David Pindell threw for 308 yards and four touchdowns and ran for 137 yards and two more as UConn outscored Rhode Island 56-49 on Saturday.
Pindell outdueled Rhode Island quarterback JuJuan Lawson, who threw for 351 yards and four scores and ran for 85 yards and two TDs for the Rams.
The teams combined for 1,123 yards of offense.
The Huskies (1-2), who had three touchdowns in their first two games, got into the end zone on all six of their drives in the first half, including a 74-yard strike from Pindell to freshman Heron Maurisseau who found himself wide open in the middle of the field for his first collegiate score. They led 42-28 at the break.
Rhode Island (2-1) tied the game at 49 with just over 3 minutes left on a 14-yard run by Naim Jones, who pushed UConn defensive back Messiah Turner into the end zone.
But UConn running back Kevin Mensah (144 yards) scored the winning touchdown, breaking up the middle for 22 yards with under a minute to go.
Rhode Island drove to the UConn 16 with 11 seconds left, but defensive back Eli Thomas sacked Lawson to end the game.
URI: The Rams, who have had 16 straight losing seasons, showed they have the offense to break that streak this year. ... Rhode Island has just one win over an FBS program, a 26-21 win over UConn in 2000 when the Huskies were transitioning from what was then I-AA.
UConn: After being outscored 118-24 against No. 18 UCF and No. 17 Boise State, the Huskies needed a bounce-back game. Pindell responded with career highs in passing, passing touchdowns and rushing touchdowns. But the Huskies, who came in giving up an average of 753 yards in its first two games, allowed 550 in this one, 307 in the first half.
Rhode Island: The Rams return to the FCS with a game at Harvard.
UConn: The Huskies travel to Syracuse in a matchup of former Big East teams.