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, with both teams' quarterbacks among the top seven nationally in passing that year. 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. 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. 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. Orlovsky was named the game's most valuable player (MVP); he completed 20 of 41 passes for 239 yards and two touchdowns.
Following two seasons where they struggled to replace graduated quarterback Dan Orlovsky and lost more games than they won, 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. Their opponent was Wake Forest, the previous season's Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) champion.
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.
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. 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. 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 backDonald Brown's 208 yards rushing, dominated the first half statistically, 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.
Brown was named player of the game. He finished with 261 rushing yards and one touchdown; his 2,083 rushing yards for the 2008 season was best in the NCAA. 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.
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.
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.