UConn Levels the Orange

SYRACUSE, N.Y,-- It was back to ugly football, ugly passing numbers, and a beautiful victory for the UConn football team on Saturday night. UConn quarterback Tyler Lorenzen doesn't win pretty, but his return to the starting lineup against Syracuse garnered a familiar result – winning.

Donald Brown set the UConn career mark in rushing with 131 yards and a touchdown and Lorenzen improved to 15-4 as a starter as the Huskies thumped Syracuse 39-14 before a quiet and mundane 28,801 at the Carrier Dome in Big East play.

The Huskies improved to 7-3 and 3-2 in the Big East and insured a bowl berth for the third time in school history and second in a row.

As far as UConn coach Randy Edsall was concerned, the fact the Lorenzen has been at the helm of most of it is no coin cidence. Edsall played coy with Lorenzen's availability about returning from a broken right foot suffered against Louisville on Sept.26. Without Lorenzen the Huskies went 1-3. With him back in the lineup it was like the Huskies looked comfortable and confident.

He had a pedestrian game,7-of-15 for 70 yards, but Edsall said he means so much more than that.

"Tyler wins and he manages the game," Edsall said. "He didn't have any turnovers, ran the ball, got some yards for us. He's a calming influence out there. To me, a guy like that that wins games as opposed to a guy that's turning the ball over and you don't win games, that's what you want."

Lorenzen has long ago stopped looking at the stat sheet. "I could go throw for 400 yards and five touchdowns and that would (stink)," Lorenzen said. "I am just trying to win. Whatever we have to do, I have said it 100 times since I got here. Throw it 100 times or run it 100 times. Whatever I got to do."

Lorenzen is 15-4 as a starter, and the Huskies are 6-0 in games he has started this year. Whatever Lorenzen is doing, it seems to be working fine.

The Huskies (7-3, 3-2 Big East) uncharacteristically used the big play to sink the Orange (2-8, 1-5). The Huskies had touchdown runs of 50 and 49 yards, a safety off a punt, a punt return for a touchdown by Jasper Howard and an interception return for a touchdown by Robert McClain before putting the game on ice in the fourth quarter.

"We just made some plays," Edsall said. "Those are the things that we try to stress — score in all phases. We made more big plays tonight than we have in a long time."

UConn opened the scoring with a pair of Dave Teggart field goals to take a 6-0 and were dominating action. The Orange had only one first down through the first drive of the second quarter and had 14 yards on 15 total plays.

Then, Syracuse's Max Suter blocked a Desi Cullen punt in the endzone with Parker Cantley falling on it for a touchdown. It had the makings of another one of those games the Huskies would live to regret.

This time, however, UConn had answers.

UConn's special teams got a couple of those points back when Robbie Frey tripped up Orange punter Patrick Shadle in the endzone after a bad snap for a safety. On the second play of the ensuing drive, Jordan Todman took a reverse from Brown and ran 50 yards off right tackle for a touchdown and a 15-7 lead.

Syracuse had its only extended drive of the game riding running back Curtis Brinkley. Brinkley, who had 94 of Syracuses'147 yards of offense barreled through on a 4th and goal from inside the 1-yard line. With the extra point it was 15-14 and the Carrier Dome had some life.

It was short-lived.

Brown took the second play of the drive 49 yards down the right sideline to put the game away late in the second half. On that run Brown broke Terry Caulley's career rushing mark. Brown has 3,254 yards in his career and counting and had his 16th touchdown of the season, 31 in his career and is tied for second all-time.

The Huskies added a Teggart field goal, he is 9-for-9 to start his career, in the third quarter and Howard put the game away with a 69-yard punt return for a score. McClain's 37-yard interception return for20a score off an Andrew Robinson pass sent the Dome crowd home early and unhappy.

The Huskies' defense dominated Syracuse, holding the Orange passing game to 6-of-23 with three interceptions. Without Brinkley, the Orange offense was non-existent. The Orange finished with just 147 yards was 1-for-14 on third-down conversion attempts.

UConn will take on South Florida on Sunday night.

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