UConn's Second Half Blitz Crushes Blue Devils

DURHAM, N.C. -- Tyler Lorenzen spotted D.J Hernandez along the left sideline and lofted a perfect pass catching him in stride. It was a pass from one UConn quarterback to the other, and it signaled the start if a new era of UConn football.

Hernandez caught the ball, split the safety defender and ran up the
gut for a 57-yard touchdown pass for an 18-14 Huskies lead. After a
half of frustration, the Huskies showed how devastating they can be
when they are on all cylinders.

UConn scored 34 unanswered second half points as it rolled over Duke
45-14 before 17,251 fans at Wallace Wade Stadium.

The Huskies extended Duke's losing streak to 21-games and did it in
impressive fashion. The Huskies out gained the Blue Devils 487-169
and when you take away the 80-yard touchdown drive by Duke to open
the game held them to 89 yards of total offense.

Lorenzen was a standout in his first game as Huskies quarterback
passing for 298 yards on 21-of-30 passing and two touchdowns while
also rushing for 56 yards on his own. Lorenzen put a rest to any
quarterback worries by showing poise, confidence, an ability to make
plays.

"I thought he did a lot of things that I thought he would do in terms
of running the team," Edsall said. "I thought he was very poised and
composed and I thought he, for the most part, did a lot of things
that we wanted him to. There are mistakes he did make, but he made
enough plays."

Duke made a bid to end its losing streak opening the game up with an
80-yard drive highlighted by a 53-yard pass from Thaddeus Lewis to
Eron Riley. The Blue Devils scored several plays later on a 6-yard
touchdown catch from Brandon King.

The Huskies had multiple chances in the first half to score a
touchdown but didn't punch it in the end zone. The Huskies settled
for field goals three times in the red zone of the first half and
also missed a field goal. UConn also had a chance to recover a Duke
fumble in the end zone but could only muster a safety.

Still, when Tony Ciaravino made the second of his three field goals
in the first half the Huskies led 8-7, and things appeared to be
turning around. That lead lasted less than 30 seconds.

Jabari Marshall ran back the kickoff 94 yards for a touchdown and the
Huskies were in trouble.

Lorenzen calmly led the Huskies down inside the 5-yard line in the
closing minutes but couldn't punch it in. The Huskies settled for a
field goal and trailed 14-11 at the half.

The Huskies didn't dwell on the missed opportunities however. This
team is tougher than the last two years.

"You would have thought we were wining by 30 points," UConn defensive
tackle Dan Davis said of the Huskies at the half. "It is no point in
getting frustrated. Our mentality is to go out and play. No point in
saying we are up or down."

Lorenzen knew what the issue was, and Duke had shown no ability to
stop the offense.

"We were getting the ball down there we just weren't finishing,"
Lorenzen said. "That was the main focus in the second half. You have
to finish."

On the fourth play of scrimmage in the third quarter Lorenzen's pass
to Hernandez started the onslaught giving the Huskies an 18-14 lead.

The Huskies poured it on after that. Lorenzen found Brad Kanuch with
a 41-yard pass over his shoulder late in the third quarter inside the
5-yard line. Lorenzen completed the drive with a touchdown pass to
Steve Brouse for a 25-14 lead, and the rout was on.

Donald Brown scored a 25-yard run and Lou Allen added an 11 yard
scamper in the fourth quarter. Darius Butler ended the rout with a
36-yard interception return for a touchdown off Lewis.

The Huskies spread the ball around offensively. Terrence Jeffers led
the Huskies receiving with 94 yards on eight caches while Larry
Taylor was involved in the offense with seven catches for 75 yards.
Kanuch and Hernandez were deep threats, just how Edsall drew it up.

After a rough start, Brown got on track and finished with 99 yards
rushing and a score.

"We have to utilize everybody," Edsall said. "We have to utilize the
length of the field, the width and all the different people in the
passing game and spread it around so nobody is keying on one guy. The
more we do that, I think the more effective and productive we can be
offensively."


The defense was relentless and after the opening drive of the game
allowing only 89 yards of total offense the rest of the way. Redshirt
freshman Lawrence Wilson, subbing in for the injured Ryan Henegan at
weak side linebacker, led the Huskies with 10 tackles while captain
Danny Lansanah also added 10. Cody Brown had two sacks and was in the
backfield all day while Lindsay Witten had one sack and several
pressures while Julius Williams forced a fumble that resulted in a
safety.

The Huskies will host Division I-AA Maine on Saturday at Rentschler
Field in East Hartford for the home opener.

Notes:

***The Huskies played true freshman Marcus Campbell, Kijuan Dabney,
Greg Lloyd Jr., and Anthony Sherman on special teams.

***Punter Desi Cullen showed a strong leg with two touchbacks and
five punts for 39.4 average. Ciaravino was shaky at place kicker with
three short field goals, one miss from inside 40 yards and another
extra point block.

***The Huskies' Branch, Scott Lutrus and Robert Vaughn each picked off
a pass. UConn only made one turnover.


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