ATHENS, Ohio – Sophomore tailback Jordan Todman rushed for 157 yards, including 111 in the first half, to lead the University of Connecticut to a 23-16 opening-night victory over Ohio before a crowd of 24,617 at Peden Stadium on Sept. 5.
Redshirt junior quarterback Zach Frazer was 11 of 24 in the air for 127 yards and two passing touchdowns.
Frazer, who started a pair of games last year and saw duty in a total of five, matched his entire 2008 passing TDs in the first night of 2009.
The Husky defense picked up right where it left off last year, after concluding the season ranked sixth in the NCAA in yards surrendered per game.
UConn gave up just 247 yards, allowing only 90 in the second half.
UConn had an outstanding defensive stop in the first quarter, when Ohio took possession at the Husky six, following an interception return.
On a second-and-goal play, senior free safety Robert Vaughn picked up a fumble recovery from quarterback Theo Scott and ended the threat.
That turnover set up the only points of the first quarter for the Huskies, when Frazer threw a four-yard TD pass to redshirt junior fullback Anthony Davis that capped a 10-play drive with 4:30 left to play.
The Bobcats tied the game on a nifty 44-yard TD pass from Boo Jackson to Taylor Price on a third-and-long play with 3:58 left to play in the half.
The Huskies came right back to take the halftime lead, when Frazer led UConn on a 7-play drive that was capped with a 35-yard touchdown pass to senior wide receiver Brad Kanuch.
UConn broke through in the second half, and scored with a safety, when the Husky defense forced Jackson down in the end zone for a 7-yard loss, with 2:48 left in the quarter to make it 16-7.
The Huskies took advantage of the free kick and marched the ball from their own 38 to a touchdown score on a four-yard run by Todman, early in the fourth quarter, to go up 23-7.
Redshirt freshman tight end Ryan Griffin had two receptions for 26 yards.
Senior tailback Andre Dixon also had two receptions for 20 yards, and rushed the ball 19 times for 100 yards, and recorded the fifth 100-yard rushing game of his career.
Jackson led Ohio in passing and was 8 of 16 in the air for 117 yards and a TD. He also was the Bobcats leading rusher; he ran the ball for 20 yards.
UConn returns to action next Saturday (Sept. 12), when the team takes on North Carolina in the home opener at Rentschler Field at noon. That game will be televised nationally by ESPNU. Tickets are on sale at UConnHuskies.com and by calling 1-877-AT-UCONN.
- Freshman defensive end Jesse Joseph became the first Husky freshman to start on defense during the FBS era at UConn. Joseph was a January 2009 enrollee. He becomes the first overall true freshman to start since punter Shane Hussar in 2004. Terry Caulley and Deon Anderson started their first games as true freshman on offense in 2002.
- The 157-rushing yards by Jordan Todman was a career-high, the first 100-yard plus effort of his career.
- The game marked the first time UConn had two 100-yard rushers in the same contest since a Nov. 11, 2006 win over Pittsburgh, when Donald Brown and D.J. Hernandez achieved the feat.
- The safety recorded in the second half was just the seventh since the Huskies joined the FBS in 2002 and the first since Nov. 15, 2008 when Robbie Frey smothered Syracuse punter Rob Long in the end zone.
- The Huskies are now 49-38 in their season opening game and have won their last seven season openers dating back to 2003, including two wins over MAC conference teams (2005- Buffalo, 38-0 and 2009- Ohio, 23-16).
Editor’s note: here is a related video from YouTube…
Highlights of Jordan Todman from 2008