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Huskies Dominate Flames In 59-0 Shutout Victory
The Huskies scored on their first eight possessions of the contest and only allowed Liberty to cross the 50 yard line twice en route to a 59-0 shutout, Saturday afternoon, at Rentschler Field.
The game was played in front of the eighth-consecutive sellout at Rentschler Field with 40,000 fans in attendance, marking the largest crowd to see a Flames football game, significantly surpassing the previous school record of 26,374 in attendance in Liberty's 63-0 loss to Marshall on September 11, 1999.
Connecticut (2-0) wasted little time getting on the scoreboard as they forced the Flames to punt the ball after a three-and-out series on the opening drive of the game and on the fourth play of the ensuing drive, the Huskies' Terry Caulley found an opening on the left side of the offensive line and scampered 34 yards to the endzone to give Connecticut a 7-0 lead with 12:15 left in the opening quarter.
Liberty (1-1) managed to get inside Connecticut territory on the next drive thanks in part to a 41-yard pass play from Brock Farrel to Zach Terrell; however, the drive stalled at the UConn 36-yard line.
Liberty looked like it was going to hold the Huskies to a field goal try on the following drive, but the Huskies was able to convert on a third-and-long play with a 14 yard pass play to Larry Taylor, setting up a three-yard scoring run up the middle by Cornell Brockington on the following play to extend their advantage to 14-0 at the 4:57 mark of the first quarter.
The Huskies continued to roll on the following driving as Connecticut marched down the field on the first drive of the second quarter and capped off a seven-play, 81-yard drive as Matt Bonislawski completed a pass over the middle to Brandon Young and the wideout made an acrobatic catch in the endzone for an 18-yard touchdown reception with 12:57 left before halftime.
After pinning the Huskies deep inside their own territory on Connecticut's next drive, the Huskies solidly mixed up their rushing and passing attack to methodically march down the field and push the score to 28-0 with 5:42 left in the second as Bonislawski called his own number for a one-yard run up the middle to finish off a 13-play, 91-yard drive that ate up 4:40 on the clock.
On the ensuing kickoff, Rajive Otah mishandled the return, fumbling the ball on the 15 yard line, giving the Huskies the ball back. However, Liberty's defense was able to hold Connecticut for the first time on the afternoon as the Huskies had to settle for a 27 yard field goal by Matt Nuzie just 57 seconds later.
And on their sixth drive of the game and the last of the first half, the Huskies made it 6-for-6 on scoring drives as a nine-yard slant pass to the near corner of the endzone by Bonislawski to Jason Williams with 17 seconds left gave Connecticut a facility record as the Huskies headed into the locker room with a 38-0 lead, marking the most points scored by the Huskies in a half at Rentschler Field.
The halftime break didn't seem to snap the Huskies' momentum as Connecticut took the opening kickoff of the second and marched down the field as an eight-yard run up the middle by Brockington capped off a 10 play, 80 yard drive to push the score to 45-0 at the 11:06 mark.
On the fourth play on the ensuing drive, Farrel was sacked at the Flames' 17 yard line and fumbled the ball. Connecticut recovered the fumble and four plays later, Brockington took a hand-off from back-up quarterback D.J. Hernandez and found and an opening up the middle on a two-yard touchdown run to extend the margin to 52-0 at the 7:34 mark.
The score remained the same until midway through the fourth quarter as Lou Allen capped off Connecticut's longest drive of the afternoon as the 14th play of the drive was a six-yard run up the middle by the back up running back with 9:25 left in the contest, pushing the score to its final margin of 59-0.
The contest marked the 15th time in the history of the program that the Flames have been shutout and first since Liberty dropped a 63-0 decision to Western Carolina on November 3, 2001.
On the afternoon, the Huskies finished the game with an even 600 yards of total offense on 89 plays, averaging 6.7 yards per play as opposed to Liberty who finished the game with just 161 yards of total offense on 44 plays, averaging 3.7 yards per play.
The Huskies rushed for five touchdowns on the afternoon, marking the first time they have accomplished the feat since moving to the Division I-A level and were led by Brockington as he rushed for 115 yards on 20 carries and three touchdowns, while Allen and Caulley added a rushing touchdown each. Otah led the Flames with 24 yards rushing, while Marcus Hamilton was held to 13 yards on eight attempts.
Bonislawski completed 18-of-25 passes for 217 yards and two touchdowns, while Farrel finished 6-of-11 for 100 yards and Terrell was a perfect 5-of-5 for 32 yards.
Young paced all receivers with 61 yards receiving on four receptions and a touchdown, while Williams added 39 yards on four catches. Brandon Turner led the Flames with 33 yards on three catches, while Wynton Jackson added 28 yards on three receptions.
A pair of Liberty players led all defenders as for the second week in a row, Brandon Duke paced the Flames with a career high as the linebacker topped last week's 12-tackle performance with a new career-best 19 tackles, while Nick Hursky added 17 stops.
The Flames return home to host Youngstown State next Saturday at Williams Stadium at 7 p.m.