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AP Preview of Fiesta Bowl

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Fiesta Bowl Preview Capsule, By The Associated Press

SATURDAY
No. 25 Connecticut (8-4) vs. No. 9 Oklahoma (11-2), 8:30 p.m.
Line: Oklahoma by 16 1-2.
Series Record: First meeting.

WHAT’S AT STAKE

Oklahoma is looking to end five-game losing streak in BCS bowls that includes two disappointing losses in the Fiesta Bowl as favorites. The Big 12 champions did win a bowl game last season, beating Stanford in the Sun Bowl. UConn is hoping to avoid a big dud in its first BCS bowl after sharing the Big East title with Pittsburgh and West Virginia.

KEY MATCHUP

UConn’s defense vs. Oklahoma’s offense. The Sooners like to play fast. Oklahoma churns out more plays per game than any other team in the country and will be nothing like the Huskies have seen.

UConn tried all kinds of tricks in practice to simulate OU’s pace and how they handle it will likely determine whether they have a chance to prevent what could be a blowout.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

UConn: RB Jordan Todman. UConn was 112th nationally in passing, so much of the offense revolved around handing the ball to Todman.

Even with teams knowing what was coming, the junior ran for over 1,500 yards, second-best in the country, and scored 14 TDs on his way to becoming a second-team All-American.

Oklahoma: QB Landry Jones. Taking over for Sam Bradford last season, Jones had his share of bumps, often from trying to do too much. This season, the sophomore has developed into one of the nation’s best passers, throwing for over 4,200 yards and 35 TDs, both second-best nationally.

FACTS & FIGURES

UConn has no players from Oklahoma on its roster and the Sooners don’t have a single one from New England. … Oklahoma is playing in its 12th consecutive bowl, all since Bob Stoops took over as coach. … UConn is the first New England school to play in a BCS bowl. … Oklahoma has two first-team All-Americans: WR Ryan Broyles and S Quinton Carter. … UConn’s men’s basketball team won the NCAA West Regional at The University of Phoenix Stadium in
2009. … Oklahoma broke or tied 19 school records this season. …

UConn has lost nine games the past two seasons and led in the fourth quarter in six of those. … The Sooners have just eight seniors, seven of whom start. … The Huskies had 19 interceptions, good for fifth nationally. … The roof at The University of  Phoenix Stadium will be closed due to cool weather.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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