Michigan vs. Connecticut: Score and Analysis of Wolverines' Near Upset Loss

Tim Keeney@@t_keenContributor ISeptember 21, 2013

For the second week in a row, No. 15 Michigan narrowly escaped a massive upset scare, this time outlasting Connecticut, 24-21, at Rentschler Field on Saturday night.

But hey, a win's a win, and the Wolverines remain undefeated: 

Running back Fitzgerald Toussaint was vital in the Wolverines' comeback victory, scoring two touchdowns in the second half and finishing the contest with 120 rushing yards on 24 carries.

He nearly accounted for half of Michigan's total yardage (284). 

The 0-3 Huskies got just 206 yards of total offense, but they were able to stay in the lead for a large majority of the game by slowing down a high-powered Michigan attack—the Wolverines were averaging nearly 450 yards and 42.7 points per game before Saturday—and forcing four turnovers per contest.

Sep 21, 2013; East Hartford, CT, USA; Connecticut Huskies cornerback Byron Jones (16) reacts after intercepting a pass intended for Michigan Wolverines wide receiver Jehu Chesson (not pictured) in the second quarter at Rentschler Field. Mandatory Credit:
David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

One of those turnovers, a fumble by quarterback Devin Gardner, was picked up by Ty-Meer Brown and returned 34 yards for the score.

ESPN's College Football Twitter feed gives us a look at the play:

Suddenly, Paul Pasqualoni's squad was up 21-7 in the third quarter in front of a raucous crowd and the upset bid was on.

But for the second time in seven days, the Wolverines showed resolve with their backs against the wall.

Toussaint capped off a nine-play, 75-yard touchdown drive with a 35-yard scamper to cut the lead to seven points heading into the fourth quarter.

Attempting to protect the lead, UConn QB Chandler Whitmer picked an inopportune time for the Huskies' first turnover of the game. He attempted to force a throw into tight coverage and it was intercepted by Desmond Morgan, who returned the ball 29 yards to the Huskies 12-yard line. 

On the next play, Toussaint punched it in for his second score of the game. 

After a quick three-and-out from the Huskies, Toussaint and Gardner led the Wolverines back down the field to set up a 21-yard field goal for Brendan Gibbons, giving the Wolverines their first lead since the first quarter, at 24-21. 

With just under five minutes to work with, Connecticut began to move the ball back down the field, but a false start and sack made it an impossible 4th-and-29. 

Whitmer found Deshon Foxx for 26 yards, but it was too little as Michigan went into the victory formation and ran out the clock for the narrow victory. 

Brady Hoke's team is 4-0, but it needs to clean things up before Big Ten play. 

Quarterback Devin Gardner ran for 59 yards and a score, but he completed just 52.0 percent of his throws for 111 yards and two interceptions, while his mistakes led to 14 UConn points. 

Luckily for the Wolverines, though, they have two weeks to clean things up before they host Minnesota on Oct. 5. 

The Huskies, meanwhile, deserve plenty of credit for Saturday's commendable effort, but they will continue to search for their first victory of the season. They travel to Buffalo to take on the Bulls next Saturday.