Football Team’s Rapid Progress Earns
Forget about the Four Tops and the Supremes. The new Motown sound will be the Husky Fight Song when the UConn football team competes in the Motor City Bowl on Dec. 27. UConn’s first-ever appearance in a post-season bowl will be at Ford Field, the home of the NFL’s Detroit Lions.
The historic invitation to UConn, in only its third season playing at the highest level of intercollegiate football competition, came during a Nov. 30 conference call. Speaking to a packed auditorium at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center, Ken Hoffman, executive director of the Motor City Bowl, asked if UConn would participate in the game.
“Speaking on behalf of the entire football team – that I’m very blessed to have sitting in front of me – and on behalf of our coaching staff and the entire University, I am both honored and pleased to accept the invitation,” responded Jeff Hathaway, director of athletics. An enthusiastic crowd that had gathered in the auditorium in anticipation of the announcement exploded with applause.
UConn will play the winner of last Thursday night’s Mid-American Conference championship game between Miami of Ohio and Toledo, which took place after press time.
“We’re honored and grateful that the Motor City Bowl thought so highly of our football team, the University and our fans as to extend the invitation,” said Randy Edsall, head football coach. “We are proud to represent the University of Connecticut, and cherish the bowl opportunity.”
UConn is the first college football program in history to go from NCAA Division I-AA to being a member of a Bowl Championship Series conference.
Hathaway said UConn’s success on the football field, its record for selling out its home games at Rentschler Field, and its well-known reputation for drawing fans to NCAA championship games all contributed to receiving a first-ever bowl invitation.
“UConn’s national reputation is that our fans love to see the Huskies compete, and that their loyalty isn’t limited to Connecticut’s borders,” Hathaway said. “We’ve seen it for many years with basketball and we are seeing it with football this year. We had fans in Georgia, Syracuse, Boston, and New Jersey on Thanksgiving morning.”
Added Edsall, “I’ve talked all year about the tremendous support our fans have shown all season and what it means to our football team. We look forward to a big Husky crowd in Detroit. A strong showing of fan support will send a powerful message that will help us this year and in the future, too.”
UConn faculty, students, alumni, and fans will have several options available for tickets and travel packages to the 2004 Motor City Bowl. Game tickets are priced at $25, $45, and $55. Travel packages – which include a pre-game reception, souvenirs, and shuttle service from the hotel to the game – range from $150 to $635. One-day travel packages are also available.
More information can be found at http://UConnBowl.com or by calling 1-888-GO-UCONN.