The last time the UConn Huskies went to a bowl game was the Fiesta Bowl in 2011. Since then, every senior class has had the misfortune of ending its career with the final regular season game.
The fifth-year seniors on this year's team came to UConn right after that season.
They endured a couple of 5-7 seasons under Paul Pasqualoni, who was fired four games--and four losses--into his third season in 2013. With TJ Weist as their interim head coach, the Huskies would lose five more games before getting into the win column- nowhere close to making a bowl game.
In December 2013, Bob Diaco took over as head coach and began rebuilding the culture of the program- one which he later described as a "giant mess." He vowed to get UConn back on the national stage.
They would finish 2-10 in Diaco's first season as the bowl drought continued. Remember, the bar to get into a bowl game isn't very high, so to be out of it for four years is pretty bad.
Very few people thought that drought would end in 2015. The only ones who truly did were in that locker room.
Diaco has repeatedly credited the senior class for inspiring the belief that they are winners. They worked hard in the offseason, through the spring and summer conditioning. They endured a grueling preseason camp. They use the mantra "B.I.A." (best in America) for preparation and practice.
All of that hard work paid off when UConn knocked off previously undefeated Houston to become bowl-eligible.
Now, the UConn seniors get to do what the previous four senior classes had not: end their college careers in a bowl game. Finishing the season with a winning record would be remarkable.
Win or lose though, these seniors will be remembered as the ones who got the turnaround started at UConn under Diaco. Now the underclassmen have the responsibility to continue the rise of the UConn football program to greater heights.
Watch as Diaco, Bryant Shirreffs and seniors Julian Campenni, Tyler Samra, Graham Stewart, Andrew Adams and Max DeLorenzo talk about what it means for the seniors to end their career in a bowl game.