Video report by Mike Magnoli, Fox CT
Text by Scott Powers, The Hartford Courant
EAST HARTFORD — Well, we knew Michigan didn’t want to come to East Hartford, but we thought it was for other reasons. The Wolverines, who play in the mighty Big Ten in front of massive crowds, certainly weren’t trying to get out of this trip because they feared the opponent. But UConn gave them a pretty big scare.
The Huskies, who were 18.5-point underdogs, lost to Michigan 24-21 Saturday night before a record crowd of 42,704 at Rentschler Field. This time, it’ll be Michigan coach Brady Hoke answering the questions usually reserved for Paul Pasqualoni. The Wolverines (4-0) narrowly beat unranked Akron last week and had their hands full through three quarters, before showing their dominance in the fourth.
Brendan Gibbons kicked a 21-yard field goal with 4:36 left to give Michigan the win. UConn got the ball back and Chandler Whitmer took a sack to set up a fourth-and-29 at its own 33. After a timeout, he hit Deshon Foxx with a 26-yard reception, but he was three yards short of the first down and Michigan ran out the clock.
UConn (0-3) has its first road game Saturday at Buffalo. Michigan is back at the Big House, hosting Minnesota.
UConn’s defense dominated, and perhaps its biggest play was when Obi Melifonwu and Yawin Smallwood stopped Devin Gardner on a fourth-and-2 on the UConn 22.
But Whitmer turned it right over, throwing into triple coverage and it was intercepted by Desmond Morgan, who returned it 29 yards. Michigan scored on the next play on a Fitz Toussaint 12-yard run to tie it 21-21. Toussaint finished with 120 yards.
UConn led 14-7 at the half and extended it to 21-7 when Ty-Meer Brown recovered a fumble and ran it in 15 yards for a touchdown with 13:39 left in the third quarter.
The Huskies scored on an 11-yard Chandler Whitmer-to-Spencer Parker touchdown pass and a 7-yard Lyle McCombs run. Parker, a walk-on from Newington, had not caught a pass before that play.
Michigan scored first on a 17-yard Devin Gardner run in the first quarter.
But it was UConn’s defense that confused Michigan..
It was the 30th sellout in 67 games at the Rent. It was Michigan’s first trip to the East Coast to play a nonconference opponent since 1995, when they visited Boston College.