for this game

McCoy, Pittsburgh end regular season on high note

Dec 6, 2008 - 10:50 PM EAST HARTFORD, Connecticut (Ticker) -- Pittsburgh could not stop Connecticut workhorse running back Donald Brown, but it took advantage of dismal quarterback play from the Huskies to gain a share of second place in the Big East Conference.

LeSean McCoy's 47-yard touchdown run ignited a 24-point third quarter Saturday that carried 23rd-ranked Pittsburgh to a 34-10 victory over Connecticut in the regular-season finale for both teams.

Capitalizing on five interceptions, Pittsburgh (9-3, 5-2 Big East) reached nine wins for the first time since 2002 and accepted an invitation to the Sun Bowl following the game.

"I want to start by congratulating this group of players we have," Panthers coach Dave Wannstedt said. "They played like champions all year. For them to win nine games and top it of with an invitation to the Sun Bowl, it's a great day for Pitt football."

After the teams combined for just two field goals and nine punts in the first half, the Panthers broke it open in the third quarter for their fourth victory in five games.

The touchdown by McCoy, who finished with 95 yards on 24 attempts, snapped a 3-3 tie. Bill Stull threw a pair of TDs in the quarter to extend the Panthers' lead to 27-10.

McCoy's touchdown was his 21st of the season, tying him with Michigan State's Javon Ringer for second in the FBS behind Ball State's MiQuale Lewis, who has 22.

Brown, UConn's all-time leading rusher, ran for 189 yards and a touchdown on 34 carries to finish the regular season as the leading rusher in the Football Bowl Subdivision with 1,822 yards.

However, Brown was virtually a one-man attack for the Huskies (7-5, 3-4), who reportedly will play Mid-American Conference champion Buffalo in the International Bowl.

UConn senior quarterback Tyler Lorenzen had a miserable outing in his final home appearance and was benched in the fourth quarter after completing just four of his first 21 passes for a meager 22 yards and two interceptions.

"It just stinks, there is no doubt about it," Lorenzen said. "This is not how we pictured it to happen but then again, it's sports. It is not like we are out there shooting at each other; it is not like we are at war. Some games you play great and you win and some games you play bad and you lose."

Lorenzen's replacement, Zach Frazer, threw three interceptions - one in the red zone and one that was returned 20 yards for a touchdown by Greg Williams to complete the scoring.

"It (the five interceptions) was almost as many as the Super Bowl in '92 against Buffalo, when I was defensive coordinator for Dallas, where we had nine, so we needed a few more to keep that up," Wannstedt added.

Lorenzen later returned and completed two passes so that the Huskies finished with more completions (six) than interceptions (five). Lorenzen ended his nightmarish afternoon 6-of-27 for 80 yards.

"It was a great team effort today," Pittsburgh linebacker Scott McKillop said. "We played one of our best games all season. That's one of things that Coach Wannstedt always stresses - try and play your best football at the end of the season."

After McCoy's touchdown, Greg Williams returned Lorenzen's interception 41 yards to the Huskies' 6-yard line, setting up Connor Lee's 21-yard field goal.

Brown ripped off a 57-yard TD run on the Huskies' ensuing possession to make it 13-10, but Stull answered with TD tosses of 61 yards to Derek Kinder and 28 yards to Nate Byham.