In the 1990s, UConn proved that a small agricultural school tucked in the northeast corner of Connecticut could become a major player in college basketball. A decade later, it proved that it could do the same in football.
In just 11 years as Division 1-A (now FBS) members, the Huskies have won three bowl games, reached a Fiesta Bowl and won two Big East Championships. They’ve had an NFL first round draft choice, developed state-of-the-art facilities, built a 40,000 seat stadium, and even beaten Notre Dame – in South Bend.
Seeing the UConn football program transition from Division 1-AA to Division 1-A has been remarkable. Here are our Top 10 moments in UConn’s short football history.
10. August 20, 2003 – Beating Indiana to open Rentschler Field
The Huskies first game at Rentschler Field in East Hartford, CT was a 34-10 win over the Hoosiers. Connecticut is 42-15 when playing at The Rent.
9. November 16, 2002 and November 23, 2002 – Wins at Navy and Iowa State in 2002
As Division 1-A Independents, the Huskies went into Annapolis and shut out the Midshipmen 38-0. The following week, UConn went into Ames, Iowa and upset Iowa State 37-20. Terry Caulley was named to the Freshman All-American team and the Huskies were just emerging as a football program.
8. October 29, 2010 – Finally beating West Virginia
After years of being bullied by the Mountaineers, UConn finally broke through and beat West Virginia, 16-13, in an overtime thriller. Dave Teggart kicked the game winner, Jordan Todman rushed for 113 yards, and the students rushed the field.
7. April 25, 2009 – Donald Brown being drafted in the first round of the NFL Draft
Ten years ago, it was unheard of for a UConn football player selected in the NFL Draft, much less the first round. But it became reality in 2009, when the Indianapolis Colts picked running back Donald Brown with the 27th overall pick.
6. December 27, 2004 – Win over Toledo in Motor City Bowl
In their first bowl appearance, former head coach Randy Edsall and quarterback Dan Orlovsky led the Huskies to a 39-10 win over Toledo in the Motor City Bowl in Detroit.
5. January 2, 2010 – Win over South Carolina in Papajohns.com Bowl
An incredibly emotional season ended on a high note at historic Legion Field in Birmingham, AL. A gorgeous touchdown catch by Kashif Moore and 126 rushing yards from Andre Dixon were enough to bury Steve Spurrier and the Gamecocks 20-7.
4. January 1, 2011 – Fiesta Bowl Appearance
A wild year in which the Huskies won their last five conference games resulted in a BCS Bowl appearance against perennial powerhouse Oklahoma. While the game did not turn out well for the heavy underdog UConn team, the fact that the Huskies had made it to a BCS game was incredible. Oklahoma won 48-20.
3. October 1997 – The move to D-1
The Big East conference extended a bid to UConn to join the conference if it was willing to upgrade its football program. Former Athletic Director Lew Perkins was a huge proponent of the move and the Huskies began the leap to big-time college football.
2. December 4, 2010 – Teggart kicking the Huskies into the BCS
With seconds remaining, kicker Dave Teggart drilled a 52-yard field goal to down South Florida and catapult the Huskies into to the BCS. Teggart also made a 50-yard field goal earlier in the fourth quarter.
1. November 21, 2009 – Overtime victory over Notre Dame
The Huskies went into South Bend on a gorgeous autumn afternoon and stunned the most storied college football team of all time, Notre Dame. Andre Dixon danced into the end zone and the little school from northeast Connecticut beat the Irish in double overtime, 33-30. It was also the team’s first win after the tragic death of teammate Jasper Howard in October 2009.
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