Williams Does It Again

Williams heads toward paydirt  (US PRESSWIRE)

EAST HARTFORD, Conn. – For the second time this season, Connecticut's return specialist Nick Williams was able to find the end zone on a punt return, this time for 80 yards against Big East opponent Pittsburgh.

In the second quarter, Pitt started its second drive on its own 33-yard line. After going three-and-out against the UConn defense, Pitt was forced to punt. Matt Yolick's punt traveled 40 yards, but right into the hands of Williams. Yolick had to regret that.

"Well, right from the jump he didn't get a great kick off," Williams said. "There wasn't a lot of hang time, which is typical this time of year with punters. So I had it made up in my mind going into the week that I wasn't going to fair catch and he gave me the right kick … It wasn't really an impressive return, I think I just went straight."

Despite his modesty, Williams did make an impressive punt return. Catching the ball on the 20, Williams dodged his first tackler with a well-timed stutter step. After two quick UConn blocks, Williams found a hole and raced up the middle of the field. With only Yolick to beat, Williams ran the ball up the sideline for the score.

"It's nice when you see the punter and it's not some safety or cornerback back there," Williams said. "I broke through the crease and it was just me and him, there wasn't anybody there. Everybody held up, did their jobs and we executed. It was nice to see that."

The touchdown put UConn up 17-0 with 9:26 left in the second quarter. The Huskies would go on to win 24-17, holding off a late game comeback attempt from Pitt. It was their first Big East win of the season.

"Nick just made the first two guys miss," UConn coach Paul Pasqualoni said. "I thought we had some good blocks on that play. But Nick got the thing away."

The 80- yard return was a career best for Williams. With two punt returns for touchdown this season, Williams is tied for the most in a season in UConn history. He is now second in school history with a total of four career put and kickoff returns combined. Williams' first career punt return for a touchdown was 58 yards, which came earlier in the season in the 24-21 victory over Maryland on Sept. 15.

Williams found himself all over the stat sheet against Pitt. He had four punt returns, three of which were fair caught. He had two kick returns for 42 yards, three catches for 31 receiving yards and one rush for seven yards.

"I think tonight, the offense played pretty well, the defense played pretty well and special teams made an impact," Williams said.

It had been a while since UConn players could say that.

UConnPlaybook.com publisher Ken Davis contributed to this story.

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