— UConn senior cornerback Dwayne Gratz said that Saturday is one of the most important games of his career, and you don't have to be a master of the Rubik's Cube to figure out why.
"I say this may be the most important game of my entire career because it's my last game, and we want to close the season out the right way," said Gratz, whose biggest play might have been his interception return for a touchdown in the 2011 Fiesta Bowl against Oklahoma. "Going to a bowl game, extending the season, is something I would like to do, we all would like and want to do. This is our last game at home and we want to close the season out the right way. Hopefully, we prepare this week as best we can and come out flying around on Saturday."
UConn will recognize Gratz and 15 other seniors before the Huskies (5-6, 2-4 Big East) host Cincinnati (8-3, 4-2) at 3:30 p.m. Saturday at Rentschler Field. UConn is angling for a postseason berth. The Bearcats could be playing for a piece of the conference title.
Senior kick returner Nick Williams agrees with Gratz.
"To have that support in our last game, with a bowl game on the line, ending the season upbeat, any time you have fans there it's a great environment," Williams said. "For the senior class to have that be your last memory playing at Rentschler Field, the fans going crazy in a packed stadium would be a great memory for all the guys and a great day to be a part of."
And, in turn, tight end Ryan Griffin wants to give the fans a good show.
"I think the fans deserve it," Griffin said. "They supported us the last four, five years I've been here, just want to give them a good show. This is entertainment for the fans. They pay their hard-earned money to see us play and we want to give them a win."
So, how do the Huskies focus and not get caught up in it being the last game at home and being entertainment for the fans?
"We were in this exact same position last year [needing a win to become bowl-eligible]," Griffin said. "We definitely learned from that. It's a different team and we've got these seniors who know what it takes to go to bowls. We just have to go out there and execute the game plan and whatever happens after that happens."
Don't Forget Delahunt
Senior tight end John Delahunt doesn't get as much attention as Griffin does, but Cincinnati should keep an eye on him.
When Griffin was bottled up last week against Louisville, Delahunt got free for two catches for 36 yards in UConn's 23-20 triple OT win. He has 17 catches for 220 yards and one TD on the season.
"Given my chances I'm going to make a play," Delahunt said. "Whether it's Chandler [Whitmer at quarterback] or Johnny [McEntee], if I get the ball, just try to make a play. They're going to have a lot to worry about with me and Griff. Griff's had a great season. I've quietly had my best season here as a UConn Husky. I'm looking forward to continuing that, and extend things to go to a bowl game."
Griffin (26 catches, 399 yards, five TDs) has had an excellent season, and Delahunt is happy for his close friend.
"I'm always happy to see Ryan make plays," Delahunt said. "We're good friends off the field. I'm always happy to see him do what he can do to further his career. Hopefully, he'll be playing on Sundays. As far as myself, I try to make plays when I get the opportunity and hopefully [NFL] scouts will see that when I do get the opportunity I do make a play."
Delahunt said he would like an opportunity to play on Sundays, too.
"If the NFL doesn't work, there's always CFL, too, being Canadian, so I want to put plays on tape to show what I can do." … Senior defensive end Jesse Joseph (Achilles) is applying for a medical redshirt.