UConn Wins Motor City Bowl, 39-10

The UConn Huskies, in their inaugural Division I-A bowl game, sprang out to a 17-0 first quarter lead on the way to a 39-10 victory over the MAC Champion Toledo Rockets Tuesday in the 2004 Motor City Bowl at Ford Field in Michigan.

Senior QB Dan Orlovsky, a serious NFL prospect, led Connecticut hitting 20 of 41 passes for 235 yards and two touchdowns along with one interception. Orlovsky was named the Motor City Bowl MVP.

Sophomore Cornell Brockington paced the ground attack, rushing for 77 yards on 15 carries. Senior Keron Henry caught nine passes for 108 yards. Senior linebacker Maurice Lloyd set a Motor City Bowl record with 17 tackles.

Sophomore Matt Nuzie, who hit four three-pointers, opened the scoring with a 35-yard field goal on Connecticut's first drive. On Toledo's second series, senior Tyler King, who had missed the previous six games because of a broken leg, recovered junior two-way player Patrick Body's fumble at the Rockets' 36-yard line with 7:00 on the opening quarter clock. Orlovsky hit junior Jason Williams for a 32-yard touchdown pass less than two minutes later. Freshman Larry Taylor returned Toledo frosh Bret Kern's punt 68 yards for a TD.

Junior QB Bruce Gradkowski, who suffered a broken right hand in the Mid-American Conference championship game, led UT (9-4) on a 63-yard drive and scored the Rockets' only touchdown on a one-yard plunge with 11:15 to go in the half. Toledo was missing their star running back, sophomore Scooter McDougle, who incurred a knee injury, also in the MAC title game.

With their lead reduced to 17-7, Orlovsky hit senior Brian Sparks for a seven-yard score less than four minutes later. Nuzie kicked 37 and 25 yard field goals to give the Huskies a 30-7 halftime edge.

Nuzie and Jason Robbins each hit third quarter field goals, ending the period with the score at 33-10. On UConn's final drive, Coach Randy Edsall liberally substituted for his starters. Sophomore reserve tailback Matt Lawrence's 11-yard touchdown capped a 45-yard drive with 44 seconds left in the game. Nuzie's extra point attempt was unsuccessful, thereby keeping 39-10 as the final score.

Grabowski was replaced at the start of the third quarter by redshirt freshman Marques Council who was 15-of-25 for 154 yards. Council was intercepted twice and sacked four times. Grabowski hit half of his throws (6/12) for 44 yards. Junior Trinity Dawson also gained 77 yards (19 carries). Senior Chris Holmes had four receptions for 47 yards.

UConn completed their third Division I-A season with an 8-4 overall record, a 3-3 Big East mark including a 29-17 win over Pittsburgh. the league's BCS representative, and a bowl title.

Connecticut was definitely ready to move up to the Big East a season early!

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