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Huskies' defense up to task

South Carolina freshman wide receiver No. 1 Alshon Jeffery can't hold onto a fourth quarter pass as Connecticut cornerback Robert McClain defends during the Papa Johns.com Bowl at Legion Field in Birmingham, Alabama, Saturday, January 2, 2010. Connecticut defensive end Lindsey Witten nearly intercepted the ball.
South Carolina freshman wide receiver No. 1 Alshon Jeffery can't hold onto a fourth quarter pass as Connecticut cornerback Robert McClain defends during the Papa Johns.com Bowl at Legion Field in Birmingham, Alabama, Saturday, January 2, 2010. Connecticut defensive end Lindsey Witten nearly intercepted the ball.

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - Though South Carolina's offense was among the worst in the nation, the Huskies knew they still needed a plan.

UConn's inconsistent defense this season has made some players look like Hall of Famers.

Not Saturday.

"We wanted to make them one-dimensional," tackle Twyon Martin said. "We wanted to stop the run and get off the field because we had a lot of problems on third down this year. We didn't want that again. We had four and a half weeks to prepare for this game, and we came into it with a chip on our shoulders. We wanted to be relentless."

The Huskies made some changes that worked.

They increased pressure through the blitz early before settling back into their basic defense, which was good enough to limit the Gamecocks to 205 yards of offense, 48 less than UConn.

"We just played a (heck) of a game," linebacker Scott Lutrus said. "Everyone did, all 11 on the field, everyone that got in the game. The D-line that started up front got tremendous pressure, and we got great coverage in the back end. ... It was a complete game by the whole team."

'Bama Barbecue. The players took nice-sized boxes of "Full Moon" barbecue with them as they left Legion Field, but linebacker Lawrence Wilson, from Tuscaloosa, Ala., had his Friday night.

It wasn't from Full Moon, though.

"It was homemade," Wilson said. "My dad snuck in there, snuck it to me."

Extra Points. Andre Dixon's bowl-record 33 carries topped the record Southern Mississippi's Damion Fletcher set in 2007 when he had 27. ... Dave Teggart's 44-yard field goal in the second quarter also established a bowl-game record. The 38-yarder South Florida's Delbert Alvarado made against East Carolina in a 24-7 win in 2006 was the previous record. ... Asked to comment on the Huskies' potential for the 2010 season, Edsall said, "I appreciate the question, (but) I'm going to enjoy this one (victory). I'll deal with that one a lot later. At least let me enjoy this."

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