Junior Tyler Lorenzen (Freemont, Iowa) passed for 298 yards and rushed for another 56 as the University of Connecticut football team posted a 45-14 win over Duke on Saturday before a crowd of 17,251 at Wallace Wade Stadium. The contest was the season opener for both teams.
The Huskies dominated the contest from a statistical basis, outgaining the Blue Devils in total offense 487-169 and running 20 more plays -- 77-57. Duke had 15 rushing yards on 28 attempts.
The Huskies trailed 14-11 at halftime, but erupted for 34-second half points in the win.
UConn scored on two of its first three possessions of the second half. Junior wide receiver D.J. Hernandez (Bristol, Conn.) scored UConn's first touchdown of the season on a 57-yard pass from Lorenzen on the fourth play of the drive to make it 18-14 Huskies. Hernandez was converted from a quarterback to a receiver this year.
The Huskies took a 25-14 lead with 1:21 left in the third quarter on a two-yard pass from Lorenzen to junior tight end Steve Brouse (Selinsgrove, Pa.) that ended a six-play, 68-yard drive. Lorenzen competed five-straight passes in the drive for all 68 yards.
Sophomore wide receiver Terrence Jeffers (Lawrenceville, Ga.) was Lorenzen's favorite target with eight receptions for 92 yards. Sophomore Donald Brown (Atlantic Highlands, N.J.) rushed for 99 yards on 19 carries with 78 of those yards in the second half.
As the first half came to a close, Husky junior Tony Ciaravino (Boca Raton, Fla.) kicked a 19-yard field goal with five seconds left cut the Duke lead. The 19-yarder capped a 17-play, 83-yard drive.
The Huskies scored three fourth-quarter touchdowns as Brown had a 25-yard run (8:55 left), junior Lou Allen (Salem, Conn.) had a 11-yard run (2:31 left) and junior cornerback Darius Butler (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) had a 36-yard interception return with 2:13 left.
UConn outgained Duke in the first half 227-115 and ran double the amount of plays -- 46 to 23.
The Blue Devils held a 7-5 lead after the first quarter and Ciaravino gave UConn a brief 8-7 lead on a 27-yard field goal with 10:55 left in the quarter. The lead was short-lived as Duke's Jabari Marshall returned the ensuring kickoff 94 yards for a 14-8 Blue Devil lead.
Both teams scored on their opening possessions of the season as Duke started the game with a six play-80 yard drive that ended with a six-yard pass from Thaddeus Lewis to Brandon King. The highlight of the drive was a 53-yard pass from Lewis to Eron Riley on the first play from scrimmage that put the ball at the UConn 32.
The Huskies came right back on their first drive of the season on a 30-yard field goal by Ciaravino that capped a seven-play, 56-yard drive with 11:22 left in the quarter that made it 7-3 Duke.
The other scoring of the first quarter came 1:05 later when UConn registered a safety as Lewis was sacked by Julius Williams and was recovered in end zone by Duke to make it 7-5 Blue Devils.
Duke was led in rushing by Justin Boyle with 31 yards while Jomar Wright had four receptions for 31 yards. Lewis had 148 yards passing for the Devils.