Newsome magic leads UConn to 31-13 win over ECU.
EAST HARTFORD: We always wondered if his speed and athleticism would translate to the upper reaches of the stratosphere where he lived throughout his four years of running away from teams in the Naugatuck Valley League.
As he broke away, then broke a tackle on his way to a game deciding 90-yard touchdown run, UConn running back Arkeel Newsome put that doubt (if they really was any) to bed while amassing 244 total yards of offense in a 31-13 Huskies win over East Carolina University.
Newsome set career marks with that run, set another with his 179 total yards rushing and showed people why he was recruited to attend the school in Storrs that so wants to see their football team join the ranks of the winning.
His long run came after a near disaster of a special team’s play that featured two fumbles that put UConn deep in their own territory at the ten.
Newsome went to the right side of the line, found a hole and got behind the defense at about his own 40.
From there it was a foot race with three Pirate defenders, one managed to nip at his heals at about the 20 but the sophomore offensive force stayed on his feet and went in for the score that made it a 24-6 Huskie lead with 1:51 left in the third.
Okay, it took him 15 second to go 90-yards, not exactly Olympic like but heck, he’s got to wait for a hole and he’s wearing pads so 15 is still pretty darn good.
The win was a crucial one for UConn who were getting pretty close to being irrelevant after losing five of their last six, including a disheartening 37-13 loss last Saturday at Cincinnati.
“It’s really great to see one of my classmates do so well,” Luke Carrezola said, “He’s a great kid and works really hard.”
Carrezola and his defense rebounded nicely from their worst game a week ago that dropped them to 3-5.
The Huskies shut out a Pirate team until a fourth quarter touchdown by Blake Kemp made it a 24-13 game.
ECU had scored the game’s first points on a pick six by DaShawn Benton off an errant throw by Bryant Shirreffs that he returned 32-yards and had the small crowd wondering if they were going to see more of the same as the past few weeks.
Four interceptions helped the UConn cause, along with a pair of stops on fourth down that thwarted Pirate drives.
Shirreffs rebounded well, finishing 12-21 for 184 and a 23-yard touchdown pass to Alec Bloom on a drive aided by a pair of ECU penalties, including a targeting call off a hit against Hergy Mayala that added 15 yards to a 29 yard gain. ECU defensive back Travon Simmons was ejected on the play that seemed to ignite the Huskies.
The big freshman wide out was fine and returned to the game.
Newsome pushed in from two-yards out after a pass interference call gave the home team a first and goal from the two.
Shirreffs was less prone to run on Friday night versus games past but did manage one John Elway like run from three yards out for the Huskies final points.
The red shirt signal caller took a big hit at about the one but launched and spun down on the goal line for the score.
NOTES: Newsome’s 179 yards rushing were the most by a UConn running back since Jordan Todman rushed for 192 back on September 18, 2010.