UConn Tops Army 22-17 - NBC Connecticut
Dog House
A home for all things Huskies

UConn Tops Army 22-17

    processing...

    NEWSLETTERS

    The Best Holiday Gifts of 2017
    NBCConnecticut.com

     It took UConn two games this season to match its win total from all of last year.

    Quarterback Bryant Shirreffs threw for 270 yards and the Huskies got touchdown runs from Arkeel Newsome and Ron Johnson to beat Army 22-17 on Saturday.

    The win gives UConn its first 2-0 start since 2008.

    "All we want to do is win," said Shirreffs. "It's, I guess, what we expect. But, it's really good to see what you envision become a reality."

    The loss drops the Black Knights to 0-2 for the first time since 2012.

    Army's Ahmad Bradshaw rushed for 129 yards, including a 56-yard first-half touchdown. His backup, A.J. Schurr, threw a 71-yard touchdown to Joe Walker in the fourth quarter to make the game close.

    But safety Andrew Adams intercepted a pass with 2:21 left and the Huskies ran the clock out.

    "Adversity isn't really affecting them for extended periods of time," coach Bob Diaco said. "They're bought in to, 'Hey, somebody make a play, somebody step up.' "

    UConn receiver Noel Thomas caught four balls for 83 yards and kicker Bobby Puyol hit three field goals.

    UConn was just 2-10 last year, including a 35-21 setback to Army at Yankee Stadium in which the Huskies gave up 330 yards on the ground.

    Twenty-one of the 22 defensive players on UConn's depth chart played against Army's triple option in that game. They held the Black Knights to 180 yards rushing on Saturday.

    "We've been working on this since camp," said UConn linebacker Graham Stewart. "Having a year under your belt really helps."

    The Huskies outgained Army 415 yards to 265, and held onto the ball for 39 minutes.

    UConn led 12-10 at the half, sandwiching a 10-yard touchdown run from Newsome around two short Bobby Puyol field goals.

    Safety Obi Melifonwu sniffed out a misdirection pitch to Army's DeAndre Bell on a fourth down and made an open-field tackle to set up UConn's 62-yard touchdown drive early in the second half.

    Shirreffs completed 19 of 25 passes. His 32-yard throw to freshman Tyraiq Beals set up a 2-yard touchdown run from Johnson that made it 19-10.

    A 39-yard field goal from Puyol put UConn up by 12.

    That's when Schurr came into the game. Army had just five yards passing on two attempts before he went long to Walker, who out-jumped Melifonwu and raced down the left sideline with just under five minutes left to cut UConn's lead to 22-17.

    But Army could not get the ball back after Shurr's pass into coverage ended up with Adams.

    "It hurts a lot," said Army linebacker Andrew King, who finished the game with three sacks and nine tackles, 4 1/2 for loss. "We didn't do the things we need to do to win."

    Newsome rushed 13 times for 73 yards for UConn, while Johnson added 39 yards on 18 carries, and Shirreffs had 31 yards on the ground.

    But the quarterback's fumble at midfield on UConn's opening drive helped give Army an early 3-0 lead when Daniel Grochowski connected on a 41-yard field goal.

    The Huskies then used an 11-play, 69-yard drive to tie the game on a 23-yard kick.

    Army took the lead back in the second quarter. After a taunting penalty on Melifonwu gave the Black Knights first down at their 44, Bradshaw kept the ball, ran through the middle of the Husky defense, then cut right and outran the secondary for his touchdown.

    Newsome's touchdown run capped a 75-yard Husky drive. But for the second consecutive week, UConn had an extra point blocked, and trailed 10-9.

    On the final drive of the half, Noel Thomas followed up a diving 33-yard catch, with a 26-yarder after a screen play to set up Puyol's 25-yard kick.

    UConn had not won back-to-back games since the end of the 2013 season, when the team won three in a row.