UConn beats South Florida 29-27 on last-second FGDec 6, 2009 - 5:37 AM By PAT EATON-ROBB Associated Press Writer
EAST HARTFORD, Conn.(AP) -- Connecticut lost five games this season by a total of 15 points.
They didn't let South Florida make it six by 16.
Dave Teggart kicked a 42-yard field goal as time expired and Connecticut beat the Bulls 29-27 on Saturday night, finishing a season marred by the tragic death of teammate Jasper Howard with three consecutive wins.
"These kids are unbelievable," coach Randy Edsall said. "They just never gave up. They never stopped playing until the final whistle."
UConn (7-5, 3-4 Big East) drove 31 yards in six plays to set up the kick by Teggart, who had a field goal blocked earlier in the quarter.
"It's so emotional to see these guys out there playing their hearts out, especially in a game like this where it comes down to the end," Teggart said. "All those guys, all those seniors depending on you, and I was glad I could come through for those guys. It means a lot to me to send them out with a win."
Zach Frazer threw for 225 yards and two touchdowns, completing 20 of 30 passes in a light but steady snow. Marcus Easley caught eight of those passes for 122 yards and a score.
B.J. Daniels ran for three touchdowns for South Florida (7-5, 3-4), including an 8-yard run that gave the Bulls a 27-26 lead with just 40 seconds to play.
USF, which started the season 5-0, finished with five losses in its last seven games.
Both teams are expected to received bowl bids.
Daniels, who ran for 88 yards, completed 11 of 16 passes for 160 yards, and almost brought South Florida all the way back from a 20-7 third-quarter deficit.
Trailing 26-21 with 4 minutes left, he led the Bulls down the field, hitting Carlton Mitchell for 20 yards on fourth-and-2 at the UConn 28 to set up his final touchdown run.
But the Bulls failed on a two-point conversion attempt, when Daniels' pass to the back of the end zone fell incomplete.
"With 40 seconds left, I knew it was going to be tough," said South Florida coach Jim Leavitt. "I really wanted that two-point conversion, because I knew they were probably going to get it on a short field with the wind. I knew that probably would happen."
The backs for both teams had a tough time cutting on the slippery field. Connecticut's tailback tandem of Jordan Todman and Andre Dixon combined for 123 yards.
Mike Ford had 74 yards on 20 carries for USF.
The teams went back and forth for much of the fourth quarter.
Daniels' 27-yard touchdown run with just over 8 minutes left gave South Florida a 21-20 lead. He also had a 2-yard score in the third quarter that was set up by a 36-yard pass to Jessie Hester.
Trailing 21-20, Frazer led the Huskies on an 11-play, 59-yard drive that ended with Dixon taking the ball a yard off right tackle for the touchdown.
The Huskies failed on the 2-point conversion attempt, when Frazer overthrew a wide-open Easley after faking a Statue of Liberty play.
"We just make it tough on ourselves, but everything we've been through ... being able to end games and close games out is a tribute to our hard work and playing every play like it's our last play."
Dixon had two touchdown runs and 50 yards rushing, leaving him just 33 yards from 1,000 for the season. Todman rushed 16 times for 73 yards.
UConn led 6-0 after a quarter despite having the ball for just over 2 minutes.
Their scoring drive took 33 seconds and just two plays. Frazer found Easley over the middle for a 44-yard completion, and Dixon swept into the end zone from 12 yards out. UConn holder Desi Cullen dropped the snap on the extra point.
South Florida held the ball for over 20 minutes in the first half but scored just seven points.
The Bulls' lone scoring drive went 80 plays, taking up 4 1/2 minutes of the second quarter. Ford, who had 12 carries in the half, took the ball in from 14 yards for the score.
UConn drove right back down the field in less than 2 minutes. Easley made three catches, including a 21-yarder in the back of the end zone, and Connecticut went into the half up 13-7.
It was the senior's eighth touchdown catch of the season after going without a touchdown in the first 26 games of his career. He has one touchdown in each of the Huskies' Big East games this year.
South Florida's Carlton Mitchell had 4 catches for 49 yards, passing Hugh Smith for the most receiving yards in a career at the school.
UConn went up 20-7 in the third quarter on a 5-yard pass from Frazer to Isiah Moore.
After losing three straight in the wake of the Oct. 18 stabbing death of Howard, UConn has turned its season around, beating Notre Dame and Syracuse before this win, which assures the Huskies of a winning season.
"The thing that sticks out is just how these kids didn't succumb to the issues that maybe people thought they couldn't get over," Edsall said. "They just exceeded my expectations."
- NCAAF FINAL
1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
--- --- --- --- -----
SOUFLA 0 7 7 13 27
UCONN 6 7 7 9 29 FINAL
1ST QUARTER: CONNECTICU - TD, ANDRE DIXON 12 YD RUN
(TWO-POINT RUN CONVERSION
FAILED), 10:23. UCONN 6-0
2ND QUARTER: SOUTH FLOR - TD, MIKE FORD 14 YD RUN (ERIC
SCHWARTZ KICK), 12:27. SOUFLA
Dec 5 11:15 PM
UCONN 29 0:00 LEFT, 4TH QTR
South Florida 27, Connecticut 29 End of Reg.Dec 5 11:15 PM
TD SOUTH FLORIDA
B.J. DANIELS 8 YD RUN
(TWO-POINT PASS CONVERSION FAILED)
UCONN 26 0:40 LEFT, 4TH QTR
South Florida 27, Connecticut 26 4th - 0:40Dec 5 11:08 PM
ANDRE DIXON 1 YD RUN
(TWO-POINT PASS CONVERSION FAILED)
UCONN 26 4:02 LEFT, 4TH QTR
South Florida 21, Connecticut 26 4th - 4:02Dec 5 10:54 PM
UCONN 20 8:05 LEFT, 4TH QTR
South Florida 21, Connecticut 20 4th - 8:05Dec 5 10:40 PM
UCONN 20 0:00 LEFT, 3RD QTR
Dec 5 10:23 PM
UCONN 20 3:19 LEFT, 3RD QTR
South Florida 14, Connecticut 20 3rd - 3:19Dec 5 10:14 PM
UCONN 20 6:18 LEFT, 3RD QTR
South Florida 7, Connecticut 20 3rd - 6:18Dec 5 10:06 PM
UCONN 13 0:00 LEFT, 2ND QTR
Dec 5 9:27 PM
UCONN 13 0:35 LEFT, 2ND QTR
South Florida 7, Connecticut 13 2nd - 0:35Dec 5 9:21 PM
UCONN 6 2:33 LEFT, 2ND QTR
South Florida 7, Connecticut 6 2nd - 2:33Dec 5 9:14 PM
UCONN 6 0:00 LEFT, 1ST QTR
Dec 5 8:40 PM
UCONN 6 4:37 LEFT, 1ST QTR
South Florida 0, Connecticut 6 1st - 4:37Dec 5 8:32 PM
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