By: PAT EATON-ROBB
EAST HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) UConn quarterback Casey Cochran threw for a school record 461 yards and four touchdowns in leading the Huskies to a 45-10 win over Memphis in the season finale for both teams.
The redshirt freshman completed 36 of 54 attempts and didn’t throw an interception in leading the Huskies to a third straight win after an 0-9 start to the season.
Geremy Davis caught a school record 15 balls for 207 yards and a touchdown, becoming UConn’s first 1,000-yard receiver since 1998.
Memphis quarterback Paxton Lynch threw for 169 yards and a touchdown as Tigers closed the season with their third consecutive loss.
It was last college game for 29 seniors, 14 from UConn (3-9, 3-5 American Athletic Conference) and 15 from Memphis (3-9, 1-7).
It also was likely the final game for UConn interim coach T.J. Weist, who took the reins from Paul Pasqualoni who was fired after the Huskies’ 0-4 start.
The Huskies racked up 538 yards of offense, while holding Memphis to 257.
Cochran, who became the first UConn quarterback to throw for 400 yards since Dan Orlovsky in 2004, had 259 yards and three touchdowns in the first half.
Deshon Foxx caught the first, an 18-yard strike in the back of the end zone that gave the Huskies a 7-3 first-quarter lead. Foxx had 11 catches for 137 yards and two scores. His 18-yard fourth quarter catch gave Cochran his passing record.
Cochran hit Davis on a 15-yard fade route in the left side of the end zone on the Huskies’ next drive. Davis outjumped two Memphis defenders for the ball.
The Huskies drove 63 yards in the final minute of the half, capping the drive when Cochran rolled right and threw a swing pass back to the left side, which running back Lyle McCombs caught and jogged into the end zone from 11-yards out.
McCombs capped the Huskies first drive of the second half with a 7-yard touchdown run.
A 21-yard catch by Davis in the third quarter put him over 1,000-yard mark, setting up a 46-yard field goal by Chad Christen. Davis is the first UConn receiver to get that milestone since Carl Bond and John Fitzsimmons both did it in 1998.
He had a 45-yard catch-and-run in the fourth quarter to set up another touchdown and broke the school record on an 18-yard catch with 6 1/2 minutes left in the game.
Memphis opened the scoring with a 43-yard field goal, which was set up by a 34-yard pass to Keiwone Malone, after Lynch had baited cornerback Byron Jones on a run-pass option.
The Tigers didn’t score again until Lynch hit Malone for a 10-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter that cut the UConn lead to 31-10.
UConn responded with a 32-yard wide receiver screen pass for a touchdown from Cochran to Foxx on a fourth-and-1.
Connecticut athletic director Warde Manuel said face-to-face interviews for a new football coach will begin Sunday. Manuel, speaking before the game, would not say whether Weist would get an interview. But, he said he was impressed by the job the interim coach had done in keeping the team together and focused.
He said job has attracted an impressive pool of candidates, though he declined to comment on who’s in the running, and said money would not be an impediment to hiring the right candidate, with one qualification.
“This is not a Nick Saban situation,” he said. “I don’t want you all writing, well Warde says there is unlimited money. No there’s not.”
This was just the third game Memphis has ever played in the Northeast. The other two were at Army in 1985 and 2000.
UConn had not won three games in a row since closing the 2010 regular season with five straight victories before losing in the Fiesta Bowl to Oklahoma. The Huskies haven’t finished a season with three consecutive wins since 2000.
Connecticut wore special green ribbons on their helmets to honor the victims of last year’s shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary school, which occurred a year ago next Saturday.