Connecticut Huskies running back Martin Hyppolite (25) races down the sidelines to put the Huskies up 17-7 as the Buffalo defense gives chase in the second quarter.

This was one of the those games where you wanted to see the UConn Huskies blow out the team they were playing. It was the final non-conference game against a team in the Buffalo Bulls that has struggled for the most part.

Instead, it was like a roller coaster ride where the Huskies had to hang on for dear life to pull out a 24-17 win over the Bulls in front of 34,666 at Rentschler Field in East Hartford, CT on Saturday afternoon.

A win is a win though as UConn improves to 3-2. Buffalo falls to 1-3.

The Huskies were up by a comfortable margin in the game when things changed. UConn became conservative on offense, not calling the same type of plays that got them out to the lead.

In the meantime, the Bulls turned to a little offensive trickery to get back in the game.

Late in the third quarter, Alex Zordich threw a four yard pass to his top receiver Alex Neutz. He then pitched the ball on the hook and ladder to runnng back Brandon Murie who took it to the house for a touchdown to cut UConn’s lead to 24-14. The Bulls would add a late field goal in the 4th quarter to cut the margin to seven.

They attempted an onsides kick that UConn recovered with 2:23 left in the game. But the Huskies couldn’t get a first down and had to punt the ball away. UConn’s defense came up strong though as Yawin Smallwood stopped Zordich on a fourth down play to secure the win.

It took a few series for the UConn offense to get going but once they did, they looked good again like they did in the second half in last week’s loss. When they let Chandler Whitmer throw the ball, they are a better offense. They actually abandoned the wildcat this week as well.

The offensive line had been much maligned over the past few weeks as they weren’t able to do much with the run block and pass protection. They looked like an entirely different unit though. Pass blocking was much better than last week even with Whitmer getting sacked three times. And the Huskies ran for over 100 yards again this week led by Lyle McCombs’ 97 yards and Martin Hyppolite’s 60 yards.

The Bulls were without their top running back in Brandon Oliver but they still managed to run for 141 yards against one of the nation’s best run defenses. Zordich led the way with 76 yards as the Huskies are still unable to figure out what to do against a running quarterback.

UConn now enters Big East play and if the play calling doesn’t change, it could be a long rest of the season for the Huskies. They can’t just sit back like they did in the second half. They also need to stop running McCombs up the middle. He is and was more effective running outside then inside.

But as a I said above, a win is a win. Three more wins in Big East play and the Huskies are bowl eligible.


Team 1st 2nd 3rd 4th Final
Buffalo Bulls 7 0 7 3 17
UConn Huskies 3 14 7 0 24

1st quarter

CON – 10:10 – Chad Christen 29 Yd Field Goal

BUF – 06:12 – Brandon Murie 4 Yd Run (Patrick Clarke Kick)

2nd quarter

CON – 14:54 – Ryan Griffin 36 Yd Pass From Chandler Whitmer (Chad Christen Kick)

CON – 10:56 – Martin Hyppolite 50 Yd Run (Chad Christen Kick)

3rd quarter

CON – 05:03 Lyle McCombs 2 Yd Run (Chad Christen Kick)

BUF – 00:33 – Brandon Murie 50 Yd Pass From Alex Zordich (Patrick Clarke Kick)

4th quarter

BUF – 02:32 – Patrick Clarke 44 Yd Field Goal

To continue reading, the NC State Wolfpack @ UConn Huskies recap, click on the read more button below if you’re on the home page.

Offensive Player of the Game:

Martin Hyppolite had six rushes for 60 yards, including a touchdown on a 50 yard run

Defensive Player of the Game:

It was Jory Johnson’s turn to have a big game at the linebacker position for the Huskies. He finished the game with 14 tackles (five solo, nine assisted), including two for a total loss of four yards.

Turning Point(s) of the Game:

UConn linebacker Yawin Smallwood gets a grip on Buffalo Bulls quarterback Alex Zordich for a loss of yardage during the fourth quarter at Rentschler Field Saturday afternoon in East Hartford.Yawin Smallwood stopped Buffalo quarterback Alex Zordich on fourth down late in the game to secure the Huskies win.

Offensive Notes:

Chandler Whitmer was 15-of-22 for 227 yards and a touchdown. He was sacked three times. Lyle McCombs had 29 rushes for 97 yards and a touchdown. He also had three catches for 33 yards. Martin Hyppolite had six carries for 60 yards, including a 50 yard touchdown run. Nick Williams led all receivers with four catches for 57 yards. Geremy Davis and Michael Smith each had two catches for 32 yards and 26 yards respectively. Ryan Griffin’s one catch in the game was good for a 36 yard touchdown.

Defensive Notes:

Jory Johnson led the Huskies with 14 tackles (five solo, nine assisted), including two for a loss for four yards. Yawin Smallwood had 11 tackles (five solo, six assisted) while Trevardo Williams had seven tackles and the only sack the Huskies had on the afternoon. Byron Jones had seven tackles and Ty-Meer Brown had the only interception of the day for UConn to go along with his five tackles.

Special Teams Notes:

Sio Moore recovered a fumble when Buffalo punter Tyler Grassman mishandled the snap. Chad Christen made all three of his extra point attempts and made his only field goal attempt from 29 yards. Cole Wagner averaged 34.6 yards on eight points. Five of those punts were downed in side the 20 with one going for a touchback.


There were no injuries that I saw for Huskies.


Referee: Alex Kemp; Umpire: Jim Krogstad; Linesman: Bob Bassett; Line judge: Jeff Szink; Back judge: Dennis Morris; Field judge: John Roggeman; Side judge: Don Swanson

Game Notes:

Buffalo Bulls @ UConn Huskies 9.29.12 box score

Here are the postgame quotes from UConn head coach Paul Pasqualoni and Buffalo head coach Jeff Quinn as well as players from both teams.

UConn’s starters for the game were:


WR 31 Williams, Nick
TE 94 Griffin, Ryan
LT 72 Bennett, Jimmy
LG 69 Greene, Steve
C 50 Bullock, Tyler
RG 63 Masters, Adam
RT 77 Friend, Kevin
QB 10 WHITMER, Chandler.
TB 43 McCombs, Lyle
FB 47 Frank, Reuben
WR 85 Davis, Geremy


DE 48 WILLIAMS, Trevardo.
DT 53 Wirth, Ryan
DT 59 STEPHEN, Shamar
DE 56 Pruitt, Angelo
SLB 3 Moore, Sio
WLB 28 Johnson, Jory
CB 5 WREH-Wilson, Blidi
S 16 Jones, Byron
S 15 Brown, Ty-Meer
CB 7 Gratz, Dwayne

Here are the postgame notes courtesy of the UConn Sports Information department:

  • Redshirt sophomore quarterback Chandler Whitmer completed 15-of-22 passes for 227 yards and a touchdown. He had completions to eight different receivers. His 36-yard pass to redshirt senior tight end Ryan Griffin was a career long for Whitmer.
  • Griffin’s second quarter 36-yard touchdown was his longest reception of the season.  It was his second touchdown of the season and the sixth of his career. The six touchdown receptions place him tied for fifth in career history among all UConn tight ends.
  • Senior Trevardo Williams had a sack in the second quarter. It now gives him 25.5 for his career, ranking him second all-time in Connecticut history and improves him to 34.5 tackles for loss. This places him ninth all time among tackles for loss.  Williams entered the contest seventh in the nation in sacks per game.
  • Redshirt junior Martin Hyppolite’s second quarter touchdown was 50 yards a career long. Prior to that rush he had seven carries for ten yards in his career. Hyppolite finished with a career best 60 yards rushing on six carries.
  • Redshirt sophomore Ty-Meer Brown’s second quarter interception was the fourth of his career.
  • Redshirt junior Punter Cole Wagner’s first punt of the game was down in the 20. He now has eleven punts down inside the 20 this season and four for the game.
  • Redshirt senior linebacker Jory Johnson registered a career high fourteen tackles including two for loss.
  • Redshirt sophomore linebacker Yawin Smallwood, who entered the game first in the BIG EAST and fourth in the nation in tackles, registered 11 in the contest.
  • Redshirt sophomore Lyle McCombs third quarter touchdown is his fourth of the year, and the eleventh of his career.
  • Senior Nick Williams’ four receptions tied his career high set last week at Western Michigan.
  • The win gives the Huskies a record of 19-4 all-time against MAC schools.
  • The touchdown scored by Buffalo in the first quarter, was the first first quarter touchdown allowed by the Huskies this season.
  • The Huskies’ 92-yard drive in the first quarter was the longest of the season for Connecticut.
  • The Huskies played turnover-free football while forcing two turnovers by the Bulls.

Big East Games and Results:

Saturday, September 29

Virginia Tech 24
Cincinnati 27

(4) Florida State 30
South Florida 17

(19) Louisville 21
Southern Miss 17

Things to Work On:

Better game plan if leading. They can’t be conservative like they were in the second half.

Get Martin Hyppolite more carries. He’s a different type of back than Lyle McCombs and could provide a change up to the running game when it’s needed.

Up Next:

UConn heads down to Piscataway, NJ next Saturday to open up Big East play against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights. Kickoff is scheduled for 12 p.m.

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Photo credit: john woike – hartford courant (no. 3, no. 8 in gallery)