East Hartford, CT (Sports Network) - Brendon Kay threw two touchdown passes
and was on the receiving end of another, as the Cincinnati Bearcats clinched a
share of the Big East Championship with a 34-17 win over the Connecticut
Huskies in the regular-season finale at Rentschler Field.
Tight end Travis Kelce caught two touchdown passes and threw the TD to Kay as
the Bearcats (9-3, 5-2 Big East) won their second straight Big East
Championship and fourth in five years. Also sharing the league title are
Louisville, Rutgers and Syracuse, as each squad finished 5-2 in Big East play.
Chandler Whitmer threw for 264 yards and a touchdown for the Huskies (5-7,
2-5), who entered the day needing a win to become bowl eligible. Whitmer
exited the game in the third quarter with a head injury.
Cincinnati marched right down the field on its opening possession, and Kay
capped the drive with a 25-yard touchdown pass to Kelce.
The Bearcats used some trickery to take a 14-0 lead at the 11:20 mark of the
second quarter, as Kelce caught a backward screen pass and threw back to Kay
for a 39-yard touchdown pass to make it a 14-0 game.
UConn got on the board with a 40-yard field goal from Bobby Puyol with 6:43 to
play in the first half.
After the Huskies defense forced a quick three-and-out, the offense scored on
its very next snap as Whitmer tossed a 74-yard touchdown pass to Ryan Griffin
to trim the margin to 14-10.
Cincinnati stretched its lead to 21-10 at the 11:24 mark of the third quarter,
as Kay hooked up with Kelce for another score, this time from 21 yards.
The Huskies cut the deficit to 21-17 on Lyle McCombs' one-yard TD plunge in
the final minute of the third quarter, capping a 15-play drive that lasted
more than seven minutes.
The Bearcats pushed their lead back to seven following Tony Miliano's 38-yard
field goal with 12:04 to play in regulation.
The Huskies' hopes were dashed on the ensuing series when backup quarterback
Johnny McEntee was intercepted by Deven Drane, who returned it all the way
down to the UConn 4. On the next play from scrimmage, George Winn scored on a
four-yard run. Miliano tacked on a 42-yard field goal with six minutes
remaining to close out the scoring.
UConn held a 19-18 edge in first downs and a 373-356 advantage in total
offense, but the Huskies were unable to overcome three interceptions.
The Sports Network