UConn Rolls Over the Orange 30-7

EAST HARTFORD CT – Coach Randy Edsall came into the post game press conference after a 30-7 destruction of Syracuse and started to talk about "his guys."

The Huskies, who were picked seventh in the Big East by nearly every preseason publication and pundit, had a coach on the hot seat ready to lose his job, and with a team devoid of talent and ability that had to overachieve and compete, are one game away from the Big East title.

Edsall, the architect and captain of the Division I move, has the Huskies amazingly enough 60 minutes from a BCS bowl.

Edsall, his eyes watering with tears, and the Huskies have finally arrived.

"I got to congratulate and thank the guys in the locker room and through 11 games how well they have been able to stay with the job at hand," Edsall said. "Just sticking together and making this thing happen. I couldn't be prouder of a bunch of guys, I don't know if I have ever been around (long pause) … a bunch like those guys.

"Unbelievable. Who would have ever thought after 11 games, to be 9-2, that this team will be playing for the right to the Big East championship next week. Probably nobody in America except for those guys in the locker room. I am glad they allowed me to be a small part of it."

The No. 25 Huskies will play at No. 7 ranked West Virginia next week in Morgantown, and with a win can clinch a berth in the BCS with a trip to the Orange Bowl or Sugar Bowl at stake.

UConn, which was in the Yankee Conference a decade ago, is one win away from reigning over the Big East.

"It feels great to accomplish one of the goals that you wanted to accomplish which was playing for the Big East championship," senior linebacker Danny Lansanah said. "It was one of our goals that we set in the beginning of the year and lot of people doubted us except for the people back in Storrs. Now we are in position to control our own destiny."

What a difference a week makes.

The Huskies were coming off a 27-3 loss at Cincinnati but showed no ill affects on Saturday as it scored 14 first quarter points to coast over the Orange.

Tyler Lorenzen was 16-of-24 passing for 213 yards passing and a touchdown to lead the Huskies. Donald Brown and Andre Dixon combined for 161 yards and tow touchdowns. The Huskies defense also scored on a 49-yard interception return by Danny Lansanah.

The Huskies got things going early in the first quarter when Lorenzen found Terrence Jeffers (3 rec, 80 yards) with a step on his defender connecting for a 63-yard touchdown pass.

"I didn't want to give (Syracuse) any life," Edsall said. "Coming off the game last week, we wanted to have a fast start so we can have confidence. We didn't want to fall behind and lay from behind again."

The Orange, who have allowed 33 points per game coming in and are now 7-27 in coach Greg Robinson's career were their own worst enemy. They had dropped passes, penalties and missed open receivers. They also had a pair of costly turnovers. The first came on a quarterback draw from Andrew Robinson, playing with a cracked rib, who fumbled the ball on a hit from Darius Butler at the Syracuse 35.

The Huskies capped the drive with Dixon scoring on a two-yard touchdown run for a 14-0 lead.

Syracuse was never back in the game.

The Huskies took Robinson out of the game sacking him four times and holding him to 8-of-21 passing for 59 yards.

The Huskies went to Brown midway through the second quarter and he put the Huskies on his back. He gained 43 yards on his first six carries, capping off a seven play 77 yard drive with a 21-yard touchdown run for a 21-0 lead.

Brown was the catalyst in the running game this week. Other weeks it is Dixon. How UConn arrives at which one gets the carries depends on what Edsall sees in the game. The Huskies tacked on a field goal on a Tony Ciaravino 33-yard kick and put an explanation point on it in the fourth quarter.

Lansanah, playing the final home game of his career, sat in coverage and picked off a Cam Dantley pass at midfield. Lansanah promptly took a curtain call for his career rumbling down the sideline for a 49-yard return and a touchdown. The Huskies led 30-0 and West Virginia was now on their minds.

"I think I will remember that moment for the rest of my life," Lansanah said. "My last time at Rentschler Field, I will remember that forever."

So will the Huskies, which no longer can be looked at or sneered at for playing football.

There are still games to win, but what few thought possible is now here.

"I thought we would be a better football team this year," Edsall said. "But I didn't know where it is going to go or how many wins we get or where we would be. But I have been around long enough and been on teams as a player and coach where there is I don't what you call it….Magical? Chemistry? Call it camaraderie, people do things that you don't expect them to do."

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