Brown Leads UConn To Bowl Win
TORONTO (AP) - Donald Brown and a stout defense helped Connecticut overcome a fumble-prone performance.
Brown, the nation's leading rusher, ran for a career-best 261 yards - including 208 in the first half - and scored a touchdown in what might be his final college game, and UConn defeated Buffalo 38-20 in the International Bowl on Saturday.
The Huskies (8-5) overcame five first-half turnovers and a 20-10 deficit to win their second bowl game in three appearances since joining the Big East in 2004.
The Mid-American champion Bulls (8-6) had their breakout season under coach Turner Gill end with a loss in their bowl debut. James Starks scored on a 4-yard run for the Bulls, who scored all 20 points off turnovers, but were unable to get their potent offense in gear.
The Huskies went ahead for good 10 minutes into the third quarter when Tyler Lorenzen completed his first pass, a 4-yarder to tight end Steve Brouse for a 24-20 lead. After Lorenzen scored on a 15-yard scamper with 4:44 left, Huskies linebacker Dahna Deleston dealt the final blow. He returned Drew Willy's interception 100 yards for a touchdown with 2:15 remaining.
The touchdown - matching the longest interception return in UConn history - ended Buffalo's final chance to get back into the game, coming when Willy's attempt to Naaman Roosevelt at the goal line bounced off the receiver's hands and to Deleston. The score rewarded the Huskies' defense for a strong effort. UConn limited Buffalo to a mere 237 yards and 10 first downs - and five through three quarters.
Brown, on the other hand, was unstoppable. Only Huskies coach Randy Edsall's decision to get some of his other runners involved in the second half, kept Brown's totals down.
The talented junior scored on a 45-yard run, and his 75-yarder was a career high and set up Lorenzen's 12-yard touchdown run late in the first half.
Brown's 18th TD of the season set a single-season school record. He fell 17 yards short of UConn's single-game rushing record, set by Nick Giaquinto in 1976. He also fell short of the International Bowl mark of 280 set last year set by Rutgers' Ray Rice.
After vowing last month that he would return for his senior season, Brown is mulling whether to apply for the NFL draft in April.
The Huskies opened the game looking much like the team that committed five turnovers in a regular season-ending 34-10 loss to Pittsburgh. The first half was a comedy of errors in which the Huskies muffed two punts and a kickoff and also lost two of three fumbles.
Buffalo's Ray Anthony Long recovered Jasper Howard's muffed punt in the end zone. Howard failed to make an over-the-shoulder catch of Peter Fardon's punt at the UConn 13, and then inadvertently kicked the ball into the end zone.
Starks' score came after another Huskies' miscue. Robbie Frey had a kickoff go off his hand and into the end zone.
Rather than downing the ball for what would've been a touchback, Frey ran the ball out and had it jarred loose by Justin Winters and recovered by Buffalo's John Syty at the UConn 4.
Among those in attendance were about two-dozen members of Buffalo's 1958 team, the players wearing UB jerseys and lining up on the Bulls' sideline during the national anthem, and took the field during the captains' meeting. The players were honored guests, and noted for their stand for rejecting Buffalo's only other bowl bid 50 years ago because of a rule that barred black players from competing with whites on the same field at the Tangerine Bowl.