Connecticut 23, Syracuse 6
Jordan Todman ran for 130 yards and scored on two short runs, and Connecticut capitalized on two turnovers to beat Syracuse 23-6 on Saturday night.
It was the third straight win overall and fourth straight over Syracuse for the Huskies (6-4, 3-2 Big East), who won their first road game of the season to become bowl-eligible.
The loss knocked Syracuse (7-4, 4-3) out of second place in the conference and dented the Orange's hopes of capturing the league's automatic Bowl Championship Series berth.
Pittsburgh beat South Florida 17-10 earlier Saturday to retain sole possession of first place in the Big East. The Panthers can clinch the title and the league's automatic BCS bowl berth by winning their remaining two games, at home against West Virginia and at Cincinnati.
Zach Frazer was an efficient 13 of 21 passing for 98 yards, including two important fourth-down completions for UConn, which gained only 254 yards on offense and held Syracuse to 235.
Delone Carter had 67 yards rushing to move past James Mungro for fourth all-time at Syracuse with 2,876. He has 1,005 yards this season.
Ryan Nassib finished 20 of 36 for 171 yards for Syracuse, but lost a fumble and threw an interception that helped turn the game Connecticut's way.
Syracuse had shut out five opponents in the second half, including South Florida, West Virginia and Cincinnati, and the Huskies had trouble early in the third while holding a slim 10-3 lead.
Nick Williams fumbled a punt and Derrell Smith recovered for the Orange at the UConn 31. But Syracuse continued to sputter offensively and Ross Krautman kicked a 35-yard field goal to pull the Orange to 10-6 midway through the third.
The Huskies then went three-and-out, but Cole Wagner's booming 53-yard punt pinned the Orange back at their own 9 and the game quickly began to tilt in UConn's favor.
Defensive tackle Kendall Reyes, who nabbed his first career interception in the second quarter, forced a fumble by Nassib. Defensive end Trevardo Williams recovered for the Huskies at the 4 and Todman scored on a 2-yard run to boost the lead to 17-6 with 4:41 left in the third.
The Huskies put the game out of reach after another Orange mistake, this one a shanked 14-yard punt by Rob Long, who entered the game ranked second in the conference with a 44.5-yard average.
Connecticut took over at the Syracuse 39 and, facing a fourth-and-4 at the 33, Huskies coach Randy Edsall elected to go for it. Edsall gambled and won last week on a fourth-and-1 play from the UConn 19 with 2 1/2 minutes left, which preserved a critical win over Pitt, and Frazer made this decision a good one, too. He completed a 10-yard pass over the middle to tight end Ryan Griffin, setting up Todman's 2-yard TD run.
Dave Teggart added field goals of 35 and 21 yards in the fourth quarter.
Connecticut capitalized on the lone turnover of the first half and converted a critical fourth-down play to take a 10-3 halftime lead.
The Huskies quieted the deafening cheers at the Carrier Dome moments after having to call a timeout following their second play from scrimmage because of the noise. And it was Todman, the nation's second-leading rusher at 147 yards per game, who did the silencing with a 29-yard run down the right side. Frazer then hit Isiah Moore for 13 yards and Michael Smith for 17 more, and Todman scored on a 1-yard run to give UConn a 7-0 lead with 5:16 left in the first quarter.
Freshman Ross Krautman kicked a 42-yard field goal, his 16th in 17 attempts, to pull the Orange to 7-3 at the end of the period.
The Huskies drove to the Syracuse 31 late in the second behind Todman, but Orange linebacker Marquis Spruill tackled Robbie Frey for a 7-yard loss on a third-and-3 play and Syracuse took over after Teggart missed a 49-yard field goal attempt.
Three plays later, the Huskies were ready to strike again. Nassib's pass over the middle bounced off the hands of tight end Nick Provo and fluttered right to defensive tackle Kendall Reyes, giving the Huskies the ball at the Orange 38.
After Todman was forced out of bounds for a 3-yard loss on third down, Frazer hit Moore with a critical 10-yard pass on fourth-and-6 to set up Teggart's 35-yard field goal with 31 seconds left in the half.