EAST HARTFORD — Arkeel Newsome is certainly not shy about having big games. His breakout season continued on Friday night against East Carolina on the eve of Halloween eve.
Ahead by 11 points in the third quarter, Newsome took the hand off from quarterback Bryant Shirreffs, found a hole that the offensive line opened up for him and ran 90 yards into the end zone.
Fifteen seconds was all it took. It seemed like much less.
The 90-yard touchdown run was the longest of Newsome’s career and the third longest rush in school history, trailing Gerry White (99 yards in 1960) and Terry Caulley (98 yards in 2006). The touchdown put UConn up 24-6.
Newsome finished the game with 179 rushing yards, 244 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns to help lead UConn over East Carolina 31-13 on Friday night in front of 23,168 fans at Pratt & Whitney Stadium at Rentschler Field.
“He’s always been a talented player and he’s talented still with a wonderful rushing game and a play that kind of broke the game at that point,” head coach Bob Diaco said.
His 179 rushing yards were the most by a Husky player since Jordan Todman’s 192 in 2010 against Temple.
“He’s quick. He’s elusive, man. He’s an excellent player and we’re glad it showcased tonight,” linebacker Marquise Vann said.
Newsome also opened the scoring for the Huskies, running into the end zone from two yards out in the second quarter that gave UConn (4-5, 2-3 the American) the lead 10-6. They wouldn’t relinquish the lead.
East Carolina (4-5, 2-3 the American) did not have an answer for the UConn run game, as the Huskies would run for 220 yards Friday night.
Diaco has said over the past few weeks that he wanted to try and get Newsome the ball more. Good things happen when he touches the ball.
Newsome has had over 200 all-purpose yards in three of the last four games.
“Every day he gets better,” Diaco said. “He’s eliminating things that are distractions and decelerations as a young guy. He’s starting to get it all figured out: how to train, how to eat, how to sleep, how to become a strong student. And that all translates to production on the field.”