Connecticut, behind 1,000-yard Running Back Cornell Brockington and Quarterback Dan Orlovsky, brings a 7-4 record into the Motor City Bowl. The Huskies led the Big East in both Total Offense and Passing Defense, and own an impressive 29-17 win against the Big East's probable BCS representative, the Pittsburgh Panthers. Brockington, the leading rusher in the Big East at 104 yards per game, is the cousin of former Ohio State and Green Bay Packer great John Brockington.
The Motor City Bowl will be UConn's first-ever bowl appearance. The Huskies are one of only five schools in NCAA history to have consecutive winning seasons in its first three years in Division I-A football.
"On behalf of the entire University of Connecticut community, I am very proud to accept the invitation to the Motor City Bowl. All of us at UConn are very excited about visiting the Detroit area and playing a top team from the highly-competitive Mid-American Conference," said UConn Athletic Director of Athletics Jeff Hathaway. "This bowl game appearance is another incredible milestone in the transformation of our football program. We are the first school to make the transition from Division I-AA status to a member of a Bowl Championship Series conference. We plan on representing our institution, the state of Connecticut and the entire Big East Conference in a first-class manner as we head to the Motor City Bowl. I am confident that Husky fans all over the nation share our enthusiasm for this first bowl appearance."
In 2002, the Motor City Bowl and the Big Ten signed a four year contract to pit the MAC's number one or two team against the Big Ten's seventh bowl-eligible team. However, the Big Ten has only six teams eligible for 2004 postseason bowls (Michigan, Iowa, Wisconsin: 9-2; Ohio State, Purdue: 7-4; Minnesota: 6-5).
This marks the second time a Big East team has been invited to this event. Boston College faced Toledo on December 26, 2002 and came away with a 51-25 victory. Northwestern is the only Big Ten team to participate in this bowl game; the Wildcats lost to Bowling Green 28-24 least season.
Husky fans can check out their opponent this Thursday, December 2, 2004. The game will kick off at 7:30 p.m. (EST) on ESPN.
Toledo and Miami have identical records: 8-3 overall, 7-1 MAC. Miami leads the series 42-27-2. The RedHawks have won the previous three meetings, including a 23-16 game on Nov. 2, 2004 at Yager Stadium in Oxford, Ohio. Miami handed Toledo its only home loss in the last 30 games on the Rockets' Glass Bowl. UT's last win vs. Miami was in 1997 (35-28 at Toledo).
- The game features two of the league's top scoring offenses - Toledo at 35.2 ppg and Miami at 33.4 ppg
- Miami leads the league in sacks with 37 while Toledo has allowed the third least amount of sacks (14)
- The starting QBs rank second and third, respectively, in the MAC in passing efficiency with Toledo's Bruce Gradkowski at 162.2 (256 of 363, 3,224 yards, 23 TDs and 7 int.) and Miami's Josh Betts at 141.3 (227 of 365, 2,951 yards, 19 TDs, 11 int.)
- Toledo's leading rusher, Quinton Broussard, is averaging only 50.7 ypg, yet the Rockets as a team are third in the MAC in rushing yards with 166.1 ypg
- Miami tops the league in rushing defense, allowing 101.8 ypg
- In the "hidden yards" stats, Miami averages a MAC-best 21.8 yards on kickoff returns. The league's top return man is MU's Korey Kirkpatrick (28.4 ypr)
- The RedHawk's Ryne Robinson has two punt returns for TDs this year and a MAC record of five in his career.
Link: Washington Post story