Connecticut will make back-to-back appearances in a bowl game for the first time when the Huskies face Buffalo in the International Bowl. Overall, it's just the
third postseason appearance for UConn, and the first for the Bulls.
UConn finished 5th in the Big East. Buffalo captured its first MAC title in Turner Gill's third season as head coach, completing a turnaround from perennial doormat to conference champ. The Bulls stunned undefeated Ball State 42-24 in the MAC championship game
These teams have met 26 times with Connecticut leading the series 14-12. The most recent meeting came in 2005, a 38-0 triumph by UConn. Buffalo's first non-conference win as a FBS member came in 2001 against the Huskies, 37-30 in Storrs. UConn has won four consecutive meetings since that 2001 encounter.
The Huskies were 5-0 to start the season, but went 2-5 in their last seven games. UConn and Oklahoma were the only teams to defeat Orange Bowl-bound Cincinnati.
Buffalo closed 6-1 after starting 2-4. The Bulls played in a record four overtime games and went 3-1 in those contests.
Connecticut is led by RB Donald Brown, who
became the first Connecticut player to be chosen as Big East Offensive Player of the Year. Brown leads the nation in rushing (151.8 ypg) and finished the regular season with 1,822 yards and 17 touchdowns. He ran for at least 100 yards in 10 of the Huskies’ 12 games.
QB Tyler Lorenzen suffered a broken foot in the win at Louisville and missed four games, but returned to start the last three. Connecticut quarterbacks have thrown just four touchdowns against 17 interceptions.
The defense is led by DE Cody Brown, who has a Big East-leading 10 sacks with 15 tackles for loss. CB Jasper Howard has four interceptions, while CB Robert McClain and
LB Lawrence Wilson have three each.
K Dave Teggart took over as the regular kicker midway through the season and went 12-for-13 on field goals, with the lone miss coming from 53 yards.
Buffalo is led by veteran QB Drew Willy, one of seven signal callers in the nation at the FBS level who is in his fourth year as a starter. Willy completed 64.7 percent of his pass with 25 touchdowns and just five interceptions in 425 attempts.
The Bulls also feature the MAC’s No. 2 rusher in James Starks (118.9 ypg, 15 TDs) and leading receiver in Naaman Roosevelt (100.9 ypg, 13 TDs).
Buffalo led the MAC in turnover margin at +16, including a league-high 21 fumble recoveries. UConn tops the Big East in total defense, allowing just 281.4 ypg and allows just 19.7 ppg. In addition, UConn leads the Big East in pass efficiency defense (101.10) and interceptions (17) and has allowed only nine TD passes all year. DL Cody Brown ranks among the national leaders with nine sacks and four forced fumbles.
These teams faced two common opponents, Temple and Pitt. Buffalo defeated the Owls 30-28 at home, and UConn won 12-9 in OT at Temple. Buffalo lost 27-16 at Pitt, and UConn lost 34-10 at home.