Connecticut's Lou Allen rushed for a career-high 101 yards and a touchdown, Darius Butler returned a kickoff 90 yards for a score and the Huskies' defense did the rest. UConn (5-5, 2-4 Big East) scored all its points in the first half then held the Bulls' vaunted rushing attack to 83 yards.
The Bulls (6-4, 4-2 Big East) were averaging 229.8 yards rushing a game, the second-best in the league, and needed a win Saturday to force a title game next week with the Mountaineers (9-1, 6-0) in Tampa, Fla.
Instead, they froze up. It was 33 degrees at game time, the coldest temperatures the Bulls have ever played in. Now West Virginia will play in the Bowl Championship Series for the first time, no matter the outcome of next week's game.
UConn (5-5, 2-4) snapped its four-game losing streak and kept its hopes alive for a winning record and bowl bid. The Huskies close out the season next week against Louisville.
The Huskies held Andre Hall, the league's rushing leader, to 93 yards, forcing the Bulls to find other options. Instead, the Bulls fumbled the ball away twice, quarterback Pat Julmiste was picked off three times and an apparent 75-yard TD reception to Jackie Chambers was nullified by a penalty.
Connecticut scored on their third play from scrimmage when Allen broke free up the middle for a 60-yard score. It was the longest run of the season for the Huskies. UConn's defense, which held USF to just 50 yards rushing in the first half, set up the next score.
James Hargrave sacked Julmiste for a 13-yard loss, pushing the Bulls back to their own 5. Julmiste fielded a high snap on the next play and came down in the end zone for a safety and 9-0 lead.
The Huskies held Hall to 61 yards in the first half. Most of that came on a 36-yard rush that helped set up the Bulls' only touchdown. Julmiste capped an 11-play drive with a 31-yard TD pass to S.J. Green and UConn's lead was cut to 9-7.
UConn answered right back. Butler returned the ensuing kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown and the Huskies held on for a 15-7 lead at the half.
USF threatened midway through the fourth quarter when Amarri Jackson returned a punt 37 yards to the UConn 9. But after a sack, a false start and a batted-down pass, the Bulls' had a fourth-and-7 on the 6 and opted to go for it. The Huskies sniffed out a reverse and tackled Kitt Pomells for a 14-yard loss.
The Huskies had to punt on their next possession and the Bulls' took over on the UConn 44 with under three minutes to play. UConn killed the drive on the very next play when Tyvon Branch intercepted Julmiste in the end zone.
Julmiste completed 10 of 26 passes for 168 yards. UConn's Matt Bonislawski was 8-of-26 for 81 yards, but it was his 16-yard run for a first down in the final minute that helped the Huskies seal the win.
Bulls Drop 15-10 Decision At UConn
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