Foxx sparks offense and sparks UConn to an upset win
EAST HARTFORD – The same old script was writing itself out for the UConn football team Saturday afternoon at Rentschler Field.
The 1-6 Huskies played a dreadful first quarter against Central Florida, rushing for five yards on six carries, gaining only nine yards in the air and finishing with no first downs. Yet, somehow the Huskies trailed the Knights, who they lost to 62-17 last season, only 7-0.
Enter Deshon Foxx.
The senior wide receiver took over quarterback for a possession in the second quarter and it was a quick one. On the first play, the 5-foot-10 speedster faked a handoff and exploded through the Knights for a 68-yard touchdown that not only awoke the Huskies, but also the 28,751 that braved the rain, wind and the 40-degree temperatures.
Foxx’s dimension in the wildcat-style look (though head coach Bob Diaco dismissed that comparison) helped sparked an unexpected 37-29 win by UConn, which came in as 10-point underdogs.
“It feels normal (playing quarterback),” said Foxx, who finished with 102 yards rushing on 11 carries. “We had good blocking downfield and I used my speed to get into the end zone. It’s a great feeling to be able to spark the offense.”
The touchdown sparked a 17-point second quarter for the Huskies, just when it seemed they were on their way to a sixth straight defeat. Foxx also ignited UConn’s first win this season with a punt return for a score against Stony Brook.
“We need to win some games and this is exactly what we needed," Foxx said. “Coach Diaco is building a great program here and the seniors on this team are determined to go out on a high note.”
Among the notable performances for UConn included Andrew Adams, who recorded three interceptions, the first Husky to record that feat since current Indianapolis Colt Darius Butler did in 2005.
“At the end of the day, it’s being in the right place at the right time,” Adams simply said.
Noel Thomas caught two touchdown passes from Chandler Whitmer (38 and 22 yards) and Ron Johnson ran for the first two scores of his career against a Central Florida defense ranked 10th in the country.
Ansonia’s Arkeel Newsome also had a 23-yard kick return that helped lead to a score.
The defense, which struggled to contain the run (game-high 145 yards from UCF's William Stanback), held the Knights on downs in the final minute to preserve the win.
It’s no secret this year has been one full of frustrations for the Huskies, whose only previous win was against a non-FBS school in Stony Brook back on Sept. 6. But last week in defeat at then-No. 18 East Carolina, UConn showed the signs of improvement that Diaco had promised were coming.
And Saturday, it finally resulted with a ‘W’ in the standings.
“It feels great and I am so happy for the men on our team,” Diaco said. “They have been through so much adversity, misery and so much pain. They have persevered and grinded through and had faith when you couldn’t see it.”
The Huskies, slowly, have taken baby steps rebuilding of their program. It looks like they’re finally starting to walk.