There wasn't much chance of the Huskies quitting or being in awe of ninth-ranked Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl Saturday night.
That could have been evidenced by the way fullback Anthony Sherman trudged to his way to a 41-yard reception seeking out another score late in the fourth quarter.
Ultimately, it was what it was - Oklahoma's speed on offense and quarterback Landry Jones, with a school bowl-record 429 yards passing and three touchdowns, were a little bit too much for the No. 25 Huskies. Make it a lot.
The Huskies didn't help themselves with two interceptions returned on them for scores and too many wasted scoring opportunities. Jordan Todman had a struggle, though he went over 100 yards.
All of it added up to a 48-20 loss before 67,232 at University of Phoenix Stadium.
The Huskies' first trip to the BCS bowl showed a sizable disparity in talent, but a Randy Edsall-coached team won't quit. It will fight to the end.
It just needed some faster fighters Saturday night, as the Sooners ended a five-game BCS bowl losing streak.
"To win a game after those [losses], it's just a great feeling," said Jones, whose favorite target, All-American Ryan Broyles, had 13 catches for 170 yards and a 5-yard fourth-quarter touchdown.
All-American Jordan Todman had 121 yards on 32 carries, and Robbie Frey returned a kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown for the Huskies, who were within 34-20 entering the fourth quarter.
"Our kids battled the entire time," Edsall said. "I told the kids it's a game of inches and we couldn't make enough inches today."
Added linebacker and captain Scott Lutrus: "We didn't give up. The entire game we played our butts off, it just didn't work out our way."
Todman, a junior, said after the game that he will enter the NFL draft.
"I felt like it was the right time for me," Todman said. "I stand pretty good with the competition. ... Me and my family decided it's the right decision for me."
Edsall said he supports the decision. "I think it's the right decision," he said. "I know it's the right decision. What more can he do here? He rushed for over 1,600 yards this year and almost 1,200 last year. It's the right decision."
Given all the Huskies were facing, and the way the defense kicked it in the second quarter after a shaky first, UConn had to be pleased being down 20-10 at halftime.
It could have been worse.
The Sooners (12-2) amassed 279 yards of offense in the first half and did not punt, scoring on a four of five possessions.
The Huskies (8-5) scored on the other, a 46-yard interception return by Dwayne Gratz with 12:38 left in the first quarter.
The super hot Jones, who finished 34 of 49, was 12-for-12 before he tossed Gratz the pick-six opportunity.
The Huskies didn't give up any more touchdowns after that, only a pair of Jimmy Stevens field goals (41 and 24 yards), but Jones was still cutting up the defense en route to completing 21 of 27 for 233 yards and a touchdown in the first half.
Broyles caught seven for 117 yards in the half.
The UConn offense struggled to get in gear through the first 30 minutes. Todman had only 34 yards on 13 carries, but 19 came on one rush, his longest of the game, on second-and-10.
Still, it led to Dave Teggart's 37-yard field goal after Frazer (10-for-16, 73 yards in the half) missed Kashif Moore - wearing No. 6 in honor of slain former teammate Jasper Howard - just long in the end zone.
The Sooners ran a total of 18 plays on their first two possessions and got 14 points out of it.
They sandwiched a UConn drive that lasted better than six minutes and produced nothing after Frey was stopped on fourth-and-1 at the Oklahoma 18. The Sooners needed just 6:18 for two TDs and a 14-0 lead.
Oklahoma won the toss but opted to see what Todman and the UConn offense were going to do, so it deferred.
Todman and the Huskies did nothing on that opening series and he was stopped cold on third-and-one at the UConn 30.
The Sooners covered 70 yards in nine plays to go up 7-0. They picked up six first downs on the drive, with four coming through the air. Tight end James Hanna finished it off with a 8-yard TD catch.
The Huskies responded with a methodical 55-yard drive to the Oklahoma 19 before Frey was stuffed on a fourth-and-1.
The Sooners increased the lead to two scores immediately - another nine-play drive covered 81 yards. Tailback DeMarco Murray punched it in from the 3 with 24 seconds to go in the quarter.
How the big play on this drive occurred is a mystery, but Broyles was left to roam free in a soft spot and ran for much of his 39 yards before any defender even noticed.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times