The Huskies' first season as Big East members -- and only its third in Division I-A -- will end in storybook fashion when they face Mid-American Conference champion Toledo in the Motor City Bowl on Dec. 27.
Coach Randy Edsall's team entered the league a year ahead of schedule, which has proven to be a landmark decision. Connecticut (7-4) was able to take advantage of the league's weakened state and secure its first-ever bowl bid.
The Huskies accepted the Motor City Bowl invitation on Nov. 30, after Boston College made public its intentions to play in the Continental Tire Bowl.
"People are ecstatic for us," Edsall told the Hartford Courant. "It gives us great momentum. It sets us apart from other people."
Connecticut capped the regular season with wins over Buffalo (29-0) and Rutgers (41-35). The Huskies beat only two teams that finished with winning records -- I-AA Murray State and Pittsburgh -- but nonetheless performed well in 2004.
The bowl game will give senior quarterback Dan Orlovsky one more opportunity to showcase his talents for professional scouts. Orlovsky has passed for more than 10,000 yards in his four seasons at Connecticut.
BY THE NUMERS
3 -- Seasons since Connecticut competed at the I-A level. The Huskies made the move to I-A in 2002 and have managed a 22-13 record since.
GAME OF THE YEAR
Connecticut 41, Rutgers 35 (Nov. 25) -- A Thanksgiving Day victory all but guaranteed the Huskies their first-ever bowl invitation. QB Dan Orlovsky passed for 265 yards and three touchdowns, while tailback Cornell Brockington added three scores.
MATCHUP TO WATCH
Connecticut QB Dan Orlovsky vs. Toledo FS Patrick Body -- The 6-5, 236-pound Orlovsky completed 268 of 416 pass attempts for 3,115 yards and 21 touchdowns against 14 interceptions in the regular season, second in the Big East behind Rutgers' Ryan Hart for passing yards per game (283.2). Body managed two interceptions and led Toledo with 95 tackles.
QUOTE TO NOTE
"It's not hard when you're waiting for a bowl. It doesn't matter what bowl. We're going to a bowl. I couldn't be happier." -- Connecticut linebacker Alfred Fincher to the Hartford Courant, regarding the Huskies' first-ever bowl invitation.
BOWL AT A GLANCE
Connecticut (7-4) vs. Toledo (9-3), Motor City Bowl, Detroit, Dec. 27.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
TB Cornell Brockington -- The 6-0, 195-pound Brockington leads the Big East in rushing yards per game (104.2). He managed 1,146 total yards on the ground and 11 touchdowns.
CB Justin Perkins -- The All-Big East selection picked off four interceptions and delivered 11 pass breakups in the regular season. Perkins also managed 35 tackles.
QB Dan Orlovsky -- The senior has the size and arm strength to merit a good look on the next level. Doesn't do much with his feet, either scrambling or on a rollout, but he gets rid of the ball fast to avoid taking more sacks.
DE Tyler King (broken leg) is out indefinitely. Brockington (shoulder) should be available for Connecticut's bowl appearance.