Fiesta Bowl: Three keys for UConn

December, 31, 2010
12/31/10
11:00
AM ET
What do the Connecticut Huskies need to do to beat the Oklahoma Sooners in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl? Here are three keys.

1. Win the turnover battle: Oklahoma is a more talented team that UConn. If the Sooners play well, they should win. But what if they don't? And what if the Huskies help them to play sloppy football? The Huskies need to take chances on both sides of the ball. On offense, they will need to pass to keep the Sooners defense honest and hope that quarterback Zach Frazer isn't off the mark. And the Huskies defense will need to blitz and pressure Sooners quarterback Landry Jones. Further, every defender should be raking the ball, hoping for a strip. Both teams had positive turnover margins this year. UConn needs to make sure Oklahoma is negative in that category on Saturday.

2. Play keep-away: Oklahoma wants to play fast. It likes to wear down a defense with its no-huddle, rush-to-the line of scrimmage pace and make big plays. UConn should be in no hurry. Huskies, take your time. Let the play clock run down. Slow things down. Stay in bounds. Run the ball, sure, but also use short, possession passes. UConn will need to take chances downfield in order to loosen up the Sooners' defense. But it also wants to limit the Sooners' touches. Moreover, this requires the Huskies to win the battle on third down. UConn has been terrible on third down this year. And that is a strength of the Oklahoma defense. That can't be the case Saturday.

3. Redzone opportunism: Connecticut needs touchdowns in the red zone. And it needs to hold Oklahoma to field goals. And, in general, the Huskies are far better in the red zone than the Sooners. Oklahoma ranks 68th in the nation in red zone offense and 112th in red zone defense. The Huskies rank fourth in the nation in red zone offense and 53rd in red zone defense. It's fine if Oklahoma piles up yards. But if they have two drives net field goals, and the Huskies get a TD (and a PAT), then guess who comes out ahead?

Ted Miller | email

College Football

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