>Oklahoma vs. Connecticut
The Huskies could not have gotten a bigger challenge for their first appearance on college football’s biggest stage than facing the powerful Sooners on Saturday night at Glendale, Ariz.
Connecticut’s path to Arizona began in 1997, when the school voted to accept the invite from the Big East Conference and upgrade from a I-AA program.
The 25th-ranked Huskies (8-4) then joined the Big East for the 2004 season — one year early — after the Atlantic Coast Conference poached Miami and Virginia Tech in 2003. They earned their first bowl appearance that year, and the Fiesta Bowl will be their fourth consecutive postseason game.
Oklahoma (11-2) is making its 12th bowl appearance in as many seasons under coach Bob Stoops and 44th overall. Its 25 victories are tied for fifth all-time, and the eighth BCS bowl appearance trails only Ohio State’s nine. Unfiortunately, they have lost five consecutive BCS games — two for the national championship — since winning the 2003 Rose Bowl. Two other defeats, the 2007 and 2008 Fiesta Bowls, came when the Sooners were heavy favorites before losing to Boise State and West Virginia, respectively.
If the Huskies have any hope in winning, their fate will ride on the legs of two-time 1,000-yard rusher Jordan Todman. The tailback had 1,574 yards and 14 TDs to earn Big East offensive player of the year honors and is second in the nation at 143.1 yards per game.
With the Sooners likely to stack the box in an attempt to slow Todman, there will be pressure on Zach Frazer to keep Oklahoma’s defense honest. The senior, though, topped 200 yards just once this season and completed only 52.7 percent of his 222 passes for 1,202 yards and five TDs.
The Sooners are fourth among FBS teams in passing at 336.8 yards per game, 13th in total offense (478.1 ypg) and 17th in scoring (36.4 points per game).
Landry Jones threw for 4,289 yards and 35 touchdowns, with receiver Ryan Broyles posting his second straight 1,000-yard season. He finished with career highs of 118 receptions and 1,452 yards to go with 13 touchdowns and is Oklahoma’s all-time leader in receptions, receiving yards and receiving TDs.
Five players had at least 26 receptions for the Sooners, and running back DeMarco Murray is one of them. He had 1,121 rushing yards and 14 TDs to go with 69 receptions, 595 yards and five receiving scores.
Prediction: As much as I would love to see the Huskies pull the upset, I really don’t see them having the horses to do so. Oklahoma 31-10