12:00 PM ET, October 24, 2009
12:00 PM ET, October 24, 2009
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- Connecticut nearly pulled out a win for Jasper Howard.
Noel Devine's 56-yard touchdown run in the closing minutes lifted West Virginia (No. 23 BCS, No. 22 AP) to a 28-24 win over the Huskies on Saturday in the Huskies' first game since the starting cornerback was fatally stabbed outside a university-sponsored dance a week ago.
• In the first game since the death of Jasper Howard, Connecticut scored on an 88-yard TD reception by Marcus Easley with less than 4 minutes to go (fourth-longest pass play in team history), but West Virginia answered with a 56-yard touchdown run by Noel Devine.
• Devine topped the 100-yard rushing mark for the fifth time in seven games this season.
• Despite suffering a concussion in the previous game, West Virginia QB Jarrett Brown played and had a rushing and passing touchdown.
• Since joining the Big East in 2004, the Mountaineers are the only team in the conference the Huskies have not beaten.
-- ESPN Stats & Information
Devine ran for 171 of his 178 yards in the second half as West Virginia (6-1, 2-0 Big East) overcame the inspired play of the Huskies (4-3, 1-2).
"That's what football is all about -- making big plays when your teammates need you," Devine said.
The determined Huskies outgained the Mountaineers 501-387. Sophomore quarterback Cody Endres threw for a career-high 378 yards and two scores. Marcus Easley caught five passes for a career-high 157 yards, including an 88-yard TD.
"We really wanted to go out and get this win for Jazz, but we came up short," Easley said.
Connecticut was done in by its own second-half miscues. David Teggart missed two field goal tries, and a fumble and three interceptions ended other promising drives.
UConn coach Randy Edsall will fly his team to Howard's funeral Monday in Miami.
"I just feel empty," Edsall said. "The kids played their hearts out and did what we asked them to do. This is a special group of kids. We've got to take this and just learn how to play like this all the time."
West Virginia's Jarrett Brown, returning from a mild concussion sustained last week against Marshall, ran for one score and threw for another. He also threw the lead block that sprang Devine on a 62-yard run late in the third quarter, setting up Brown's 1-yard TD toss to Tyler Urban.
Kent Richardson returned one of Endres' picks 47 yards but fumbled the ball away deep in UConn territory. Endres then found Easley on a crossing route and he went down the left sideline to put the Huskies ahead 24-21 with 3:50 left.
After Devine hugged the right sideline on the go-ahead scoring run with 2:10 left, UConn drove to the West Virginia 33 before Chris Neild intercepted Endres on fourth down.
It was the third time this season that Connecticut couldn't hold a late lead.
"We just couldn't make one more play at the end," Edsall said. "It was a case where we had some big plays against us and some missed opportunities offensively. I'm so proud of these coaches and players, especially the players, for the way they came out and played this game."
Tavon Austin took the opening kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown, the first time that's happened for West Virginia since 2006. But the Mountaineers accomplished little else until late in the first half, thanks in part to UConn's relentless blitz.
Brown struggled early. He was intercepted on the Mountaineers' third offensive possession and recovered his own fumble on the next series.
It took Brown seven series to find his rhythm. He avoided three tackles and completed a 23-yard pass to Alric Arnett, then found Jock Sanders on a screen pass for a 31-yard gain that set up Brown's 5-yard scoring run.
UConn needed just three plays after Frey returned the ensuing kickoff 38 yards to take a 17-14 halftime lead. Endres, who completed 25 of 41 passes, threw a 17-yard scoring pass to Moore, who had held Howard in his arms after the stabbing and helped carry Howard's helmet and jersey from the locker room before kickoff.
The crowd of 58,106 gave Connecticut a standing ovation when the team took the field. A moment of silence was held prior to kickoff and the teams exchanged handshakes. Players from both the teams wore stickers on their helmets in Howard's memory.
"I just couldn't stop thinking about him throughout the game," said UConn running back Andre Dixon.
It was over when... WVU's Chris Neild intercepted Cody Endres' last-hope pass with 48 seconds left and the Huskies down by four.
Gameball goes to... Noel Devine. His 171 second-half yards led WVU in taking back the game from an inspired Huskies squad.
Stat of the game... 501 to 387. UConn's total yards compared to WVU's -- but the Mountaineers still came out on top.
|3rd Down Conversions||7-18||8-16|
|4th Down Conversions||0-1||0-0|
|TD||14:46||Tavon Austin 98 Yd Kickoff Return (Tyler Bitancurt Kick)||0||7|
|TD||05:46||Jordan Todman 5 Yd Run (Dave Teggart Kick)||7||7|
|FG||02:53||Dave Teggart 38 Yd||10||7|
|TD||00:49||Jarrett Brown 5 Yd Run (Tyler Bitancurt Kick)||10||14|
|TD||00:21||Kashif Moore 17 Yd Pass From Cody Endres (Dave Teggart Kick)||17||14|
|TD||02:55||Tyler Urban 1 Yd Pass From Jarrett Brown (Tyler Bitancurt Kick)||17||21|
|TD||03:50||Marcus Easley 88 Yd Pass From Cody Endres (Dave Teggart Kick)||24||21|
|TD||02:10||Noel Devine 56 Yd Run (Tyler Bitancurt Kick)||24||28|