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September 14, 2008EAST HARTFORD, Conn. - Forget what Donald Brown can do. At this point, there's not much Brown can't do.
The junior running back made it two consecutive games with over 200 yards rushing, gaining 206 on the ground Saturday and scoring three touchdowns as UConn defeated Virginia, 45-10, at Rentschler Field.
Brown, who scored eight touchdowns all of last season, tied that mark with a 63-yard run late in the third quarter. He also caught a career-high five passes for 32 yards in the victory.
"Every game's important and every game means the world to me, but there's two red-letter games that I have on the schedule, and this was one of them," said Brown, who was recruited heavily by Virginia and also has had success against state school Rutgers.
Unlike in the first two games when Brown had to carry the offense, this one had it all - fitting for a week in which criticism of the conservative play-calling peaked. Quarterback Tyler Lorenzen finished 13-for-15 with 124 yards and a touchdown after completing his first 11 passes, then rushed an additional 10 times for 52 yards.
Cornerback Darius Butler contributed to the success as well, scoring a 13-yard rushing touchdown on an end-around in the second quarter and finishing with two catches - the first for 11 yards and the second for 29.
"The big thing is that we want to have balance," UConn head coach Randy Edsall said. "Balance might not be throwing it as much as you run it, but when you have the running game going the way we did and you throw it and you're making completions, it all falls hand-in-hand."
The Huskies (3-0) put the throttle on early and never looked back. Brown capped the 70-yard opening drive with a three-yard touchdown run, Lorenzen found Anthony Davis in the back of the end zone on a fade route and Butler scored on the reverse - all within the first 20 minutes.
An eight-yard touchdown run by Brown with under two minutes remaining in the first half sent UConn into the break with a 28-0 lead, overwhelming a Virginia defense that would end up surrendering 506 yards - the second time an opponent broke the half-century mark in three games.
A 43-yard field goal from Virginia's Yannick Reyering in the third quarter interrupted, but did not halt, the scoring. Brown answered the conversion with the 63-yard touchdown, followed by a 14-yard run by the debuting Jordan Todman and a 29-yard field goal by Tony Ciaravino in the fourth.
The Cavaliers' Cedric Peerman scored the first touchdown allowed by UConn all season with a one-yard rush five minutes into the fourth quarter. It was the only highlight for a Virginia offense that, led by first-time starting quarterback Marc Verica, gained just 219 yards. Verica finished 22-for-30 with 158 yards and a touchdown.
"He made some decent throws," said Virginia head coach Al Groh. "Some plays he made needed clearer decisions and more accurate throws, but it didn't have anything to do with poise and confidence."
The opposite could be said for Lorenzen. The quarterback, who struggled mightily in his first two games, gained confidence as the game went on and said it came easy as he just tried to have fun.
"I think the whole time we had the confidence," he said. "I know we did, because we all know what we can do and what we're capable of. I think it was good for us that we actually came out and did it, and I think there will be more to come."
Zac Boyer, the editor and publisher of UConnReport.com, covers UConn sports for Rivals.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.