EAST HARTFORD, Conn. (AP)—Defensive end Jeremy Thompson ran back an interception 86 yards for a touchdown Saturday, and Wake Forest went on to beat Connecticut 24-13 to give the Demon Deacons their first 3-0 start since 1987.
Thompson, 6-foot-5 and 250 pounds, outran everyone down the right side, avoiding several tackles. It was the second-longest interception return in team history.
Connecticut outgained Wake Forest 324 yards to 209, but was hurt not only by the interception but a missed extra point and missed 28-yard field goal.
On Wake’s second offensive play, quarterback Riley Skinner scrambled and was stripped of the ball by UConn safety Marvin Taylor, setting up the Huskies on the Deacons’ 22. On third down, UConn quarterback D.J. Hernandez threw into the left flat. The ball hit Thompson in the chest, and he was off down the sideline.
Micah Andrews ran for 73 yards on 21 carries, including six consecutive runs on a fourth-quarter drive that helped Wake eat up the clock with a 17-13 lead.
Terry Caulley ran for 81 yards for the Huskies, becoming the school’s career leading rusher. He surpassed Wilbur Gilliard’s mark of 2,624 set in the early 1990s.
But Caulley left in the fourth quarter with a rib injury. UConn coach Randy Edsall said Caulley was taken to a hospital for X-rays to check his spleen. Caulley, a fifth-year senior, missed last season and part of 2003 because of a new injury.
After Thompson’s return, Connecticut came back on its next possession, driving 80 yards on 10 plays. Hernandez hit wide receiver Brandon Young over the middle for a 6-yard touchdown.
But Wake Forest responded with a 77-yard drive. Andrews made it 14-7 on a 6-yard touchdown run, one play after wide receiver Willie Idlette took a reverse 30-yards around the right side.
Connecticut pulled within a point on a 15-yard run that capped a 63-yard drive that took 6:11 in the second quarter. But Matt Nuzie’s extra point hit the left upright. Nuzie also missed a 28-yard field goal attempt after an 11-play drive at the start of the second half.
Sam Swank hit a 43-yard field goal at 8:15 of the fourth quarter to give Wake a 17-13 lead. The Demon Deacons scored again on run by fullback Rich Belton, after UConn turned the ball over on downs on its final drive at its own 6.
Hernandez completed 19 of 32 passes for 197 yards and a touchdown. Riley Skinner was 7 of 16 for 110 yards for Wake Forest.
Wake Forest’s Jon Abbate had 10 tackles, the eighth time in his career he has done that.