"They are a very balanced offense," UConn coach Randy Edsall said. "I don't think we have faced someone as balanced as they are and have the productivity at quarterback, running back and wide receiver."
The Huskies' defense is no slouches themselves and that may be the most intriguing aspect of Saturday's game. The Huskies are 10th in the nation in total defense and seventh in passing defense and 24th in scoring defense.
The Husky defense is looking forward to the contest.
"It's a great challenge, not only in the running game, but Drew Willy is one of most efficient quarterbacks we will see this season," UConn linebacker Scott Lutrus said. "He has 25 touchdowns, and only 5 interceptions? That is outstanding playing college football at any level. Starks is big back, a power runner and he has some speed. We have to contain him and we got to make sure we are sound with the passing game."
If there is one missing piece to the puzzle it is the fact Buffalo put up those in the MAC, not against the bigger and stronger teams in a BCS conference. Buffalo is talented and can execute its offense, but can they do it against a defense the caliber of the Huskies?
"They are a different team than we played in the past," safety Dahna Deleston said. "They run the ball and the quarterback is efficient. But, I don't think the team can ‘out- athleticize' us. We have more athletes, but we have to go out and play hard.'
Edsall is banking on that superior physical advantage to bring the Huskies to their second bowl victory.
"We got to create pressure WITH our front four," Edsall said. "We aren't a big pressure team and we rely on the front, that will be the key. In this game, we can't get frustrated if you don't get there right away because the ball comes out quick. We have to get Drew Willy to hold the ball and allow our defensive line to get there."
Not your brother's Buffalo
The Huskies are 12-4 all-time against the Bulls and last lost to them in 2001. UConn has shutout the Bulls in their last two meetings, 38-0 in 2005 and 29-0 in 2004. Edsall doesn't expect that streak to continue on Saturday.
"We haven't brought it up, all of that is in the past and what it is is a game we are playing now," Edsall said. "The parties are different and the players are different."
The Huskies held their final practice of the season on Thursday with only a walk-through scheduled for today. As is custom, all the seniors who are leaving the team had a little fun switching jerseys. Darius Butler exchanged with Julius Williams while center Keith Gray somehow squeezed into kicker Tony Ciaravino's jersey.
That was the fun part of the final practice. The end of practice became emotional however as the seniors lined up to say their goodbyes.
It is a festive atmosphere in Toronto, but the finality of the last game is starting to enter the mind of the senior players. For Deleston it was a moving moment that was sad in a way, but also made him proud.
"That right there is a very emotional thing," Deleston said. "It's been a long long road for me on and off the field. I am proud what I overcame over the years and what I have accomplished."