Sooners' spurt ends UConn's dreams in the desert
Glendale, Ariz. — It took only 1 minute, 11 seconds for UConn's BCS bowl dreams to unravel.
That's how long it took Oklahoma to score 14 points in the third quarter, allowing the No. 9 Sooners to open a 34-10 lead on the way to a 48-20 victory over the Huskies in the Fiesta Bowl Saturday night before 67,232 at University of Phoenix Stadium.
The No. 25 Huskies, despite playing from behind all evening, made things interesting by closing to within 34-20 heading into the fourth quarter, but Landry Jones threw a 5-yard TD pass to All-American Ryan Broyles with 7:49 left to put the game out of reach. Broyles made a miraculous leaping catch and somehow managed to get one foot inbounds as he was being drilled out of bounds.
Tony Jefferson capped the scoring by returning an intereception 22 yards for a touchdown with 2:40 left as Oklahoma (12-2) ended a five-game losing streak in BCS bowls.
Jones completed 34 of 49 passes for an Oklahoma bowl record 429 yards and three touchdowns, while Broyles had 13 catches for 170 yards and Cameron Kenney had seven receptions for 154 yards. The Sooners finished with 525 total yards.
It was Kenney's 54-yard touchdown catch with 10:55 left in the third quarter that jumpstarted Oklahoma in the second half. That pushed the lead to 27-10 and moments later Jamell Fleming intercepted a pass that deflected off the hands of UConn receiver Michael Smith and sprinted 55 yards for a touchdown.
Robbie Frey gave the Huskies (8-5) instant life by returning the ensuing kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown and Dave Teggart added a 38-yard field goal later in the quarter to keep UConn within striking distance, but it would get no closer.
UConn's Jordan Todman finished with 121 yards on 32 carries while Zach Frazer completed 19 of 39 passes for 223 yards.
He was intercepted twice and had a number of passes dropped. It might have been the final game for Todman, a junior who announced after the game that he was leaving school early to enter the NFL draft.
Oklahoma's offense was operating at a different speed early, driving for touchdowns with ease on its opening two drives as Jones completed his first 12 passes, one to tight end James Hanna for an 8-yard touchdown, as the Sooners opened a quick 14-0 lead.
Just when it looked like this was going to turn into an early rout, however, UConn's defense came to the rescue. With Jesse Joseph pressuring Jones and forcing him to throw off balance from his back foot, Dwayne Gratz intercepted an overthrown ball and returned it untouched 46 yards for a touchdown to pull the Huskies within 14-7 with 12:58 left in the opening half.
The Sooners continued to move the football (they didn't punt in the first half), but had to settle for a pair of Jimmy Stevens field goals, one from 41 and the other from 24 with 2:05 left in the half.
UConn answered Stevens' second field goal with Teggart's 37-yard with 26 seconds left in the half. The Huskies were able to drive quickly thanks to a 34-yard kickoff return by Nick Williams that allowed UConn to start in good field position from its own 44.
Todman, who had only 34 yards on 13 carries in the first half, had his best run of the half — 19 yards on a draw play — and Frazer hooked up with Isiah Moore for 12 yards to put UConn within Teggart's range.
UConn wide receiver Kashif Moore, who normally wears No. 82, switched to No. 6 in this game to honor the late Jasper Howard.
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