Special Teams, Defense Bail Out UConn in 19-16 Win Over Stony Brook

UConn PR Deshon Foxx looks for the end zone ahead of him in the third quarter against the Stony Brook Seawolves on September 6, 2014 at Rentschler Field in East Hartford, CT.

UConn PR #4 Deshon Foxx looks for the end zone ahead of him in the third quarter against the Stony Brook Seawolves on September 6, 2014 at Rentschler Field in East Hartford, CT.

If it weren’t for the play of the UConn Huskies special teams and defense, Saturday’s game could have possibly been their second straight loss to an FCS school.

Deshon Foxx‘s 72 yard punt return in the third quarter change the momentum of the game and help the Huskies to a 19-16 win over the Stony Brook Seawolves in front of 23,543 fans at a very muggy Rentschler Field in East Hartford, CT.

It’s the first career win for new head coach Bob Diaco as his team improves to 1-1. The Seawolves fall to 0-2.

Offensively UConn wasn’t able to do much as Stony Brook packed the defense in at the line.

Fortunately Foxx bailed them out after Seawolves punter Luke Allen boomed a 61 yard punt over his head. A good bounce went Foxx’s way and he and his blockers did the rest as he found the back of the end zone to put UConn up 19-10.

“Honestly, when it came off their punter’s foot I said to the guy next to me ‘he just outkicked his coverage’,” Diaco said. “That is a nightmare for the special teams coach when the punter hits a ball like that. It becomes a problem because now everything is on different levels.”

“I got a lucky bounce and I noticed I had a lot of space in front of me,” said Foxx. “I was just able to make one guy miss and then there it was.”

The UConn defense, especially the defensive line put constant pressure on Stony Brooks quarterbacks John Kinder and Conor Bednarski. They forced the duo to have to rush their passes or flushed them out of the pocket into short runs for little to no gain.

And while the defense did allow a touchdown that got the Seawolves to within three points, they forced them to use five minutes and 46 seconds of the clock on 14 plays. With two time outs left, Stony Brook was forced to go for the onsides kick but it was recovered by Geremy Davis.

UConn’s offense was then stopped but their defense stepped up again and forced the Seawolves out on downs late in the game to secure the win.

“The team today showed a lot of grit and grind,” said Diaco. “Our brotherhood and culture shined through and they were able to play hard for four quarters. They gave it all they had and finished strong.”

“They were able to withstand adversity early and not wilt and give it the old ‘here we go again’ mentality, which could easily plague a group. So the culture is growing and their lifestyles are strong as they are doing things the right way.”

Scoring:

Team 1st 2nd 3rd 4th Final
Stony Brook Seawolves
10 0 0 6 16
UConn Huskies 3 9 7 0 19

1st quarter

CON – 12:44 – Bobby Puyol 42 Yd Field Goal

SB – 7:54 – Naim Cheeseboro 0 Yd Fumble Return (Przemyslaw Popek Kick)

SB – 2:14 – Przemyslaw Popek 33 Yd Field Goal

2nd quarter

CON – 11:45 – Bobby Puyol 27 Yd Field Goal

CON – 1:51 – Geremy Davis 30 Yd pass from Chandler Whitmer (Bobby Puyol PAT blocked)

3rd quarter

CON – 9:22 – Deshon Foxx 72 Yd Punt Return (Bobby Puyol Kick)

4th quarter

SB – 1:53 – Will Tye 14 Yd pass from Conor Bednarski (Przemyslaw Popek PAT failed)

Offensive Players of the Game:

Geremy Davis had six catches for 113 yards and a touchdown.

Defensive Player of the Game:

I’m giving this to the whole defensive line. They put a ton of pressure on both of Stony Brooks quarterbacks all day long.

Turning Point(s) of the Game:

Deshon Foxx’s  72 yard punt return in the third quarter for a touchdown put the Huskies in front for good.

Offensive Notes:

Chandler Whitmer started in place of the injured Casey Cochran and was 12-of-27 for 142 yards and a touchdown. He was also UConn’s leading rusher with 29 yards. Max DeLorenzo and Arkeel Newsome both finished with 23 yards. DeLorenzo also had a catch for 17 yards. Geremy Davis had six catches for 113 yards and a touchdown.

Defensive Notes:

Marquise Vann and Obi Melifonwu led UConn with nine tackles. Graham Stewart had seven tackles. Mikal Myers had four tackles including two for a loss. He also had UConn’s only sack.

Special Teams Notes:

Bobby Puyol made both of his field goals (42 and 27). He had a PAT blocked. Justin Wain had nine punts that averaged 41.8 yards. Six of those were downed inside the 20. Deshon Foxx had three punt returns for 85 yards including a 72 yarder for a touchdown.

Game Notes:

Stony Brook Seawolves @ UConn Huskies 9/6/14 box score

Here are the postgame quotes from UConn head coach Bob Diaco and Stony Brook head coach Chuck Priore.

Here are the postgame notes courtesy of the UConn Athletic Communications Department:

  • Saturday marked the first game between Stony Brook and UConn.
  • UConn is now 49-25 all-time at Rentschler field and 27-12 in non-conference games there.
  • Geremy Davis made six catches for 113 yards. He now has at least one reception in 28 straight games, tied for the eighth-longest streak in the FBS. His second quarter touchdown was the fifth of his career, and he recorded his sixth career 100-yard game.
  • Davis moved into 7th in UConn history, now with 1,963 career receiving yards.
  • Bobby Puyol’s 42-yard field goal in the first quarter was the longest of his career.
  • Justin Wain’s 46-yard punt in the first quarter was the longest of his career. Overall, he punted nine times for an average of 41.8 yards
  • Jazzmar Clax made his first career reception in the first quarter.
  • Arkeel Newsome picked up a 22-yard rush in the first quarter, the longest run of his career. Overall, he carried five times for 23 yards.
  • Deshon Foxx returned a punt 72 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter. It was UConn’s first punt return for a score since Nick Williams took one 80 yards against Pittsburgh on Nov. 9, 2012.
  • It also marked the first punt return for a touchdown against Stony Brook since Elon’s Karlos Sullivan on Sept. 6, 2008.
  • UConn held Stony Brook 3-for-18 on third downs. That is the best performance since the Huskies held Vanderbilt 2-for-16 on Sept. 10, 2011.
  • Chandler Whitmer led UConn with 29 yards rushing. It was the first time a quarterback led the Huskies in rushing since Scott McCummings (40) on Nov. 19, 2011 vs. Louisville.
  • Whitmer passed for 142 yards, giving him 3,820 in his career. That mark is eighth in UConn history.

Injuries:

Joshua Marriner suffered an upper body injury on a kickoff return in the 1st quarter and did not return.

AAC Games and Results:

Saturday, September 6

SMU 6
North Texas 43

Navy 31
Temple 24

Oklahoma 52
Tulsa 7

Maryland 24
South Florida 17

Georgia Tech 38
Tulane 21

East Carolina 16
(21) South Carolina 30

Grambling State
Houston, 8 p.m.

Memphis
(11) UCLA, 10 p.m.

Things to Work On:

  • Continue to work with the offensive line as they were ineffective
  • Even though UConn won, they need to continue to eliminate the things that cause losing

Up Next:

UConn is back at home again next Saturday, September 13 as they’ll host the Boise State Broncos at the Rent at 12 p.m.

photo credit: ian bethune – sox & dawgs

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