Very few people were giving UConn any chance of winning Friday night against a solid East Carolina team, but that's exactly what Bob Diaco's team did, prevailing in convincing fashion 31-13.
ECU (4-5, 2-3 American Athletic Conference) started with the ball, with the first drive ending in a punt and a second drive ending the same way after a UConn three-and-out. On UConn's ensuing possession, Bryant Shirreffs was picked off on a nice read by DaShawn Benton who returned it to the end zone for six points. The Huskies (4-5, 2-3 American) would block the PAT to keep the score at 6-0.
UConn would go on to score 24 unanswered points, aided by some excellent play by the Husky defense to get the ball back quickly and with advantageous field position. Starting quarterback James Summers was intercepted once, at the end of the half, and co-starter Blake Kemp threw three interceptions in the second half after seeing no action in the first.
Sophomore running back Arkeel Newsome stole the show, running for 179 yards, including a 90-yard touchdown late in the third quarter which made the score 24-6 and effectively put the game out of reach. The Pirates' offense wouldn't get its first points of the game until a fourth-quarter touchdown run by Kemp but it was too little too late.
This is a great win for UConn, with the Huskies scheduled to visit Tulane next week. If they can win there, they will have two chances--albeit against very tough competition--to qualify for a bowl game. At the very least, it will be in the conversation as we *gasp* turn the calendar to November in a few days.