UConn Eases Past Baylor

EAST HARTFORD – UConn is off to a 4-0 start for the second consecutive year –barely. UConn held off a much-improved Baylor team taking the lead with 6:04 left on a Donald Brown 3-yard touchdown and held off Baylor 31-28 before over 38,000 fans at Rentschler Field.

The Huskies will start Big East play next week when they travel to Louisville. They will do so after winning game that had momentum shifts nearly every possession and featured six lead changes.

"Good teams have to win close games and if you want to have a good record you have to win close games," UConn coach Randy Edsall said. "We dug down and made the plays we needed to."

Brown did his usual yeoman's work rushing for 150 yards and two touchdowns. Tyler Lorenzen added two touchdowns rushing of his own for the Huskies, who won their 10th straight at Rentschler Field.

After Brown's touchdown, the ball was given back to Baylor and freshman quarterback Robert Griffin.

Griffin, who had 235 yards passing and three touchdowns and ran for another, nearly helped the Bears pull off the upset.

Starting on the Huskies 20-yard line Griffin used his legs to keep the game alive on third down scrambling for a 9-yard first down. On third and 11 from Baylor's own 30, Griffin found Justin Akers for 19 yards into UConn territory.

The Bears got down to the UConn 36-yardline, less than 10-yards from field goal range when the Huskies buttoned it up.

After a short gain on first down, the Huskies stopped Griffin for -3 yards. On third down, Griffin was flushed out of the pocket to his right evaded three tacklers. His pass on the run hit the hands of Wright inside the 20, but fell incomplete. On fourth down, the Huskies finally stopped him. His pass to Wright in double coverage down the left sideline fell incomplete to secure the victory.

We knew on fourth down we had to stop them," UConn's Darius Butler said. "We had to stop him, and we boned up.

"It was crazy. We fought tooth and nail and we stepped up. The whole game came down to that possession."

Griffin finished with 235 yards passing and three touchdowns while also rushing for 46 yards and a touchdown.

"He is on the (West Virginia QB ) Pat White level," Butler said. "He is pretty close.

Griffin nearly engineered the upset.

His 19-yard touchdown pass to Kendall Wright with 11:13 left in the fourth quarter had given Baylor a 28-24 lead and all the momentum. The drive was kept alive by a roughing the passer, and UConn had no answer for Wright in the slot (9 catches, 114 yards).

The Huskies could very well have panicked after they went three-and-out on the next possession, but they just put the defense to work.

Desi Cullen 55-yard punt was downed inside the 10 and that setup the Huskies up.

UConn nearly had a safety, stopping Griffin on the goal line on a Julius Williams sack. After holding on third down, the Huskies caught a break when return man Jasper Howard was interfered with on the punt.

They started the drive on the 29-yard line and Brown ended it with a 3-yard touchdown run and a 31-28 lead with 6:04 left.

The Huskies and Bears traded touchdowns in the first half going into the break tied at 14-14. Lorenzen had a 7-yard touchdown run while Brown barreled in from a yard out in the second quarter. Justin Akers caught a pair of first half touchdowns for the Bears.

Brown went over 100 yards rushing the first half for the fourth straight game and moved to fourth place on the all-time rushing list at UConn. He now has 716 yards and 10 touchdowns on the season.

"He has been possessed this year," Edsall said.

The Huskies took a 17-14 lead in the third quarter but Griffin regained the lead for Baylor with a two-yard touchdown run.

Lorenzen gave UConn the lead again with a 36-yard touchdown run until the heroics of the fourth quarter.

UConn struggled to get off the field defensively and surrendered 377 yards including giving up 8-of-14 third down conversions. The UConn linebacker corp struggled in pass coverage and allowed Wright 9 catches for 114 yards and Akers with two touchdowns. Lorenzen was shaky again in the passing game with two interceptions.

But, the Huskies are headed to Louisville 4-0, can't do better than that.

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