Brown runs Connecticut to 31-28 win over Baylor
EAST HARTFORD, Conn. (AP)—With a national spotlight on them, Connecticut tailback Donald Brown and Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin didn’t disappoint.
Brown ran for 150 yards and two touchdowns, and Connecticut held off Baylor 31-28 on Friday night for its second straight 4-0 start.
Griffin threw for 208 yards and three touchdowns and ran for another. The freshman consistently scrambled his way out of trouble and drove the Bears (2-2) to the UConn 39 with under a minute to play before his fourth-down pass fell incomplete.
“Good teams are going to have to win some close games,” UConn coach Randy Edsall said. “We did that. We stepped up on defense when we needed to.”
UConn quarterback Tyler Lorenzen showed he can run, too. Lorenzen carried the ball eight times for 73 yards and two touchdowns, including a 34-yard draw that gave the Huskies a 24-21 lead. He passed for 125 yards, but threw two interceptions that led to Baylor touchdowns.
There were six lead changes, the final one when Brown took a toss and ran 3 yards for a touchdown with just over 6 minutes remaining. The run completed a 30-yard drive set up by Connecticut’s defense, which almost caught Griffin in the end zone for a safety. UConn instead forced a punt and got the ball back at the Baylor 30 after a penalty on the Bears for interfering with the returner.
A pass-interference penalty on Dwain Crawford put the ball at the 9. Lorenzen and Brown did the rest.
“It was a bad sequence of events,” Baylor coach Art Briles said. “Their defense did a great job in stopping (Griffin).
Edsall said the game plan was to give Brown about 20 to 25 touches during the game. He had 112 yards on 22 carries in the first half, and finished with 34 carries overall.
Brown, who has run for over 100 yards in the first half of every game this season, said he has no problem being the Huskies’ workhorse.
“I don’t worry about (getting tired) at all,” he said. “I prepared myself for the rigors of the season and having to play every week.”
Griffin gave Baylor its final lead, 28-24, with 11:13 left when he hit Kendall Wright over the middle from 19 yards out. The drive appeared to be stopped when Dahna Deleston made a diving interception at the UConn 20. But cornerback Darius Butler, who was blitzing on the play, was called for roughing Griffin, keeping that drive alive.
Wright had six catches for 114 yards and the score.
Griffin, who set track records at Baylor in the spring, ran the ball 23 times for 85 yards.
“We got him running around, but we didn’t contain him as much as I would have liked,” Edsall said. “But that’s his athleticism. He is going to be very good and we are going to have to go down there and play them next year and I’m not looking forward to that.”
Griffin completed his first four passes, including a 16-yard touchdown toss to Justin Akers that was initially ruled an incomplete pass. Replays clearly showed that Akers was able to get a foot down in the back of the end zone. It was the first passing touchdown, and the second TD of any type, allowed by Connecticut’s defense this season.
Brown carried seven times during a 12-play, 80-yard drive that tied it at 7 early in the second quarter. Lorenzen took the ball in on a 7-yard draw.
Griffin found Akers again, running free over the middle from 14 yards out with 8:38 left in the half to make it 14-7.
UConn then went on an 11-play, 53-yard drive, giving the ball to Brown on eight of those plays, including the 1-yard plunge that tied it.
UConn extended its home winning streak to 10 games.
“It was crazy,” cornerback Darius Butler said. “We fought tooth and nail, and we stepped up.”