MIchigan comes from 14 down to beat UConn 24-21.
EAST HARTFORD: The head coach said all the things you would have expected him to after having scene his team come close to slaying the dragon, only to get burned at the end.
UConn head coach Paul Pasqualoni was proud of the efforts his Huskie football team put forth before falling, 24-21 to the 15th ranked team in the nation, Michigan but was not in the mood for second place niceties.
“While I’m proud of the effort we put in out there,” Pasqualoni said, “We’re not taking any moral victories out of this.”
A team that went into this game a two to three touchdown underdog gave the Wolverines their second straight scare by building a 21-7 lead 1:21 into the third quarter on a 34-yard fumble recovery for a score by Ty-Meer Brown.
Rentschler Field was packed and rocking for the first time all year by a fan base that showed up in droves and by a solid group of Wolverine fans would packed one end of the stadium, setting up an electric scene that went out over national television on ABC.
Michigan was led by their red shirt junior quarterback, Devin Gardner who passed for 97 yard and ran for 106.
Gardner is tall (6’4”), fast and hard to take down, a tough assignment for any defense.
The junior would open the scoring with just under two minutes left in the first quarter when he broke free for a 17-yard touchdown run.
After that score, the UConn defense, which played its best overall game despite some late breakdowns, stood toe-to-toe with the mighty Wolverines and turned the momentum ride back in the home teams favor.
UConn’s offense has been a bone of contention all season but the Huskies scored two second quarter touchdowns to take what most thought they would never do; the lead at the half at 14-7.
Midway through the second quarter, UConn put together a drive that seemed to end with a remarkable 39-yard touchdown grab by Geremy Davis but the ruling on the field of a catch was overturned after review.
Davis was charged with picking up some of the slack created when fellow receiver Shakim Phillips was unable to go because of an injury he sustained at the end of the Maryland game on a 75-yard catch and run.
The red shirt junior extended fully on the pass from quarterback Chandler Whitmer in the end zone but it was ruled incomplete.
Nonetheless, UConn would score on that drive six plays later when Whitmer found Spencer Parker for an 11-yard touchdown and a tie game.
The home team would take advantage of a Wolverine muffed punt less than a minute later.
A stalled drive by UConn led to a Cole Wagner punt that was mishandled by Da’Mario Jones and recovered by Obi Melifonwu at the Michigan nine-yard line.
Two plays later, Whitmer found the end zone again this time to Lyle McCombs and the Huskies had their first lead of the game.
Not only was Connecticut putting in their best effort of the season after two quarters, they were but two quarters from pulling off one of the greatest wins in school history.
When Michigan came out of the locker room, you had a feeling the might try to get something done in a hurry to get themselves back in control.
Instead, a fumble by Gardner was picked up by Ty-Meer Brown and run back 34-yards for a score and a 21-7 lead.
Let me repeat that. UConn was leading Michigan by two scores.
Holding on against a school that had a scare a week ago against Akron and came away with the win was not going to be an easy task for the Huskies and it proved to be too difficult to pull off.
The Wolverines scored the game’s final 17-points on touchdown runs of 35 and 12-yards by Fitzgerald Touissant and a 21-yard field goal by Brendan Gibbons to escape The Rent with a win.
Michigan runs its record to 4-0 going into their bye week while the Huskies fall to 0-3 with a trip to Buffalo on tap next Saturday.