Improbable. Unreal. Miraculous. Unbelievable.
Whatever it might be, UConn's run to the Big East title in 2010 and its first appearance in a Bowl Championship Series game was nothing short of remarkable. The Huskies entered the season with plenty of questions, namely those surrounding the viability of the offense and how much the team had grown since the stabbing death of Jasper Howard a year before, and nothing seemed very clear by midseason, when UConn had won just three of seven games.
Zach Frazer completed throws. Jordan Todman piled up yards. Dave Teggart made kicks. A game at a time, the Huskies progressed, closing out the regular season with five wins and earning a trip to the Fiesta Bowl, where the season would end with a 48-20 loss to Oklahoma.
The margin of defeat may have demonstrated the glaring inequality between the Huskies and the best college football has to offer. But Randy Edsall, who left the team after the game to become the coach at Maryland, said it best the day before the Fiesta Bowl when asked to evaluate the progress UConn had made.
"Twelve years ago, [consider] the teams we were playing," Edsall said. "This year we opened up with Michigan and we're finishing with Oklahoma. It is a lot different than opening up with Maine and ending with Rhode Island. I think that kind of spells out exactly where we've come from, what we have been able to do and what we have been able to accomplish."
Michigan 30, UConn 10
The Huskies showed plenty of jitters at "The Big House," falling to the Wolverines in front of a modern-day record crowd of 113,090 in the rededication of Michigan Stadium. Denard Robinson set a single-game rushing record for a Michigan quarterback, picking up 199 yards and a touchdown on 29 carries, and he added 187 yards and a touchdown on 19-of-22 passing. Jordan Todman rushed for 105 yards and a touchdown for UConn.
UConn 62, Texas Southern 3
If the Huskies didn't learn anything from their first game, they didn't learn much from the second, either. Todman rushed for 151 yards and three touchdowns -- all in the first half -- and UConn powered through its opponent, picking up 444 yards in comparison to the Tigers' 169. Robbie Frey rushed for 101 yards and a touchdown and Texas Southern was called for 11 penalties.
Temple 30, UConn 16
When the Huskies earned a trip to the Fiesta Bowl, one game continuously stuck out to critics as proof UConn did not belong in a BCS game. That was its loss to Temple, a program that, despite its success in recent years, endured 14 consecutive losing seasons and was kicked out of the Big East. On this Saturday in Philadelphia, Temple erased memories of its last two close losses to the Huskies, turning the tide in the fourth quarter and scoring 16 unanswered points. Todman rushed for 192 yards and a touchdown, but little else went right for UConn.
UConn 45, Buffalo 21
Cody Endres, who was suspended for the first three games of the season because of a positive drug test, came off the bench late in the second half to lead the Huskies to a victory and force questions about who should be playing quarterback. Endres, a junior, went 7-for-11 with 139 yards and two touchdowns in replacing Zach Frazer, who was 7-for-14 with 94 yards and an interception in the first half. The issue would be rendered moot three weeks later, however, as Endres would be dismissed from the team for another positive test.
UConn 40, Vanderbilt 21
After missing the previous game because of a hyperextended left elbow, Todman returned to rush for 190 yards and two touchdowns on 37 carries to push the Huskies in their final game before Big East play. The Commodores rallied to take a 21-14 lead in the second quarter, but UConn's defense held Vanderbilt to just 73 yards in the second half.
Rutgers 27, UConn 24
San San Te made a 34-yard field goal with 13 seconds left as the Scarlet Knights erased a seven-point halftime deficit and held UConn scoreless in the second half for a home victory. It was the second consecutive season in which Rutgers walked away with the win late; an 81-yard touchdown reception by Tim Brown with 22 seconds left did the Huskies in the year before. Endres went 17-for-34 with a touchdown, an interception and 153 yards in what would be his last game at UConn, while Todman rushed for 123 yards and a touchdown.
Louisville 26, UConn 0
The Huskies' first shutout since 2005 marked the low point of the season, with UConn only picking up 195 total yards of offense, Teggart missing a 29-yard field goal and Michael Box, in his first start, going just 4-for-12 for 35 yards with an interception before leaving in the third quarter due to a concussion. The Cardinals rode their special teams to the win, with Chris Philpott making four field goals and Doug Beaumont returning a punt 74 yards for a touchdown.
THE LOOK BACK