SMU avoids winless season, beating UConn 27-20
Dec. 06, 2014
EAST HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — SMU took two penalties Saturday while trying to line up in victory formation and run out the clock.
It's hard to blame the Mustangs, it's not a formation they were familiar with before Saturday.
Quarterback Matt Davis ran for 191 yards and a touchdown and threw for another 145 yards to lead SMU to its only win of the season, 27-20 over UConn.
Prescott Line added 90 yards rushing and two second-half touchdowns as SMU (1-11, 1-7 American Athletic Conference) snapped a 13-game losing streak by scoring 21 unanswered points in the second half.
"That locker room, it was like winning the damn national championship," said interim coach Tom Mason, who was coaching his final game at the school after spending seven years as defensive coordinator.
Freshman Ron Johnson ran for 101 yards and a touchdown for UConn (2-10, 1-7), which finishes tied with SMU for last place in the conference.
The Huskies had five turnovers, including Arkeel Newsome's fumble of the second-half kickoff, when UConn was leading 20-6.
Line scored on a 4-yard run four plays later. His 12-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter was the game winner, capping an 8-play 70 yard drive, which included a 48-yard run by Davis.
SMU had tied the game when Davis avoided a sack and scrambled 26-yards up the middle to cap a 58-yard drive. That was set up when Derek Longoria forced a fumble by UConn's Deshon Foxx, one play after Foxx broke a 48-yard run into SMU territory.
"You can't beat anybody when you turn the ball over five times," said UConn coach Bob Diaco. "It's impossible."
Darius Joseph caught nine passes for 108 yards for SMU, which held UConn to 67 passing yards. UConn had a season-best 249-yards rushing, but just 98 total yards after halftime.
"We are not a 1-11 football team, we have way more talent than that," Davis said. "We had way better coaches than 1-11. But that falls on us."
SMU hired Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris on Monday to take over the program, but he did not make the trip up to see the Mustangs play this week.
Davis said this game was played for Mason and his staff, and to make sure the SMU seniors didn't go out without a win.
"Everybody is excited and it's a transition period," Davis said. "But as a coach and as a man, everybody loves coach Mason."
SMU, which came in averaging just 9.6 points a game, took an early lead on two field goals, including a 44-yarder from Cody Rademacher that hit the crossbar and bounced through.
UConn safety Andrew Adams scored the Huskies first touchdown on a 32-yard fumble return. Jhavon Williams striped SMU running back Nate Halverson and Adams was there to take the ball 32 yards down the right sideline. Bobby Puyol missed the extra point.
The Huskies took a 13-6 lead when Max DeLorenzo took a handoff on a fourth-and-1 and broke through the center of the SMU defense for a 46-yard touchdown.
Johnson scored on a 13-yard run, knocking over a Mustang defender and giving the Huskies the halftime lead.
UConn, which finished 3-9 a year ago, ended its first season under Diaco with just one win over an FBS team, a 37-29 upset of UCF on November 1. Their other win came against Stony Brook, 19-16 in the second week of the season.
"We would have liked to win more games, but not compromising the foundation that we've built and laid," Diaco said. "It is strong. It is here to stay forever and we are putting and prepared to put layers on it."