• Box Score  
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Dec. 29, 2007) - Wake Forest quarterback Riley Skinner was 29 of 38 in the air for 268 yards and a touchdown to lead the Demon Deacons to a 24-10 victory over the University of Connecticut football team in the 2007 Meineke Car Care Bowl before a crowd of 53,126 at Bank of America Stadium.
The two halves were mirror images of each other as UConn shutout Wake Forest in the first half and the Demon Deacons held the Huskies scoreless in the second. Connecticut, the 2007 BIG EAST Conference champions, finishes the year with a 9-4 record while Wake Forest of the Atlantic Coast Conference also ends with year at 9-4.
The contest was the second bowl game in the last four years for UConn – who has been playing as a member of the BIG EAST for only four years. The Huskies defeated Toledo in the 2004 Motor City Bowl. This year, UConn sold its entire allotment of 12,500 tickets for the bowl game in Charlotte – the second BIG EAST school to ever do that.
UConn lead 10-0 at the half, but Wake Forest scored two third quarter touchdowns to take a 14-10 lead after three quarters.
Wake Forest took the opening possession of the second half and marched the ball for a touchdown on a six-play, 66 yard drive. Redshirt freshman running back Josh Adams scored the touchdown on a 38-yard touchdown run 2:16 into the half.
The Demon Deacons took the lead for good on a 20-yard touchdown pass from Skinner to senior John Tereshinski on a third and 14 play. Skinner also had a first down rush on a third and six from the UConn 25 to keep the drive going.
Wake Forest made it 17-10 on a 43-yard field goal 3:07 into the final quarter by junior Sam Swank.
The Demon Deacons sealed the win with a nine-yard TD run by senior Micah Andrews that ended an eight-play, 62 yard drive.
UConn was severely limited in the second half on offense as the Huskies had just 73 total yards of offense while the Deacons had 275.
Husky junior quarterback Tyler Lorenzen (Fremont, Iowa) was 13-of-26 in the air for 98 yards. UConn was led in rushing by sophomore Donald Brown (Atlantic Highlands, N.J.) with 13 carries for 72 yards.
Sophomore wide receiver Brad Kanuch (Johnstown, Pa.) was the leading Husky receiver with three receptions for 36 yards.
Wake Forest senior wide receiver Kenny Moore was name the game’s Most Valuable Player as he made 11 receptions for 112 yards. Adams was the leading rusher for the Deacons with 66 yards on 19 carries.
UConn scored all 10 of its points in the first half for the lead as the Huskies had 141 yards of total offense and Wake Forest posted 137. Senior Larry Taylor (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) scored the only touchdown of the first half when he returned a punt 68 yards for a touchdown with 2:38 left in the first quarter. Ironically, Taylor had a 68-yard punt return for a TD in UConn’s only other bowl game – a win over Toledo in the 2004 Motor City Bowl – which also came late in the first quarter.
The only other first half point came with 5:00 left in the second quarter as junior kicker Tony Ciaravino (Boca Raton, Fla.) connected on a 29-yard field goal that finished an eight-play, 80 yard drive. That drive was highlighted by a 58-yard run by Brown on the first play of the drive.
• The Huskies complete their 2007 season at 9-4, the second-winningest campaign in school history.
• The UConn loss snaps a seven-game bowl winning streak for BIG EAST schools which dated back to West Virginia’s win over Georgia in a 2006 Sugar Bowl game played at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.
• The Huskies dip to 1-1 all-time in bowl play and 1-2 vs. Wake Forest.
• UConn is now 3-8 against active ACC members and 1-2 in 2007, also beating Duke and losing to Virginia.
• This is UConn’s second 13-game season and the 13th game has been unlucky each time. In 1998, UConn lost to Georgia Southern in the NCAA Division I-AA Quarterfinals in its other 13th game.
• It marks the first time this season that UConn has lost consecutive games.
• The 10-point lead lost by UConn today ties for the largest it has lost in a loss in the Division I-A (FBS) era. The other was in the school’s very first I-A era contest, Aug. 31, 2002 at Boston College. UConn lead BC 16-6 before eventually falling, 24-16, to the Eagles.
• Larry Taylor’s punt return touchdown was UConn’s ninth non-offensive score of the season. Nationally, only Wake Forest with 10 has more. The Huskies have five interception return touchdowns, two kickoff return touchdowns, and two punt return touchdowns.
• Robert Vaughn’s interception was UConn’s 23rd of the year as a team. Entering bowl season, only Boston College and Cincinnati had more nationally than the Huskies.
• Today is the fourth time this year the UConn defense had thrown a shutout through the first half. It also happened against Maine (Sept. 8), Louisville (Oct. 19) and Syracuse (Nov. 17).
• The Huskies will return to action when they host Hofstra on Thursday, Aug. 28.
• Larry Taylor’s 68-yard punt return TD was the school-record fourth of his career…It was his second in a bowl game. He also had a 68-yard punt return for a touchdown against Toledo in the 2004 Motor City Bowl. In addition to the matching distance, the returns were both to the camera’s right down the near sideline. The Motor City Bowl punt return score came with 2:31 to go in the first quarter and today’s was at 2:38 of the first quarter … The yardage also helped set the BIG EAST record for career punt return yards. The old mark was 1,196 set by Santana Moss of Miami from 1997-2000…With four punt return touchdowns … The four career punt return touchdowns tie him for third place in BIG EAST history alongside Andre Davis of Virginia Tech and Quinton Spotwood of Syracuse. The league record is six by Moss. DeAngelo Hall of Virginia Tech had five.
• Robert Vaughn’s interception was his seventh of the year, tying Rich Fenton (1974) for fifth on UConn’s seasonal chart. It is the most by a Husky in the Division I-A (FBS) era.
• Donald Brown’s 58-yard run was the team’s second-longest of the year, trailing only his 70-yard touchdown scamper against Rutgers on Nov. 3.
• Tony Ciaravino’s second-quarter field goal was his 22nd of the year, extending his own school record. The BIG EAST record is 23 by Boston College’s Sandro Sciortino in 2002 … The field goal also gave him an even 100 points on the year, making him the third Husky to ever reach that milestone. Walt Trojanowski scored 132 points in 1945 and Wilbur Gilliard scored 102 in 1993.
• UConn’s starting defensive alignment today was the same one it has used for 12 of its 13 games this year. The lone exception came at West Virginia when Robert McClain started over Robert Vaughn in an attempt to get more speed onto the field.
UConn Players: | |
On the game
They had our number today and there is nothing more to say besides we are frustrated.
On preparing for the game
Any loss is very disappointing. We’ve put a lot of work in these past five weeks and we’ve got to get over this. We set the bar high for this upcoming off-season so we’ve got our work cut out for us.
On the seniors and their leadership
I feel bad for them. We should have let them go out on a high note and we failed to do that. They really put this program on the map and I apologize to the seniors.
On what happened in the second half
We wanted to stay focused going into the half. We wanted to come out and play as hard as we did in the first half or even better. Things just didn’t happen our way.
On what is the emotion of the team now
Just to have pride. [With] every loss there is anger.
On how the team’s season should be remembered
As hard workers. We were a very hard-working team. We acted as one and were a very family oriented team.
On the team next season
Our team is going to be very good next year. We’re going to work even harder. People said in the [locker room] to pack-up and get back to work.
On his punt return
I had a good feeling all week and during the preparation of punt return. Coach Johnson came up with a great return, a wall return, and my teammates were able to give some great blocking.
On his second career bowl punt return
It felt great to start my career with a return in the bowl game and to end my career with a return in a bowl game.
On returning the punt, but losing
I have a bitter taste in my mouth, but nothing can take away from having a great year. We finished as Big East Co-Champions and we have a lot of great memories. We reached a lot of goals this year and no one can take that away from us.
On being aggressive on 4th down calls
I wasn’t surprised. It was a bowl game and we were here to have fun. We wanted to compete [since] we had nothing to lose and it being the last game.