South Carolina fans might be more familiar with Connecticut's basketball program than the football team that will play the Gamecocks in the Jan. 2 Papajohns.com Bowl.
Here are a few things to know about the 7-5 football Huskies:
1. Don't be fooled by the Huskies' record
Connecticut was competitive in every game; its five losses were by a total of 15 points.
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The Huskies lost 12-10 to North Carolina, falling because of a holding penalty in the end zone. They lost 24-21 at Pittsburgh, 28-24 at West Virginia, 28-24 to Rutgers and 47-45 at Cincinnati.
All five of those teams are in bowl games.
2. It's been an emotional season
Jasper Howard, a 20-year-old junior, was stabbed to death following UConn's home victory against Louisville.
With half the season to play, coach Randy Edsall held the team together as Howard was buried. Steve Spurrier credited Edsall's grace in handling the situation.
The Huskies have united to play in Howard's memory.
3. Connecticut will challenge USC's defense
When Donald Brown left UConn early for the NFL, where he is a rookie running back with the Indianapolis Colts, many expected the Huskies to fall off offensively.
But Andre Dixon and Jordan Todman complement each other much like James Davis and C.J. Spiller did for Clemson a year ago.
Dixon is the between-the-tackles, physical runner. Todman is the speedy edge back who can take any handoff the distance. Combined, they average 177 rushing yards a game.
But the Huskies - for the first time under Edsall, really - aren't one-dimensional.
Joe Moorhead came from Akron to take over as the team's offensive coordinator this year.
The Huskies initially struggled to pick up Moorhead's spread offense but gradually have gotten the hang of it. Now they're sufficiently balanced.
Fourth-year junior quarterback Zach Frazer has been efficient. Former walk-on receiver Marcus Easley, who didn't earn a scholarship until this year, is turning NFL scouts' heads.
All-SEC linebacker Eric Norwood and the Gamecocks could have their hands full.
4. A good day could be in store for Stephen Garcia
Connecticut likely will have to find a way to outscore USC.
Unlike in the Outback Bowl, Gamecocks quarterback Stephen Garcia could flourish in this bowl game.
The Huskies' greatest weaknesses are defending the pass - they rank 94th nationally - and stopping a mobile quarterback.
USC is second in the SEC in passing yardage and features a dual-threat quarterback in Garcia.
UConn is small up front but has a great pass-rusher, senior Lindsey Witten, who is tied for seventh (with TCU's Jerry Hughes) in the FBS with 11 1/2 sacks.
This is a game in which South Carolina could take advantage of having larger receivers. Getting Tori Gurley and Alshon Jeffery on the field at the same time might be a good goal for the game.
Something akin to the Clemson game plan, with Garcia running enough to keep the defense honest, might work well.
5. Edsall might not coach the bowl game
Edsall has built this program up since it joined the FBS ranks at the turn of the millennium.
He had been mentioned as a candidate for the position at Notre Dame before the job went to Cincinnati's Brian Kelly.
That doesn't mean Edsall's name won't pop in connection with other openings.
- The (Charleston) Post and Courier