List of Connecticut Huskies bowl games

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Bowl game banners at Rentschler Field, home of Connecticut Huskies football, as of Spring 2010

The Connecticut Huskies (UConn) football team has represented the University of Connecticut in National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) football since the team's founding in 1896. The Huskies have played in five post-season bowl games since 2004, all following UConn football's transition from NCAA Division I-AA to Division I-A in 2000,[Note 1] and Connecticut's entry into the Big East Conference for football in 2004. UConn's four-season bowl invitation streak, from 2007 to 2010, was broken in 2011 when they finished with a final record of 5–7 and failed to become bowl eligible.

Under former head coach Randy Edsall, the Connecticut Huskies football program enjoyed unprecedented success. Prior to his hiring in 1999, UConn only appeared in two post-season football contests, during the 1998 NCAA Division I-AA playoffs. In the past decade the Huskies, in addition to their five bowl appearances, have shared two Big East conference championships and been ranked at various times in the Associated Press (AP), Coaches', and Harris polls, as well as the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) standings.[2]

Multiple future National Football League draft picks have had superior performances for Connecticut in bowl games, including the first UConn player ever to be picked in the first round of the draft: running back Donald Brown.[3] Brown made appearances in the 2007 Meineke Car Care Bowl, where he led all Connecticut rushers with 72 yards—fourth-best in UConn bowl game history—and the 2009 International Bowl, where he rushed for 261 yards and a touchdown and was named the game's most valuable player (MVP)—the best rushing performance in Connecticut bowl game history. Dan Orlovsky earned MVP honors for his UConn-bowl game-best passing performance in 2004; he was drafted in the fifth round of the 2005 NFL Draft by the Detroit Lions and currently plays for the Houston Texans. Wide receiver Marcus Easley was drafted in the fourth round of the 2010 NFL Draft by the Buffalo Bills.

The Huskies' first post-season bowl game was in 2004, when they participated in the 2004 Motor City Bowl in Detroit, Michigan on December 27 against the Toledo Rockets. The most recent UConn bowl game occurred on January 1, 2011, when the Huskies faced the Oklahoma Sooners in the 2011 Fiesta Bowl, Connecticut's first Bowl Championship Series (BCS) appearance. A loss in that game brought Connecticut to an overall bowl record of three wins and two losses, a .600 winning percentage.

Appearances per Bowl
Bowl Game Appearances
Motor City Bowl* 1
Meineke Car Care Bowl 1
International Bowl 1
PapaJohns.com Bowl 1
Fiesta Bowl 1

*Beginning with the 2009 game, the Motor City Bowl
was renamed the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl.

†Beginning with the 2011 game, the PapaJohns.com Bowl
was renamed the BBVA Compass Bowl.

Summary table[edit]

Key
# Number of bowl games
Attendance record
Former attendance record
W Win
L Loss
Individual bowl game attendance records are correct as of the end of the 2009 NCAA Division I FBS football season.[4][5]
# Season Bowl game Result Opponent Stadium Location Attendance
1 2004 2004 Motor City Bowl W 39–10 Toledo Rockets Ford Field Detroit, MI 52,552
2 2007 2007 Meineke Car Care Bowl L 24–10 Wake Forest Demon Deacons Bank of America Stadium Charlotte, NC 53,126
3 2008 2009 International Bowl W 38–20 Buffalo Bulls Rogers Centre Toronto, ON, Canada 40,184
4 2009 2010 PapaJohns.com Bowl W 20–7 South Carolina Gamecocks Legion Field Birmingham, AL 45,254
5 2010 2011 Fiesta Bowl L 48–20 Oklahoma Sooners University of Phoenix Stadium Glendale, AZ 67,232

Game capsules[edit]

2004 Motor City Bowl[edit]

2004 Motor City Bowl
Date December 27, 2004
Stadium Ford Field
Location Detroit, MI
Main article: 2004 Motor City Bowl

The first bowl game in Connecticut history came at the conclusion of the 2004 NCAA Division I-A football season, the first year UConn was a full member of the Big East Conference for football.[6] The season before, UConn finished with a 9–3 overall record, but did not receive a bowl invitation due to the lack of conference affiliation.[7] Even as a full member of the Big East, UConn was shut out of the conference-affiliated bowl picture. Pittsburgh, Boston College (in its last year in the Big East before leaving to join the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC)), West Virginia, and Syracuse all finished ahead of the Huskies in a four-way tie for first place; they filled four of the five conference bowl slots. The remaining slot was filled by Notre Dame, who was not a member of the Big East Conference for football but had a contract allowing them to be selected in place of a Big East team.[8] Fortunately for UConn, the Big Ten did not have enough bowl-eligible teams to fill all of its contracted bowl slots, allowing the Motor City Bowl to pick the Huskies.[9] UConn's opponent would be the Toledo Rockets of the Mid-American Conference (MAC), who earned their berth by winning the 2004 MAC Championship Game.[10]

The 2004 Motor City Bowl was played on December 27, 2004 at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan. The game was anticipated to be a high-scoring affair,[11] with both teams' quarterbacks among the top seven nationally in passing that year.[12] However, Toledo quarterback Bruce Gradkowski had broken his throwing hand during the MAC Championship Game and was largely ineffective; he was only able to complete six of twelve passes for 43 yards and did not play in the second half.[13] Connecticut scored what was then a Motor City Bowl-record 17 points in the first quarter, from a field goal, a 32-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Dan Orlovsky to wide receiver Jason Williams on a 4th-down-and-6 play, and a 68-yard punt return for a touchdown by Larry Taylor.[14] In the second quarter, after Toledo finally scored on a one-yard rushing touchdown by Gradkowski, UConn added 13 more points to the scoreboard. The Rockets would not come back in the second half; the Huskies won the game 39–10.[15] Orlovsky was named the game's most valuable player (MVP); he completed 20 of 41 passes for 239 yards and two touchdowns.[14]

2007 Meineke Car Care Bowl[edit]

2007 Meineke Car Care Bowl
Date December 29, 2007
Stadium Bank of America Stadium
Location Charlotte, NC

Following two seasons where they struggled to replace graduated quarterback Dan Orlovsky and lost more games than they won,[16] Connecticut returned to bowl eligibility in 2007, finishing the regular season with a record of 9–3 and claiming a share of the Big East Conference championship. Fellow conference co-champion West Virginia, who beat the Huskies 66–21 that year, earned the Big East's automatic BCS bowl bid; UConn had to settle for the Meineke Car Care Bowl.[17] Their opponent was Wake Forest, the previous season's Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) champion.[18]

In the first half, Connecticut took a 10–0 lead off of a 68-yard punt return for a touchdown by Larry Taylor and a field goal. Wake Forest dominated the second half, taking the lead late in the third quarter off of 20-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Riley Skinner to tight end John Tereshinski. The Demon Deacons added ten more points in the fourth quarter off of a field goal and a nine-yard touchdown run by running back Micah Andrews. The final score was 24–10 in favor of Wake Forest. UConn earned only nine first downs and failed to score an offensive touchdown.[19]

2009 International Bowl[edit]

2009 International Bowl
Date January 3, 2009
Stadium Rogers Centre
Location Toronto, ON, Canada
The UConn marching band performs prior to kickoff.

Connecticut was selected as a participant in the 2009 International Bowl following a 7–5 regular season where they won their first five games, only to lose five of their last seven contests.[20] Facing the Huskies were the Buffalo Bulls with a regular season record of 8–5, highlighted by an upset win over then-No. 12[Note 2] and undefeated Ball State in the 2008 MAC Championship Game.[21] This was the second time, after the 2004 Motor City Bowl, that the Huskies faced the MAC champions in a bowl game.

The Huskies, led by running back Donald Brown's 208 yards rushing, dominated the first half statistically,[22] but found themselves down 20–10 midway through the second quarter due to giving up six fumbles, five of which were recovered by Buffalo. UConn would close the gap to 20–17 by halftime, and take the lead for good late in the third quarter off of a 4-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Tyler Lorenzen to tight end Steve Brouse. The Connecticut victory was sealed when, late in the fourth quarter, Buffalo quarterback Drew Willy threw a pass that was intercepted by UConn safety Dahna Deleston and returned 100 yards for a touchdown, making the final score 38–20 in favor of the Huskies.[23]

Brown was named player of the game.[24] He finished with 261 rushing yards and one touchdown; his 2,083 rushing yards for the 2008 season was best in the NCAA.[23] Following the game, Brown declared his eligibility for the 2009 NFL Draft; he would become the first Connecticut player ever drafted in the first round. Three other UConn players were drafted in the second round.[3]

2010 PapaJohns.com Bowl[edit]

2010 PapaJohns.com Bowl
Date January 3, 2009
Stadium Legion Field
Location Birmingham, AL
Jersey of Jasper Howard held aloft

Connecticut was selected as a participant in the 2010 PapaJohns.com Bowl following a tumultuous 7–5 regular season, marked by the loss of five games by a total of fifteen points between them, a double-overtime victory at Notre Dame, and the murder of cornerback Jasper Howard.[25][26] Facing the Huskies were the South Carolina Gamecocks with the same regular season record of 7–5, highlighted by wins over then-No. 4[Note 2] Mississippi and then-No. 15[Note 2] Clemson.[25] This game would be the first time UConn would face a Southeastern Conference opponent in a bowl game.[26]

Connecticut took control of the contest in the first quarter, scoring on a one-handed 37-yard touchdown reception by wide receiver Kashif Moore and then, after South Carolina failed to convert a fourth down play at their own 32-yard line, kicking a 33-yard field goal to take a 10–0 lead. Running back Andre Dixon scored on a 10-yard rush early in the fourth quarter to put the game away for UConn; the only Gamecock touchdown, on a two-yard run by Brian Maddox, came after the game had effectively been decided. The final score was 20–7 in favor of the Huskies.[27]

Dixon was named player of the game, finishing with 126 rushing yards and one touchdown.[27] Connecticut wide receiver Marcus Easley and South Carolina linebacker Eric Norwood were among four players from the two teams to be selected in the 2010 NFL Draft.[28][29]

2011 Fiesta Bowl[edit]

2011 Fiesta Bowl
Date January 1, 2011
Stadium University of Phoenix Stadium
Location Glendale, AZ
Main article: 2011 Fiesta Bowl

Connecticut was selected to play in the 2011 Fiesta Bowl, their first Bowl Championship Series (BCS) game, following an 8–4 regular season where they split the Big East conference championship with Pittsburgh and West Virginia. The Huskies earned the BCS berth by beating both West Virginia and Pittsburgh in consecutive weeks during the regular season. They faced the Oklahoma Sooners, who beat Nebraska to win the 2010 Big 12 Championship Game. The game marked the first matchup between the Huskies and a Big 12 team in a bowl game, and the first meeting ever in football between Connecticut and Oklahoma.

Oklahoma converted their first two possessions into touchdowns to take a 14–0 lead at the end of the first quarter. The Huskies struck back as cornerback Dwayne Gratz intercepted a pass from Sooner quarterback Landry Jones and returned it for a touchdown; after multiple field goals, the score was 20–10 in Oklahoma's favor at halftime. In the second half, Oklahoma added two more touchdowns on a 59-yard pass and an interception return for a touchdown to extend their lead to 34–10; Connecticut responded by returning the ensuing kickoff for a touchdown. Although the Huskies would kick another field goal to reduce their deficit to 34–20, the Sooners would put the game away in the fourth quarter, scoring two more touchdowns to make the final score 48–20. Connecticut failed to score a single offensive touchdown in the game.[30]

Following the game, Randy Edsall left UConn to become head coach of the Maryland Terrapins football team.[31] He was replaced by Paul Pasqualoni.[32]

Individual statistics[edit]

The below tables list the top five performers by yardage in the indicated statistic.[33][34][35][36]

Key
Pos. Position
QB Quarterback
RB Running back
FB Fullback
WR Wide receiver
TE Tight end
Avg. Average yards per run/pass/reception
(Yards divided by carries/completed passes/receptions)
Long Longest single run or reception
TD Touchdowns
Comp. Completed passes
Att. Attempted passes
Pct. Pass completion percentage
(Completed passes divided by attempted passes)
Int. Interceptions
Rec. Receptions

Rushing[edit]

Player Pos. Game Carries Yards Avg. TD Long
Donald Brown RB 2009 International Bowl 29 261 9.0 1 75
Andre Dixon RB 2010 PapaJohns.com Bowl 33 126 3.8 1 15
Jordan Todman RB 2011 Fiesta Bowl 32 121 3.8 0 19
Donald Brown RB 2007 Meineke Car Care Bowl 13 72 5.5 0 58
Cornell Brockington RB 2004 Motor City Bowl 15 72 4.8 0 15

Passing[edit]

Player Pos. Game Comp. Att. Pct. Yards Avg. TD Int.
Dan Orlovsky QB 2004 Motor City Bowl 20 41 48.8% 239 5.8 2 1
Zach Frazer QB 2011 Fiesta Bowl 19 39 48.7% 223 5.7 0 2
Zach Frazer QB 2010 PapaJohns.com Bowl 9 21 42.9% 107 11.9 1 0
Tyler Lorenzen QB 2007 Meineke Car Care Bowl 13 26 50.0% 98 7.5 0 1
Tyler Lorenzen QB 2009 International Bowl 4 6 66.7% 49 12.3 1 0

Receiving[edit]

Player Pos. Game Rec. Yards Avg. TD Long
Keron Henry WR 2004 Motor City Bowl 9 109 12.1 0 44
Anthony Sherman FB 2011 Fiesta Bowl 3 63 21.0 0 41
Kashif Moore WR 2011 Fiesta Bowl 4 62 15.5 0 28
Ryan Griffin TE 2011 Fiesta Bowl 4 48 12.0 0 15
Matt Cutaia WR 2004 Motor City Bowl 2 47 23.5 0 41

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ In August 2006 the NCAA changed the name of Division I-A to Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) and Division I-AA to Football Championship Subdivision (FCS).[1] In this article the old names are used to refer to events that occurred prior to August 2006.
  2. ^ a b c All rankings are based on the Associated Press (AP) Poll unless otherwise noted.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Albright, Dave (December 15, 2006). "NCAA misses the mark in Division I-AA name change". espn.com (ESPN Internet Ventures). Archived from the original on May 10, 2010. Retrieved May 9, 2010. 
  2. ^ UConn Athletic Communications (2010). 2010 University of Connecticut Football Media Guide (PDF). University of Connecticut. pp. 120–126. Retrieved August 19, 2010. 
  3. ^ a b Perez, Joe (April 25, 2009). "NFL Draft: Brown heads UConn draft class". Norwich Bulletin (GateHouse Media, Inc.). Archived from the original on April 19, 2010. Retrieved April 19, 2010. 
  4. ^ "Bowl/All-Star Game Records". National Collegiate Athletic Association. Retrieved August 12, 2010. 
  5. ^ "Papa Johns Bowl : Bowl History". ESPN Internet Ventures. Archived from the original on August 19, 2010. Retrieved August 19, 2010. 
  6. ^ Carey, Jack (August 20, 2004). "Big East". USA Today. Bonus; p. 4E. 
  7. ^ Finley, Bill (November 12, 2003). "Bowl Parade Will Likely Pass UConn By". The New York Times. Section D; Column 3; Sports Desk; p. 1. 
  8. ^ Weiss, Dick (November 29, 2004). "Big East's BC Mess Pitt's Fiesta Causes Bowl Controversy". New York Daily News. Sports; p. 53. 
  9. ^ Price, Terry (October 25, 2004). "No Guarantees: Too Soon For Uconn To Be Thinking Bowl". The Hartford Courant (Tribune Corporation). Archived from the original on February 21, 2010. Retrieved February 21, 2010. 
  10. ^ "Rockets Win MAC Championship, Earn Bid to Motor City Bowl" (Press release). MAC-Sports.com. December 2, 2004. Archived from the original on February 21, 2010. Retrieved September 9, 2009. 
  11. ^ Markey, Matt (December 27, 2004). "A high-powered Motor City Bowl: Fans expecting Toledo, UConn to light up the scoreboard". The Blade (The Toledo Blade Company). Archived from the original on February 21, 2010. Retrieved February 21, 2010. 
  12. ^ Price, Terry (December 27, 2004). "Uconn Geared Up For First Bowl: Huskies New At This, Rockets Have Been There". The Hartford Courant (Tribune Corporation). Archived from the original on February 21, 2010. Retrieved February 21, 2010. 
  13. ^ Thamel, Pete (December 28, 2004). "A Winning Bowl Debut For UConn". The New York Times. Section D; Column 1; Sports Desk; Football; p. 2. 
  14. ^ a b UConn Athletic Communications (2009). 2009 University of Connecticut Football Media Guide (pdf). University of Connecticut. p. 138. Retrieved February 21, 2010. 
  15. ^ "Huskies dominate in every phase of game". espn.com (ESPN Internet Ventures). Associated Press. December 27, 2004. Archived from the original on August 19, 2010. Retrieved August 19, 2010. 
  16. ^ Cirminiello, Richard (July 31, 2007). "2007 Connecticut Preview". CollegeFootballNews.com (Scout.com). Archived from the original on August 19, 2010. Retrieved August 19, 2010. 
  17. ^ Cirminiello, Richard (December 20, 2007). "2007 Meineke Car Care Bowl - UConn vs. Wake". CollegeFootballNews.com (Scout.com). Archived from the original on August 19, 2010. Retrieved August 19, 2010. 
  18. ^ Courchesne, Shawn (December 3, 2007). "Meineke Car Care Bowl". The Hartford Courant (Tribune Corporation). Archived from the original on August 19, 2010. Retrieved August 19, 2010. 
  19. ^ "Demon Deacons wake up in 2nd half to stop UConn". espn.com (ESPN Internet Ventures). Associated Press. December 29, 2007. Archived from the original on August 19, 2010. Retrieved August 19, 2010. 
  20. ^ "2009 Internat'l Bowl Preview – UB vs. UConn". CollegeFootballNews.com (Scout.com). December 20, 2008. Archived from the original on May 7, 2010. Retrieved May 7, 2010. 
  21. ^ "Four fumbles doom No. 12 Ball State in MAC finale". espn.com (ESPN Internet Ventures). Associated Press. December 5, 2008. Archived from the original on May 5, 2010. Retrieved May 5, 2010. 
  22. ^ UConn Athletic Communications (2009). 2009 University of Connecticut Football Media Guide (PDF). University of Connecticut. p. 140. Retrieved February 21, 2010. 
  23. ^ a b "Draft-bound Brown steps up big as UConn thwarts Buffalo". espn.com (ESPN Internet Ventures). Associated Press. January 3, 2009. Archived from the original on April 15, 2010. Retrieved April 15, 2010. 
  24. ^ "International Bowl: Bowl History". www.internationalbowl.com. International Bowl. Archived from the original on April 21, 2010. Retrieved April 19, 2010. 
  25. ^ a b "South Carolina-Connecticut Preview". espn.com (ESPN Internet Ventures). STATS INC. January 2, 2010. Archived from the original on June 11, 2010. Retrieved June 11, 2010. 
  26. ^ a b Cirminiello, Richard (December 29, 2009). "2010 PapaJohns.com Bowl - S. Car. vs. UConn". CollegeFootballNews.com (Scout.com). Archived from the original on June 11, 2010. Retrieved June 11, 2010. 
  27. ^ a b "Dixon carries UConn past South Carolina, to Papajohns.com Bowl victory". espn.com (ESPN Internet Ventures). Associated Press. January 2, 2010. Archived from the original on August 19, 2010. Retrieved August 19, 2010. 
  28. ^ "National Football League: NFL Draft Tracker 2010". NFL Enterprises LLC. Archived from the original on August 19, 2010. Retrieved August 19, 2010. 
  29. ^ "National Football League: NFL Draft Tracker 2010". NFL Enterprises LLC. Archived from the original on August 19, 2010. Retrieved August 19, 2010. 
  30. ^ "Landry Jones throws for 429 yards as Sooners claim Fiesta Bowl win". espn.com (ESPN Internet Ventures). Associated Press. January 3, 2011. Archived from the original on May 8, 2011. Retrieved May 8, 2011. 
  31. ^ "Randy Edsall to coach Maryland". espn.com (ESPN Internet Ventures). Associated Press. January 3, 2011. Archived from the original on January 8, 2011. Retrieved January 8, 2011. 
  32. ^ Connors, Bob (January 14, 2011). "Pasqualoni Named UConn's New Coach". NBC Connecticut (NBCUniversal, Inc.). Archived from the original on December 27, 2011. Retrieved December 27, 2011. 
  33. ^ "Toledo Rockets vs. Connecticut Huskies – Box Score – December 27, 2004 – ESPN". espn.com (ESPN Internet Ventures). December 27, 2004. Archived from the original on September 6, 2010. Retrieved September 6, 2010. 
  34. ^ "Connecticut Huskies vs. Wake Forest Demon Deacons – Box Score – December 29, 2007 – ESPN". espn.com (ESPN Internet Ventures). December 29, 2007. Archived from the original on July 15, 2010. Retrieved July 15, 2010. 
  35. ^ "Buffalo Bulls vs. Connecticut Huskies – Box Score – January 3, 2009 – ESPN". espn.com (ESPN Internet Ventures). December 27, 2004. Archived from the original on September 6, 2010. Retrieved September 6, 2010. 
  36. ^ "South Carolina Gamecocks vs. Connecticut Huskies – Box Score – January 2, 2010 – ESPN". espn.com (ESPN Internet Ventures). December 27, 2004. Archived from the original on September 6, 2010. Retrieved September 6, 2010.