choose to carry.”
The United States Naval Academy
HEAD COACH PAUL JOHNSON |
HEAD COACH PAUL JOHNSON
On dealing with the dangerous option offense:
“What happens with the nature of what we’re doing, you play every body on the line of scrimmage. When you do that and you break it, there’s no body to get him. It’s going to be a long play. One touchdown came on a counter option, one came on a mid-line option but they had all their secondary and safeties standing on the line. So, when we break the line, there’s no one there.”
On scoring on opening plays of first and second half & containing UConn leading rusher Terry Caulley:
“We’ve been pretty good about coming out on the opening drive of the second half, once we get a chance to make some adjustments and talk about it. Historically, we’ve done fairly well. Any time you can come out and score on the opening drive is huge. I thought we contained Terry very well today. The last time we played them [in 2002] we had a hard time getting back to the line of scrimmage. It was our first year there [as a coaching staff] and we didn’t score. I’ve been coaching a long time and that don’t happen much. I kind of took it personal, too. They played us exactly the same way today as they did before… why wouldn’t they?”
On the complete offensive display by the Navy offense & the hard-hittine UConn defense:
“I was satisfied with the way we passed and were able to run the ball. Not taking anything away from their defense because they were just as good as any defense we played so far. In fact, they’re probably the hardest hitting team we’ve played as of yet. It’s satisfying to know that everything we’ve talked about in practice, what we’ve been going over in the film room is showing up on the field.”
On the opening touchdown to start the game:
“I was pretty relaxed to start the game. I wanted to get it going. Reggie [Campbell] made a great play and that gave us the momentum, which is always nice to have. We’d seen the way they’re playing defense since we played them in 2002 and watched them over, over, over and over again. When players are in motion, we watched the way they go and adjust to it and honestly, it just left the middle of the field wide open. We even saw that in their game against URI.”