This was exactly what everyone pictured.
OK, maybe Indiana didn't see this coming. But UConn did.
The Huskies opened Rentschler Field Saturday the way they hoped they would -- triumphantly, even majestically.
With many of the 38,109 roaring approval, UConn rolled over Indiana, 34-10.
It was the first game at ``The Rent,'' the stadium built for UConn's growing Division I-A program.
``It was just a great way to start it all off,'' an emotional UConn coach Randy Edsall said.
UConn took a 10-0 lead in the first quarter and never lost control -- until the final gun sounded and the celebration began.
``It was everything we imagined and more,'' UConn center Brian Markowski said. ``We've been dreaming about playing a game like this.''
The stadium was the co-feature in this historic premier. It was nearly filled, and it was loud. The biggest complaints were parking-related.
There was not much to complain about when it came to the Huskies' performance. UConn made itself right at home by picking up where it left off last season.
Dan Orlovsky passed for 307 yards and three touchdowns.
Terry Caulley rushed for 166 yards on 22 carries, including a 43-yard touchdown.
The defense, led by senior Sean Mulcahy, stuffed Indiana's running game and harried former Notre Dame quarterback Matt LoVecchio with five sacks.
Redshirt freshman Matt Nuzie shook off opening-day nerves to make two of three field goals, including the first points at ``The Rent.''
UConn's drive to become a successful Division I-A program took another step forward by the mere opening of the stadium. But a convincing victory over a Big Ten team -- albeit a lowly one -- was a leap.
``We're moving in the right direction,'' senior wide receiver O'Neil Wilson said. ``We're steamrolling in the right direction.''
The Huskies won their fifth in a row, including four to close last season. The Hoosiers lost their seventh straight dating to last year.
``I anticipated our offense playing better,'' Indiana coach Gerry DiNardo said. ``Other than that I knew it was going to be a tough game.''
Indiana was determined to shut down Caulley, who rushed for 37 yards in the first half. But that left the Huskies receivers room to roam.
Orlovsky had time to sit in the pocket or roll out and take shots downfield. He completed 14 of 24 passes for 198 yards and two TDs in the first half as the Huskies took a 17-3 lead.
When Indiana shifted its attention away from Caulley in the second half, he made up ground in a hurry. His 38-yard run on UConn's first play of the second half set up Orlovsky's third TD pass, a 9-yard completion to Wilson. Caulley left at least six would-be tacklers in his wake.
``I think he broke 25 tackles,'' Orlovsky said.
Wilson's TD increased the UConn lead to 24-3 with 13:01 remaining in the third quarter.
Caulley added a 43-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter that brought the crowd to its feet.
Orlovsky spread the ball around. Wilson caught eight passes for 92 yards and two TDs. Senior Shaun Feldeisen had six catches for 73 yards and a TD. Keron Henry had three for 66 yards. Caulley also chipped in with six receptions for 52 yards.
``We have a great receiving corps,'' Caulley said. ``Dan hurt them with the pass. In the second half, they respected the pass a little too much and we gashed them with some runs.''
The Huskies' defense limited Indiana to 110 yards rushing.
``We expected they were going to try to run the ball down our throats,'' UConn defensive tackle Ryan Bushey said. ``That's Big Ten football -- keep hitting us with that. I think we surprised them with how well we played the run.''
LoVecchio didn't get a lot of help from his receivers -- fullback John Pannazzo dropped four passes -- and finished 13 of 29 for 211 yards and one touchdown.
Indiana was reluctant to turn LoVecchio loose early since he was playing his first game since transferring from Notre Dame after the 2001 season.
``I wanted to play the first half conservatively offensively,'' DiNardo said. ``I didn't think it would be beneficial to our defense if we were wide open early in this game.''
UConn took the opening kickoff and moved to the IU 20-yard line. Nuzie's 37-yard field goal gave UConn a 3-0 lead after only 2:36.
Indiana fumbled on its first possession. UConn's Justin Perkins recovered, but a celebration penalty put the Huskies at the Hoosiers 41.
Four plays later, Orlovsky found Wilson for a 16-yard touchdown pass.
Indiana's Bryan Robertson kicked a 28-yard field goal with 3:05 remaining in the first quarter.
UConn took a 17-3 lead when Orlovsky hit Feldeisen with a 13-yard pass with 2:28 remaining in the second quarter.
Caulley took over in the second half, rushing for 129 yards to lead the Huskies to the finish line.
``We came into this game confident,'' Orlovsky said. ``We came in saying we can play with anyone if we play like we can. I didn't expect this. I didn't expect us to come out and dominate a Big Ten opponent.''Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun