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College Football Roundup

UConn closes in on BCS bowl berth

Huskies one win from share of Big East title

Associated Press / November 28, 2010

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The Connecticut Huskies left Rentschler Field yesterday being serenaded with chants of “B-C-S.’’

They need just one more win to claim that prize.

Jordan Todman ran 31 times for 175 yards and three touchdowns and the Huskies moved to the top of the Big East standings with a 38-17 win over Cincinnati. It was UConn’s fourth consecutive win after starting the season 3-4.

“You know, it’s a whole new team,’’ Todman said. “Everybody has kind of switched attitudes and work ethic . . . and we love to win, and winning is addicting and makes everybody happy.’’

A victory for UConn (7-4, 4-2) next Saturday at South Florida would give the Huskies at least a share of the Big East championship. UConn would go to a BCS bowl because it holds tiebreakers over both Pittsburgh and West Virginia.

“It’s not where you start, it’s where you finish, and these kids have put themselves in a position to finish at the top,’’ said coach Randy Edsall. “That’s all you can ask of them.’’

Cincinnati (4-7, 2-4), which won the last two conference championships, will finish this season with a losing record.

“I think it’s a great illustration of being able to make critical plays in critical stages in the game, and that’s what we saw today,’’ said Cincinnati coach Butch Jones. “UConn was able to make those plays today.

UConn defensive lineman Kendall Reyes made perhaps the biggest.

Late in the second quarter, with the Huskies up, 17-10, Cincinnati drove to the UConn 6-yard line. But Reyes batted a pass, grabbed it out of the air, and returned it 84 yards. His touchdown was called back to the Cincinnati 15 on a blocking penalty.

“When the opportunity is there, you’ve got to take it and run with it, and that’s basically what I did,’’ he said.

Todman converted a fourth-and-1, and with just four seconds left in the half bounced the next play outside and into the end zone for a 24-10 lead. Todman said he was supposed to pass the ball, but nobody was open.

The junior tailback scored twice more in the fourth quarter to put the game away.

Cincinnati quarterback Zach Collaros threw for 288 yards and a touchdown and ran for 84 yards and another score, but also had four interceptions.

“The thing that hurts me the most . . . is the seniors, not to have been at a bowl game every year they’ve been here,’’ he said. “Some of these guys are my best friends and I’ve seen how disappointed and how sad they are.’’

UConn never trailed, but Cincinnati came within 7 points in the fourth quarter when Collaros engineered an eight-play, 88-yard touchdown drive to make it 24-17.

But Robbie Frey returned the kickoff 42 yards to the Cincinnati 46 and Todman did the rest. He followed an 18-yard run with a 1-yard touchdown, his second of the game.

Blidi Wreh-Wilson’s interception and 58-yard return set up Todman’s third touchdown, a 9-yard run with just under four minutes left.

Notre Dame 20, Southern Cal 16 — Robert Hughes scored on a 5-yard run with 2:23 to play, and the Fighting Irish (7-5) rallied in Los Angeles to snap an eight-game losing streak against the Trojans.

Freshman quarterback Tommy Rees overcame four turnovers to lead Notre Dame’s 77-yard, go-ahead drive in the final minutes.

Mitch Mustain, making his first start for USC in place of injured Matt Barkley, moved the Trojans (7-5) to the Notre Dame 23, but safety Harrison Smith intercepted a poor throw at the goal line with 36 seconds left.

FCS playoffs Lehigh 14, Northern Iowa 7 — Chris Lum threw a pair of third-quarter touchdown passes as the Mountain Hawks prevailed in Cedar Falls, Iowa.

Lum completed 18 of 37 passes for 262 yards, and Ryan Spadola caught nine passes for 127 yards and a TD for Lehigh (10-2), which won its eighth straight game to advance to play Delaware, which had a first-round bye.

Western Illinois 17, Coastal Carolina 10 — At Conway, S.C., Matt Barr’s second rushing TD, with 1:50 remaining, gave the Leathernecks the victory.

Western Illinois (8-4) will play top-seeded Appalachian State Saturday.

Georgia Southern 41, S.C. State 16 — The Eagles used a relentless ground game to control the ball for nearly 42 minutes and beat the Bulldogs in Statesboro, Ga.

Twelve players totaled 323 yards on 77 carries for Georgia Southern (8-4), which will play at No. 2 seed William & Mary Saturday.

North Dakota St. 43, Robert Morris 17 — Brock Jensen threw two touchdown passes and ran for another score as the Bison rolled in Fargo, N.D.

D.J. McNorton ran for a TD and caught a scoring pass for North Dakota State (8-4), which next plays at Montana State.