Browns leads UConn past Temple 12-9 in OT

September 6, 2008 10:04:31 PM PDT
Donald Brown never let the heavy rain affect his grip on the ball. He held it tight, broke the 200-yard mark and saved his biggest carry for last - the one that got Connecticut into the end zone. Brown rushed for a career-high 214 yards on a rain-soaked field and scored the winning touchdown in overtime to lead Connecticut to a 12-9 victory over Temple on Saturday.

"When it's weather like this, you know it's going to turn into a running game," Brown said.

The Huskies (2-0) needed Brown to bail them out in OT after three missed field goals and a goal-line fumble cost them a chance to have the game wrapped up in regulation. The Huskies did almost nothing but run on every play, especially in the second half when the rain all but kept the ball out of the air.

Brown carried the ball on all three of UConn's possessions in overtime and had 25 yards rushing, including a 7-yard TD run for the winner.

"The offensive line did a great job blocking one guy, I had to make him miss and go get into the end zone," Brown said.

Jake Brownell kicked three field goals, including a 21-yarder in OT, for the Owls. Temple (1-1) was denied its first 2-0 start since 1981.

Temple led 6-0 entering the fourth, but the developing Owls went for it on fourth-and-1 at their own 34 and the score tied late in the game. Lamar McPherson's rush came up short, and suddenly the Huskies had new life.

"That decision is not as hard as you make it," coach Al Golden said. "I thought if we could get a first down there, we could really have a chance to do something."

The Owls did catch a break when UConn's Tony Ciaravino, who missed two field goals in the first half, was wide left on a 47-yard attempt with 2:33 left in the game. Ciaravino had kicked a 37-yarder earlier in the quarter that tied the score at 6.

"Thank God for Don Brown," Ciaravino said. "He gets my sandwich if we wants."

Neither offense could do much more while the rain pounded the ground. Temple's Adam DiMichele threw for 170 yards and two interceptions, but 70 yards came in the first quarter when the rain was light. Tyler Lorenzen was only 10 of 22 for 86 yards for the Huskies. Only Temple's Travis Shelton caught more than two passes.

The Huskies had a chance to score a touchdown on their second drive, but the wet ball popped out of Lorenzen's hands right before he crossed the goal line and safety Dominique Harris recovered in the end zone.

Connecticut missed two field goals, had two turnovers and punted on its first five possessions.

The Owls have long been one of college football's worst programs - they haven't had a winning record since 1990 and have not played in a bowl game since 1979.

"That's the Big East champions we just slugged it out with," Golden said. "I'm not getting frustrated with those guys."

Slowly, Golden is making the Owls respectable again. He led the Owls to a four-win season a year ago, which included the first three-game winning streak since 1990. Shifting from the Big East to the Mid-American Conference has certainly helped the Owls become more competitive over the past year.

"We just try to teach them how to compete and have courage," Golden said.

Temple seemed primed early to go 2-0 for the first time in 27 years.

DiMichele connected on a 46-yard pass to James Nixon on the third play of the game to help Brownell put the Owls up 3-0 on a 22-yard field goal

DiMichele found Steve Maneri for a 44-yard reception late in the second quarter, and Brownell would end the drive with a 41-yarder for a 6-0 lead.

But the Owls couldn't do much more and spoiled the home opener for about 3,000 soaked fans.


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