Dec. 30, 2007: Wake Forest Rallies As UConn Offense Can't Get Going

The trucks rolled out of Storrs and headed for Charlotte with all the equipment needed to send the

UConn football

team on the field ready to compete.

The fans showed up, too, making the city streets Friday evening look as if Husky blue were a mandated uniform.


But what didn't show up Saturday at

Bank of America

Stadium was the



The Huskies were able to survive one half without it, but not 60 minutes against Wake Forest. When the Demon Deacons finally found a way to crack the UConn defense, there was no looking back as they rolled to a 24-10 victory over the Huskies before 53,126 in the Meineke Car Care Bowl.

Both teams finished 9-4.

On Friday, Wake Forest coach Jim Grobe made it sound like figuring out how to stop UConn's dual threat passing and running kept him up at night. He obviously figured it out.


Wake Forest held the UConn offense to three points and 213 yards.

"We just didn't have any consistency offensively," UConn coach

Randy Edsall

said. "You've got to give Wake Forest's defense some credit for that. But we just couldn't get any kind of rhythm offensively. We did make a couple big plays. Donald Brown had a nice run. But you've got to be able to put points on the board. That's what it's all about."


It's rarely difficult to pick UConn running back

Andre Dixon

out of a crowd. His attention-grabbing dreadlocks bounce with his mood and he usually has a smile. Outside the locker room after the game Saturday, Dixon looked like he just wanted to blend into the crowd and hide.

Dixon gained 19 yards on seven carries. Brown had 72 yards on 13 carries, with 58 coming on one play. And quarterback Tyler Lorenzen had his worst overall game of the season, finishing 13-for-26 for 98 yards with an interception.

"In a bowl game you really want to perform," Dixon said. "This is the time to show what you can do, and we didn't really show what we can do. It's disappointing."

After a defensive struggle of a first half, UConn led 10-0 thanks to a 68-yard Larry Taylor punt return for a touchdown and a 29-yard Tony Ciaravino field goal.

But UConn's shutout hopes disappeared on Wake's first drive of the second half. The Demon Deacons started at their 34 and were at the UConn 38 five plays later after quarterback Riley Skinner found Chip Brinkman over the middle for a 16-yard gain.

On the next play, running back Josh Adams busted through the line and found clear sailing, easily going the distance to cut the UConn lead to 10-7 with 12:44 left in the quarter.

Tyvon Branch returned the ensuing kickoff 63 yards, allowing the Huskies to start their first drive of the half at the Wake Forest 33. But UConn could not capitalize. On third-and-5 from the Wake Forest 28, Lorenzen, scrambling, tried to sidearm a pass to tight end Steve Brouse. The throw got tipped by Chantz McClinic and was intercepted by Stanley Arnoux.

Wake took over at its 32 and quickly found itself in a hole after Adams was stopped for a loss of 2 on first down and a Skinner shovel pass to Adams became a 5-yard loss.

But on third-and-17 from the 25, Skinner unloaded deep and found Demir Boldin in between the coverage of Darius Butler and

Robert Vaughn

. Falling back, Boldin held on for a 38-yard gain.

"I thought if [Vaughn] would have been a little more aggressive he might have been able to pick that ball off," Edsall said. "He kind of felt that Darius was there, and I think he was afraid to, but I think if he would have went aggressively to the ball that could have been a pick and that could have changed that scenario."

Five plays later Skinner hit Kenny Moore for an 11-yard gain to the UConn 13. On the next play, Skinner hit Adams on the right side, and the running back appeared to be headed for a touchdown, but the ball came flying out when Butler nailed him at the 2. Danny Lansanah fell on the ball to put UConn back on offense at its 4. But on third-and-6 from the 8, Lorenzen was sacked inches from the goal line.


Desi Cullen

punted from the back of the end zone, Wake took over at the UConn 29, and six plays later the Demon Deacons took the lead. On third-and-14, Skinner floated a pass over the coverage of

Scott Lutrus

in the left side of the end zone and into the hands of John Tereshinski to put Wake up 14-10 with 3:27 left in the third quarter.

UConn began its next drive from its 37, but on fourth-and-1 from the Wake 41 Brown was stuffed at the line by Arnoux. Wake took over and capped a seven-play, 33-yard drive with a 43-yard field goal by Sam Swank to put the Demon Deacons up 17-10 with 11:53 remaining.

UConn took over on its 38 on the ensuing drive but got only as far as the Wake Forest 39. Facing fourth-and-5 from the Wake 39, Lorenzen threw incomplete for Brouse.

Edsall said he if had the chance to do it over again he would have gone for the fourth-down tries.

"We came here to win," Edsall said. "I just get a feeling sometimes of, 'How many times are you going to get down there?' I have confidence in my guys. I thought we could make it, and we went for it. We didn't get it, and that happens. It's 50-50. You either make it or you don't."

UConn got the ball back with about seven minutes left but only got to its 31 before Lorenzen's deep pass for Brad Kanuch was tipped away at the 10-yard line by Channing Schofield.

Wake then capped an eight-play, 62-yard drive with Micah Andrews' 9-yard run to make it 24-10 with 29 seconds remaining.

Three heaves downfield by backup quarterback Dennis Brown were the last showing of the season for the UConn offense.

"We felt like we were 100 percent prepared," Lorenzen said. "We were clicking on all cylinders in practice, and we felt like we were going to come in here and play really well. That was our expectations. When you don't do that, it definitely hurts and it hurts bad. When you feel like the phase of the game that you're responsible for didn't pull through for your team, it's tough."