PISCATAWAY, N.J. (AP) -- Put Connecticut on the football map,
Dan Orlovsky threw three touchdowns and Connecticut virtually
assured itself of a bowl bid in its first season as a football
member of the Big East Conference with a wild 41-35 victory over
Rutgers on Thursday.
"Now we know we are going to be going somewhere," coach Randy
Edsall said after the Huskies (7-4, 3-3) solidified their bowl
credentials. "Gosh! December 21, 1998, I could have never
As soon as the words come out of his mouth, Edsall choked with
emotion, referring to the day he was hired and asked to build
Connecticut into a Division 1-A program.
"I think this is monumental," Edsall said. "This is another
milestone. It seems like we keep having milestones upon milestones
with this program because of the kids and coaches in that room."
The Big East is in the BCS mix and it has agreements with the
Gator Bowl, the Continental Tire Bowl and the Insight Bowl.
Connecticut athletic director Jeff Hathaway, whose school won
the men's and women's NCAA basketball titles last season, planned
to talk with bowl representatives over the next few days. He hopes
to make a bowl announcement soon.
"I think people believe the UConn brand is very powerful, very
strong and recognized nationwide for a variety of sports," said
Hathaway, who had tears in his eyes. "We have been blessed to go
to a lot of Final Fours and moved the tickets. I think the bowls
believe in us."
Tight end Dan Murray caught touchdown passes of 32 and 3 yards
and halfback Cornell Brockington ran for two more and caught
another scoring pass playing only a half because of a shoulder
Chris Bellamy also scored on 2-yard run as Connecticut sent
Rutgers (4-7, 1-5) to its fifth straight loss in a season that
began with hopes of a first bowl bid since 1978.
"We knew we had to be 7-4 to definitely secure a bowl,"
Bellamy said. "Me as a senior, that was my dream to go to a
Tres Moses capped a record season at Rutgers, scoring on
touchdown passes of 87 and 16 yards. He finished with seven catches
for 168 yards.
Brian Leonard ran for a touchdown and Willie Foster made the
game interesting with an 80-yard kickoff return for a score with
2:14 to play to close the lead to six points.
However, Connecticut recovered the onside kick and ran out the
clock. Orlovsky took a knee after the final snap and pumped his
"This has been a long road and a long process, and we're here
today, Nov. 25, and we're going bowling," said Orlovsky, who gave
UConn the lead for good and broke a 28-all tie with his 32-yard TD
pass to Murray in the third quarter.
Connecticut outgained 489 yards to 454 with Orlovsky finishing
19-of-30 for 264 yards and two interceptions.
Rutgers quarterback Ryan Hart was 26-of-33 for 279 yards and two
TDs, including a 13-yarder to Marcus Daniels that tied the game at
21 just before halftime.
Scarlet Knights backup quarterback Terrence Shawell threw the
87-yard scoring pass to Moses, who set school records for catches
(81) and yards (1,056).
"I performed well, but this is a team," Moses said. "We are
disappointed in how the season ended. We wanted to make it to a
Brockington staked Connecticut to a 21-7 lead by scoring on runs
of 1 and 5 yards and taking a 16-yard screen pass for another
Moses resurrected the Scarlet Knights' hopes by hauling in a
pass by Shawell and scoring on an 87-yard pass play to cut the lead
to 21-14 just 31 seconds after Brockington's catch.
An interception by cornerback Joe Porter with 2:33 to play, set
up Hart's game-tying touchdown pass to Daniels with 38 seconds left
in the first half.