NEW YORK (AP) – With Army clinging to a 28-21 lead, Chris Carnegie returned his second interception 99 yards up the left sideline for a touchdown to lift the Black Knights to a 35-21 win over UConn, their first victory at Yankee Stadium since 1960.
UConn pulled to within 28-21 with 2:06 to go, improbably recovered the onside kick, and marched all the way to the 6 before Carnegie picked off Chandler Whitmer at the 1 and ran it all the way back to clinch it.
Quarterback Angel Santiago ran for 97 yards and two touchdowns on 25 carries to lead a balanced rushing attack. The Black Knights (3-6) never trailed but almost faced overtime before Carnegie’s clutch pick-6.
Joe Walker added two touchdowns on the ground for the Black Knights, who racked up 327 rushing yards to break a three-game losing streak.
Whitmer had two touchdowns on 19-of-31 passing for 171 yards and added another score on the ground for the Huskies (2-7, 1-4 American Athletic Conference), who have lost six of seven.
But Whitmer didn’t get hot until late. Facing fourth-and-6 with 12:54 left in the game, UConn stayed alive when Whitmer found tight end Sean McQuillan over the middle for a 16-yard touchdown to pull to within 21-14.
Army responded on third-and-goal with 4:22 remaining, when Santiago barely broke the goal line to go up 28-14. UConn cut it to 28-21 with 2:06 left on Whitmer’s 1-yard completion to Noel Thomas.
Jamar Summers recovered the onside kick for UConn when Army’s A.J. Schurr couldn’t secure it. Whitmer then broke loose for 26 yards on the opening play of the drive, and picked up another first down two plays later with 1:20 to go.
It didn’t feel like it late, but Army never trailed. The nation’s No. 5 rushing offense, Army’s crafty triple option had no trouble against UConn’s 27th-best rushing defense.
Some timely conversions and lengthy drives were a potent mix for Army, which pushed ahead by two touchdowns on the opening drive of the second half. Following its second fourth-down conversion from inside the 6-yard line, Army went up 21-7 midway through the third on a pitch to Walker, who turned the corner for a 2-yard touchdown.
A week after converting just one of 12 third downs in a 23-6 loss to Air Force, Army kept its opening drive alive with a key 35-yard run off a pitch left by Terry Baggett on third down. The Black Knights converted six of their first seven third downs.
Then, facing fourth-and-2 from the 6, placeholder Schurr picked up a fake field goal and scurried right to keep the drive going. Santiago broke through on a keeper two plays later to cap Army’s longest drive of the year, 89 yards on 16 plays, and the Black Knights were up 7-0.
Army’s offense got right back to it after Carnegie intercepted a tipped pass from Whitmer.
The Black Knights then ripped off another 85-yard drive, keyed by a third-and-2 pitch to Trenton Turrentine on the edge, and went ahead 14-0 after Walker ran in from 4 yards out.
The Black Knights were back in UConn territory with 2:04 left in the first half when Santiago fumbled on a scramble. Junior Joseph recovered, giving the Huskies a crucial chance to get on the board before halftime.
The Huskies didn’t waste the opportunity.
Whitmer, back under center, found Thomas for a 26-yard pass to Army’s 32 before Max DeLorenzo, untouched through the middle, broke off a 26-yard run on his first carry.
That brought UConn to the 6 and set up Whitmer’s 2-yard sneak with 47 seconds to go and cut Army’s lead to 14-7.
The Black Knights, who improved to 15-21-5 at Yankee Stadium, rushed for 192 yards on 34 carries in the opening half. UConn dropped to 5-2 against Army all-time.
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