KENT, Ohio --- Dan Orlovsky hit ONeil Wilson on a 14-yard TD strike in overtime to give the University of Connecticut a 34-31 win over Kent State on Saturday at Dix Stadium. The Huskies improve to 5-3 on the year while the Golden Flashes slip to 3-5.
UConn broke a 14-14 halftime tie as Matt Nuzie connected on a 25-yard field goal with 9:48 left in the third quarter but Kent State scored two touchdowns to take control of the game.
Kent States Kevin Beverly completed a seven play-65 yard drive with a four-yard run that made it 21-17 KSU with 7:48 left in the third. Nuzie got the Huskies back to within a point, 21-20, with 1:38 left in the third on a 24-yard field goal.
KSU took advantage of an interception by UConns Dan Orlovsky with 12:42 left in the fourth quarter that gave Kent State the ball at its own 38.
Joshua Cribbs completed a 44 yard pass to Derrick Bush on a second down play that put the ball at the UConn 21. A pair of rushes by Beverly and one by Cribbs put the ball at the UConn one to set up a one-yard TD rush by Cribbs to give KSU a 28-20 lead with 7:47 to play.
UConn rallied to tie the game with 1:51 to play. Twice UConn converted on fourth down and after a Dan Orlovsky sneak on fourth-and-one gave the Huskies a first down at the KSU 17 yard line, Orlovsky found Feldeisen for a 17-yard TD strike. Keron Henry caught an Orlovsky pass for UConns first two-point conversion of the year, tying the game at 28-28.
In overtime, Kent State won the coin toss and kept the ball. Travis Mayle hit a 39-yard field goal after the Huskies stopped the Golden Flashes. UConn got the winner though on its possession as Orlovsky hit Wilson for a game-winning 14 yard TD.
UConn tailback Chris Bellamy rushed for a career-high 212 yards on the day with 33 carries. Orlovsky finished the game 28 of 51 for 293 yards and three touchdowns.
After a scoreless first quarter, each team scored a pair of touchdowns in the second half. UConn opened the scoring when Chris Bellamy had a five-yard touchdown carry with 10:54 left in the quarter that ended a seven play-39 yard drive. Kent State tied the game at 7-7 on a three yard pass from Josh Cribbs to Kevin Beverly with 8:39 left. That drive was highlighted by a 49-yard completion by Cribbs to Darrell Dowery that put the ball at the UConn three-yard line.
The Huskies struck paydirt on their next possession as they engineered an eight-play, 73-yard drive. UConn quarterback Dan Orlovsky hit Tim Lassen on a nine-yard pass for the touchdown. Orlvosky was five-for-six for 51 yards on that drive and has now thrown a touchdown pass in 20 consecutive games.
Lassen has five career receptions three of them for touchdowns.
Ken State tied the game with 25 second left in the half as Cribbs rushed nine-yards for the score to complete a 10 play-78 yard drive. Cribbs rushed the ball six times for 23 yards on that drive. The drive was kept alive when UConn was called for a holding penalty as KSU punted on fourth-and-fourth from its own 49 yard line.
UConn returns to action next Saturday when it plays Akron at 12:00 p.m. at Rentschler Field the first of three-straight home games. The game will be televised on the YES Network.
CONNECTICUT FOOTBALL POSTGAME NOTES
AT KENT STATE * OCT. 18, 2003 * DIX STADIUM
* It is UConns 11th overtime game all-time. The Huskies are 5-6 in OT games. The last OT game was last Sept. 28 against Ball State (24-21 loss). The last road OT game was Oct. 11, 1997 at Maine (49-47 loss).
* UConns two-point conversion attempt was its first of the season.
* Todays game marked the ninth time in its last 13 games that UConn has shutout its opponent in the first quarter and the 11th time in those 13 games that UConn has held its opponent without a first quarter TD. UConn is 10-2 since the start of the 2002 season when the opponent does not score a first quarter TD and just 1-7 when they do.
* UConn started the game in its four wide-receiver offensive package for the first time this year with Shaun Feldeisen, Keron Henry, Jason Williams and ONeil Wilson all starting the contest.
* The 49-yard passing play from Joshua Cribbs to Darnell Dowery was the longest against UConn this year. It is the longest passing play against the Huskies since Brian St. Pierre of Boston College hit Chad Hemmings for a 54-yard gain on Aug. 31, 2002 in UConns last game played on standard AstroTurf.
* With two giveaways today and no takeaways, UConn is now 3 on the year in turnover margin after going +12 last season.
* UConns nine penalties today was a season high.
* Chris Bellamy today became the 14th different Husky to catch a pass this season.
* UConn evens the series against Kent State at 2-2 all-time and has won five of its last six games against MAC schools.
* Dan Orlovsky threw a touchdown pass in his 20th consecutive game, one shy of tying Shane Staffords string of 21 games from 1996-98 for the school record
.Orlovsky is now one TD shy of his UConn single season record with 22 TD passes on the year.
* Tim Lassens TD catch was his first of the season. Three of Lassens five career receptions have gone for touchdowns.
* With his career-high efforts today, Chris Bellamy posted the first 200-yard rushing effort by someone other than Terry Caulley since Tory Taylor ran for 256 against Boston University on November 1, 1995. It is the first back-to-back 100-yard rushing games by a Husky other than Caulley since 1998 when Barry Chandler went over 100 against Colgate (Sept. 5) and Maine (Sept. 19).
* FB Deon Anderson saw his most action as a pass receiver, setting career highs in receptions and receiving yards.
* PK Matt Nuzie tied his career high by hitting two field goals.