Pregame Q&A with UConn Reporter Michael Grant

Sooners Illustrated gets the inside scoop on some things from Connecticut's side.

1. Sooners Illustrated: What spawned the turnaround midseason that changed UConn's season?

Grant: A few things, but most notably the defense really started to gel. There was some personnel tinkering going on at linebacker and safety, but once the best players separated themselves, and the defensive line-up got some continuity, the unit came together. Removing the win over FCS Texas Southern from the equation, through the first six games, the Huskies were allowing 25.8 ppg. Over the last five, they allowed just 16. Also of note, through the first seven games the Huskies started three different quarterbacks. Zach Frazer started the final five, all of which the Huskies won.

2. Sooners Illustrated: What's UConn's biggest strength/weakness?

Grant:The team's biggest strength is undoubtedly its running game. The offensive line is big and powerful, and Jordan Todman has emerged as one of the nation's best backs. The team's weekest unit is the passing game. Zach Frazer is averaging just 120 yards per game, and has only thrown five touchdowns all season. The team's leading receiver is Michael Smith with 595 yards.

3. Sooners Illustrated: What makes Jordan Todman so good?

Grant:He's a complete back. As a freshman he was a speed guy, who was dangerous if he got to the edge. Last year he learned to run between the tackles (gained over 1,000 yards), and this season he's got the full repertoire. He's not a power back, but there is a power aspect to his game. Speed is still probably his best attribute, but he's really well rounded. Having an offensive line with three all-conference performers doesn't hurt either.

4. Sooners Illustrated: How can UConn slow down OU's offense?

Grant:Keep them off the field. It's really important that UConn sustains some decent, time consuming drives that result in points. From an actual defensive standpoint, I think the Huskies are going to have to force some turnovers. Cincinnati's Zach Collaros, who is probably the closest thing the Huskies faced to Landry Jones this season, came into his week 11 match-up with the Huskies having only thrown seven picks on the season. The Huskies picked him off four times. I'm not saying the Huskies can or will duplicate that effort vs OU, but turnovers have become a very important part of the UConn defense, and that will likely need to continue in Glendale.

5. Sooners Illustrated: Finally, how does UConn beat the odds and win this game?

Grant:I think the Huskies have to do what they do best. Run the ball. UConn doesn't have the horses to get into a shootout with the Sooners. If UConn can run the ball, control the time of possession, come up with a turnover or two, and get some help from the return game setting up some shorter fields, I think the Huskies have a chance. When the play action is there, the Huskies have to connect. And lastly third down conversions, something the Huskies have struggled with (around 32% on the season), will be paramount. UConn must sustain drives and keep the Sooners offense off the field.

Sooners Illustrated Top Stories