Photos by Brian Pohorylo
UConn's 6-2 sophomore wide-out Terence Jeffers out-jumps Maine's Derrick Harris for a reception.
EAST HARTFORD - Sophomore wideout Terence Jeffers had just four catches for 29 yards --- but he made two of them count on the scoreboard as the UConn Huskies steamrolled past the University of Maine Black Bears 38-0 Saturday night before 35,413 fans at Rentschler Field in East Hartford. It was the Huskies' first shutout since a 59-0 whitewashing of Liberty College in 2005.
Junior quarterback Tyler Lorenzen completed 17-of-26 for passes 186 yards with two TDs and just 1 pick. Receiving excellent protection from his offensive line all night, the 2006 J.C. All-American was not sacked all evening, and rushed for 42 yards including one TD. Sophomore wide receiver Brad Kanuch led all Husky receivers with 6 receptions for 76 yards.
All-Big East candidate Donald Brown, a red-shirt sophomore who rushed for 87 yards on 20 carries, led the Husky ground attack. Salem native and East Lyme High graduate Lou Allen chipped in with 56 yards on 11 carries, including 1 touchdown. The junior tailback didn't enter the game until the third quarter.
For the second straight week, UConn's offense took a whole half to get cooking. Freshman linebacker Scott Lutrus opened the scoring for the Huskies with a 25-yard interception return on Maine's first possession -- the second offensive play of the game.
"Well. I used to play only offense [in high school]," joked the Brookfield native after the game. "It was good to touch the ball again." It was Lutrus' second interception of the year, and the first touchdown of his UConn career. A point after conversion by junior placekicker Tony Ciaravino capped the first-period scoring.
Head coach Randy Edsall, for one, isn't particularly impressed with his team's first-half offensive effort over the first two games, and is hopeful to see an about face before tough conference play kicks in.
"I think that is something we will continue to work on -- getting off to a faster start," said Edsall. "I think we're still in the process of finding out what everybody can do and what we want to do with all of our personnel. We do know a little bit more after this game than we different after last week's game. I think what will also help us is now that we have played a couple of games is we will be able to put together a better game plan and have more information. However, we do need to execute better than we did tonight."
UConn sophomore WR Brad Kanuch tries to shake a defender after making one of his team-high six receptions.
Ciaravino added a 24-yard field goal 43 seconds into the second period, giving the Huskies a 19-0 lead that would hold until Lorenzen hit Jeffers with a 6-yard scoring pass with 6 ticks left in the half. Ciaravino's point after gave the Huskies a 17-0 lead at intermission.
"You have to give a lot of credit to Maine," said Lorenzen after the game about UConn's slow start on the offensive side of the ball. "They are a good, quality team. At the same time we were killing ourselves on three-and-outs, and like I said it takes all 11 [players], and if some guy is messing up, whether it's me our someone else, it causes the play not to work."
Connecticut put the game on ice with two touchdowns four minutes apart in the third quarter. Lorenzen and Jeffers hooked up for their second score -- a two-yard scoring toss with 6:40 left in the period. Then, after a three-and-out by Maine, Lorenzen capped a six-play, 58-yard drive by punching it in himself from the 2-yard line. Ciaravino's kick gave Connecticut a 31-0, and the stands began to empty.
The Black Bears were simply overwhelmed by the UConn defense, which allowed just seven first downs, 66 yards on the ground and 88 yards in the air. UConn kept the Black Bears on their own side of the field until the second half. Senior linebacker Danny Lansanah led the Huskies with seven tackles, including three for losses.
"Except for a handful of plays, I think our guys did a very good job," said UConn head coach Randy Edsall. "We were able to get good reads and react appropriately to what we were seeing which was good. We had a good week in practice and we executed the game plan well."
CAN YOU SAY '3-0'? Next up, the huskies entertain the Temple Owls, 42-7 losers to Buffalo last week, on Saturday, Sept. 5 at The Rent. Kickoff is slated for noon, and the game will be televised on MyTV9 and SNY.
Maine QB Michael Brusko sees stars as he is knocked on his kiester by UConn freshman linebacker Lawrence Wilson.
FAST TRACK: This is the fourth time in the last five seasons the Huskies have opened the season with a 2-0 record. UConn is now a perfect 5-0 in home openers at The Rent.
OVERMATCHED: UConn is now 6-0 against Division I-AA teams since making the move to 1-A. In those games, the Huskies have outscored their 1-AA foes by a cumulative 297-52.
I'LL BE BACK: Lansanah, who left the game late in the third period after what head coach Randy Edsall called a "cheap shot" by Maine, is listed as "day to day" and hopes to be back in time for the Temple game. He was joking with the media in the interview room after the game wearing a protective boot, but saying that x-rays were negative.
ADD-ON: The UConn-Pittsburgh on Sept. 22 has been picked up by ESPNU. Kickoff from Heinz Field remains at 7:00 p.m.