Fiesta Bowl Preview

Steve O Speak

This isn’t the matchup most people were expecting, but Connecticut came out of no where to win the Big East and earn a trip to the Fiesta Bowl. Unfortunately for them I don’t see them having an easy time proving their doubters wrong as they face a very talented Oklahoma team.

Oklahoma: How They Win- The Sooners might not be as good as they have been in the past, but they are still among the elite teams in the nation. Sophomore quarterback Landry Jones has filled Sam Bradford’s shoes admirably. He leads a very talented and balanced offense that is capable of scoring from anywhere on the field. The Sooners also pride themselves on their efficiency and all but the best defenses have their hands full with them.

Jones has quickly developed into a top quarterback and has two quality receiving options to throw to. Junior Ryan Broyles is one of the best receivers in the nation, and is capable of stretching defenses and hitting the homerun. Freshman Kenny Stills isn’t at Broyles level, but he is a very good secondary option. Running back DeMarco Murray is a talented receiver out of the backfield, and has been a great check down option all year. With a quality offensive line, and good receivers Jones should have no trouble moving the ball against the Huskies defense.

Jones passing numbers should also be helped by the fact that the Huskies will have to respect the Sooners run game as well. While Jones and the passing attack is the biggest fear, if you ignore the rush, Murray will pick up big chunks of yards. Although he isn’t want you’d call a ‘franchise’ back, he is a complete back. He has very good football instincts and should keep the Huskies honest today.

The biggest advantage Oklahoma has is their defense. While this unit isn’t elite, they have a number of NFL bound players who will consistently make the big play. The Huskies have a good O-line and a great ground game, but the Sooners have the type of defense that can neutralize them.

Connecticut: How they win- Unlike the Sooners the Huskies don’t have a dominate defense, or a balanced offense to fall back on. What they do have is one of the top running backs in the nation in Jordan Todman. Todman should give the Sooners fits, and with the Huskies solid offensive line they could get something going. Despite being more of a small speed back, Todman flashes a lot of power and rarely goes down on the first contact.

Unfortunately, Todman won’t have much offensive support, though quarterback Zach Frasier can find the open man if given enough time. The Huskies will have to run the ball if they have any hope of beating the Sooners, so they will need to jump out in front or keep the game close to keep Todman involved.

Analysis: Overall I think the Huskies are too overmatched in this game to really be competitive. They just don’t have the size, speed and talent to matchup with Oklahoma and I see this game being a blowout. While Todman is a star I don’t think he can carry this team on his own, and unless they find a consistent passing attack that is exactly what will happen. Prediction: Oklahoma 45-13

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