continued Not wanting to be one-dimensional, Marrone reiterated to his team that in order to be successful they had to be able to run the football.
“That was a big emphasis,” Marrone said. “We knew we had to run the ball. We challenged them (UConn) up front, and we challenged their backs.”
Lemon, who was instrumental in changing the complexion of the contest said the running game was played at a high level. Lemon finished with 27 catches for 475 yards in four career appearances against UConn.
“We just fed of the running game into the passing game,” Lemon said. “And we knew that they were tired out.”
SU kicker Ross Krautman stepped up in a major way making all four field goals he attempted, including a season-long 47-yard boot. At the outset, it was Smith's four straight rushing plays that set up Krautman's chip shot 20-yard field goal.
Then the Orange defense held their opposition scoreless on five consecutive possessions, while the often maligned Steve Rene rewarded SU with a big special teams play.
After a UConn punted deep in SU territory, Rene took one step forward and broke a few tackles for an impressive 33-yard return all the way to the Huskies’ 35-yard line. That led to Krautman’s 25-yard field that increased the lead to 6-0.
In the second quarter, SU outscored UConn 14-10 and capitalized on two turnovers. With the Huskies trailing 6-3 the momentum shifted back into the hands of the home team.
UConn was driving into SU territory, when redshirt freshman safety Durrell Eskridge blitzed on third down. He rocked Huskies quarterback Chandler Whitmer near the 40-yard line and forced a fumble that linebacker Cameron Lynch recovered and returned 24 yards deeper into UConn territory.
Nassib hit Lemon on a crossing route pattern as he pushed the pile of players forward , resulting in a 15-yard gain. The nine-play, 44-yard drive was capped off when Adonis Ameen-Moore scored from one yard out in SU's tank formation, expanding the lead to 13-3.