The doors to the UConn locker room were propped open, as if to welcome in the world. At the center of the room, coach Randy Edsall was surrounded by his players. Then, Edsall said the words that perfectly defined the moment.
``Today,'' Edsall said, ``this football program is a national program.''
UConn made it happen Saturday.
The Huskies signaled their emergence as a Division I-A program on the rise with a 37-20 upset of Iowa State before 34,582 at Jack Trice Stadium.
Freshman Terry Caulley rushed for a season-high 191 yards, including a 68-yard touchdown, and Dan Orlovsky completed three touchdown passes in the victory over a Big 12 team ranked ninth in the country earlier this season.
``What a great way to end the year,'' senior tight end Tommy Collins said. ``This is going to set the stage for years to come.''
The Huskies (6-6) finished the season by winning four in a row. But none of the other victories in the streak or any in UConn's three years as a Division I-A program compared with beating Iowa State (7-6).
The Cyclones, who have lost five of six, are headed to a bowl for the third consecutive year. Iowa State, 6-0 at home before Saturday, also boasts a premier player in quarterback Seneca Wallace, who last month was mentioned as a Heisman candidate.
``This is a very significant win for this program and the university,'' Edsall said. ``We sent a message that we can beat some of the big boys -- and we did.''
UConn took a 10-0 lead, but saw Iowa State rally for a 20-10 lead. It seemed like the more established team was on the way to doing what most everyone expected.
The Huskies had other expectations, scoring the next 27 points against Iowa State, whose previous losses were to Top 25 teams.
``Connecticut made more plays than we did,'' Iowa State wide receiver Jack Whitver said. ``We got ourselves in a hole early and had to fight back. The difference was [UConn] fought for the entire 60 minutes.''
Caulley's 68-yard touchdown started UConn's second-half surge, pulling the Huskies to 20-17 with 10:16 left in the third quarter. Caulley found a seam over the right side and used his sprinter's speed.
``That was a big play for us,'' Orlovsky said. ``It might have been the biggest play of the game. We went down 20-10. He came back and took us back.''
Caulley's heroics were matched by UConn's defense, which harassed Wallace into 19-for-44 passing. The Huskies had four interceptions, two by linebacker Maurice Lloyd.
An interception by Terrance Smith with 3:22 left in the third quarter gave UConn more momentum and the ball at the Iowa State 24.
The Huskies turned it into six points on the next play as Orlovsky stood in the pocket and waited until he spotted Wes Timko uncovered in the end zone to make it 24-20 with 3:15 left in the quarter.
The next time the Huskies got the ball it was at their 4. But they kept their cool and drove 96 yards for a touchdown. Orlovsky's 53-yard pass to Jason Williams gave the Huskies a 31-20 lead with 13:14 remaining..
Nov. 24, 2002: Arrival Time. Huskies Stun Iowa State To Finish Season 6-6
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