The Matchup:Yet again it's OU as a huge favorite taking on an underdog in the Fiesta Bowl. This time it comes in the form of the unranked UConn Huskies, winners of five straight on their way to the Big East Championship after a 3-4 start. The Sooners, 17-point favorites, are equally hot, winning four consecutive outings and most recently the Big 12 Championship game over Nebraska. OU arrives at 12-2, while UConn is 8-4.
OU players to watch:
1. RB DeMarco Murray--It can't get much better for the senior back, who finally gets to play in the Bowl Championship Series in his final contest as a Sooner. Because fellow running back Roy Finch had a reoccurrence of a stress fracture injury earlier in year, Murray will get even more carries in this one, even though running back Mossis Madu will get a few touches. So, expect him to put up big numbers, especially if the Huskies lack physicality up front against OU's offensive line.
2. LB Travis Lewis--He had a bug earlier in the week, but it appears he's healthy and ready to go. With that said, it may or may not be Lewis' last game in a Sooner uniform, so because of that, look for him to come out extra motivated. Containment at the linebacker position will be crucial.
OU will win if: It gets out to a lead early and puts some doubt into UConn. OU is the superior team and any kind of early lead will do a couple things. First off, as mentioned, the Huskies will begin to lack confidence. The other thing is the Sooners' will continue to grow more and more confident throughout, especially knowing they should win this game. An early advantage can do wonders in this one.
UConn players to watch:
1. RB Jordan Todman--There's a reason he's an All-American player. Todman has rushed for nearly 1,600 yards and 14 touchdowns on 302 attempts, good for an average of 5.2 yards per carry. He's a downhill, north/south runner who knows how to use his blocking very effectively. Look for the Huskies to try to establish him and the running game early.
2. LB Lawrence Wilson--The redshirt senior leads the Huskies with 115 tackles, including 10 tackles for loss. Three-point-five of those are sacks. To go along with that, Wilson has a pair of forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, an interception, two passes broken up and a quarterback hurry. So, at the linebacker position, he gets in done in a number of ways.
UConn will win if:It can find major gaps in the Sooner defense for Todman to get going early and often in the rushing attack. The Huskies have to be successful at running the football because that is their bread and butter. In turn, that will open up the passing game for Zach Frazer and the rest of the Huskies offense.