Paul Pasqualoni could happily relate in watching receiver Nick Williams' speed and shifty ability elude one Buffalo tackler after another in sparking Connecticut's 17-3 win on Saturday night.
Earlier in the evening, the UConn coach proved to be quite the escape artist as well. Just three hours before kickoff, Pasqualoni spent an hour stuck in a hotel elevator before workers dropped a ladder through the roof to let him climb out.
"It just stopped cold, and it wasn't a good feeling," Pasqualoni said, with a relieved smile following the victory that snapped Connecticut's two-game skid. "I thought it was interesting when the engineer said, `When you get to the top, don't step to the left because it's a long drop."'
The Big East Conference's Huskies (2-2) are suddenly riding a little higher thanks to Williams, who had two catches for a career-best 113 yards. His first catch, a 64-yarder, led to Mark Hinkley's 4-yard touchdown catch that put UConn up 10-3 with 15 seconds left in the first half.
Williams then sealed the win by catching Johnny McEntee's short pass over the middle, before breaking Najja Johnson's tackle, and running it in for a 49-yard touchdown with 4:52 remaining.
"I couldn't tell you what his 40-yard dash is, but boy, it looked fast when he had that ball," Pasqualoni said.
For Williams, the nation's kickoff return leader last year, it was a chance to finally show he could contribute on offense.
"I had high hopes coming into the season that I'd be able to help out the team a little more than I have recently," Williams said. "So it was a good feeling to finally make a catch and have a little bit more of an impact."
McEntee, a junior walk-on, took a step forward in securing the starting job by finishing 12 of 21 for 213 yards and two touchdowns. In the midst of a three-way competition, McEntee had the majority of playing time in his fourth straight start.
The Huskies' defense did the rest in helping UConn extend its win streak over Buffalo to seven games -- a stretch that includes a win in the 2009 International Bowl. Yawin Smallwood had an interception in the end zone early in the third quarter as part of a defense that held the Bulls to scoring only 3 points from three trips into the red zone.
Buffalo (1-3), which has lost 10 of its last 11, also missed on a field-goal attempt in the first half when Peter Fardon's 30-yarder went wide left.
"That's unacceptable," coach Jeff Quinn said. "We struggled. Quarterback play was not where we needed it."
Chazz Anderson, a fifth-year senior, finished 18 of 39 for 193 yards passing in a game the Bulls had the edge in yards of offense (319-293) and first downs (16-13). Marcus Rivers had nine catches for 94 yards.
The Bulls defense proved stout in limiting the run-oriented Huskies to 80 yards rushing.
"We were right there. We shut them down for most of the game except for two plays," defensive end Gordon DuBois said. "We had them right where we needed them to be."
The Huskies proved elusive, thanks to Williams.
With the game tied at 3, Williams caught a pass on a short crossing route over the middle. He shook off an attempted tackle by Buffalo defensive back Isaac Baugh and then burst free up the middle before being caught from behind for a 64-yard gain. It was UConn's longest completion of the season.
Williams' touchdown came on a very similar play. This time cutting from the right over the middle, he caught the ball and escaped the grasp of Johnson, who got both arms around him. Williams cut back to his right and made it to the end zone.
"We caught them in the same coverage again, same deal trying to make one guy miss," Williams said. "That one, luckily I didn't get caught behind because then I would be hearing that for the next couple of weeks."
Williams didn't know about his coach's adventure in the elevator until after the game.
"That's news to me," he said. "No way. Wow."
Pasqualoni never panicked. He and the other people stuck in the elevator with him spent the time checking college scores on their cell phones.
"It's a good lesson on always leave early. I knew eventually we'd get out of there. I was confident we'd be here by the kickoff," he said.
UConn also played without starting junior cornerback Jerome Junior, who stayed at home serving a suspension for what Pasqualoni said was a violation of team policy. Pasqualoni wouldn't say what Junior did, and added he'll determine whether the player will be allowed to return for UConn's game against Western Michigan next weekend.