7:00 PM ET, September 22, 2007
Heinz Field, PITTSBURGH, PA
PITTSBURGH (AP) -- Connecticut turned two turnovers by ineffective Pitt quarterback Kevan Smith and another by backup Pat Bostick into 17 points and the Huskies remained unbeaten with a surprisingly easy 34-14 victory on Saturday night.
Tyler Lorenzen directed two first-half touchdown drives and the Huskies (4-0, 1-0 in Big East) beat Pitt (2-2, 0-1) for the second season in a row and the third time in four seasons since joining the Big East in football. Neither of those previous defeats were this bad for Pitt. The Panthers fell behind 34-7 while being dominated on their home field in a game they were favored to win by more than a touchdown.
Pitt's offense hasn't been the same since starting quarterback Bill Stull injured a thumb in the season opener, forcing redshirt freshman Smith to start far ahead of schedule. Smith was 3-for-9 for 29 yards while being sacked twice, throwing an interception and losing a fumble before being benched as Pitt trailed 27-7 at halftime.
Bostick, a Pennsylvania high school star a year ago, took over in the second half and managed to go 27-of-41 for 230 yards, one for a touchdown, but threw three more interceptions -- including on Lawrence Wilson returned 51 yards for a touchdown.
Pitt fell to 13-14 under third-year coach Dave Wannstedt, but none of the previous defeats was as poorly received by the fans as this one.
UConn's other victories this season were over Duke, Maine and Temple -- hardly a difficult schedule -- and the Huskies had to struggle to beat the winless Owls last week. But this couldn't have been much easier, before a small and unhappy Pitt crowd that began booing when Smith was intercepted on the third play of the game.
Pitt freshman LeSean McCoy, coming off a 172-yard performance at Michigan State in only his third college game, carried three times for 44 yards and completed an 18-yard pass to Nate Byham on a drive that briefly cut UConn's lead to 10-7.
McCoy touched the ball again only once more the rest of the half and finished with 70 yards on only 11 carries and a fumble.
D.J. Hernandez, who threw four touchdowns passes and ran for 130 yards in UConn's 46-45 overtime win over Pitt a season ago but is now a receiver, had two catches for 41 yards on 60-yard drive that ended with Donald Brown's 4-yard TD run with about 5 1/2 minutes left in the second quarter. Brown has three TD runs against Pitt the last two seasons.
Pitt had its usual three-and-out on its next possession, and Lorenzen drove UConn 69 yards for Lou Allen's second 1-yard TD run of the game and a 24-7 lead. Lorenzen was 3-for-3 for 53 yards and ran 4 yards for a first down on the drive and finished 12-of-25 for 174 yards.
Allen also scored less than two minutes into the game, after Smith was intercepted by Danny Lansanah on the third play of the game and returned it 26 yards to the Pitt 6.
Tony Ciaravino kicked two field goals in the first half, including a 39-yarder after Smith fumbled with 25 seconds left in the half. UConn scored 17 points in slightly more than 5 1/2 minutes to end the half.
Pitt failed to convert on its first seven third-down opportunities, running its three game streak to 0-for-22 until finally converting in the third quarter.
The crowd was announced at 40,145, but the turnout appeared to be less than half that.
Team Stat Comparison
|3rd Down Conversions||7-17||4-17|
|4th Down Conversions||0-0||2-3|
|TD||13:11||Lou Allen 1 Yd Run (Tony Ciaravino Kick) |
Drive: 3 plays, 7 yds, :09
|FG||03:35||Tony Ciaravino 26 Yd |
Drive: 15 plays, 75 yds, 6:25
|TD||09:20||Lesean Mccoy 19 Yd Run (Conor Lee Kick) |
Drive: 4 plays, 62 yds, 1:40
|TD||05:38||Donald Brown 3 Yd Run (Tony Ciaravino Kick) |
Drive: 8 plays, 60 yds, 3:36
|TD||00:32||Lou Allen 1 Yd Run (Tony Ciaravino Kick) |
Drive: 9 plays, 70 yds, 4:00
|FG||00:00||Tony Ciaravino 39 Yd |
Drive: 3 plays, 8 yds, :17
|TD||13:28||Lawrence Wilson 51 Yd Interception Return (Tony Ciaravino Kick)||34||7|
|TD||04:35||Oderick Turner 21 Yd Pass From Pat Bostick (Conor Lee Kick) |
Drive: 10 plays, 86 yds, 3:26