Bronco Stadium in Boise, Idaho – December 15th
The Utah State Aggies will make their second straight appearance in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl this year. The Aggies were beaten 24-23 by the Ohio Bobcats last year. Another team from Ohio, the Toledo Rockets, will be the Aggies opponent this season. Utah State has had a very successful season, and they enter this one as a ten point favorite.
The Toledo Rockets lost their head coach at the end of last season, but they didn’t really skip a beat this year. The Rockets went 9-3 and had another highly successful year in the MAC. Their three losses came against Arizona, Ball State, and Northern Illinois. None of those were bad losses, and Toledo picked up a nice win over Cincinnati in the middle of the season as well.
The big question mark going into this game for Toledo will be the health of their starting quarterback Terrance Owens. Owens didn’t play in the team’s last game on November 20, and he is listed as questionable. Owens led the team with 2,681 yards passing and 14 touchdown passes this year. Fortunately for the Rockets, they do have a very good backup in senior Austin Dantin. Dantin has been the starter in the past, and he should do well if the team needs him to spring into action here. Toledo’s secondary has been their biggest weakness this year. The Rockets are giving up 295 yards per game through the air. The defense has forced a lot of turnovers this year, but they’ll have a tough test against Utah State.
The Utah State Aggies football program has had a major revival under head coach Gary Andersen. This was a team that could never find its way to a bowl game, and now they are 10-2 and in the AP Top 25. The best recent news the team has gotten was that Andersen says he is staying with the program. This was after news had broken that he spoke with Cal and Colorado about openings at those schools. Utah State won the conference title outright this year for the first time since 1936.
Chuckie Keeton is the main man under center for the Utah State offense. Keeton is only a sophomore, but he is one of the best dual-threat quarterbacks in the nation. He has 27 passing touchdowns and 7 rushing touchdowns this year. Kerwynn Williams emerged as a major weapon out of the backfield this season. Williams averaged 6.4 yards per carry during the regular season, and he also led the team in receptions. Though their offense was solid, it was the Aggies defense that was amazing this year. Opponents averaged just 15.4 points per game against the Utah State defense. They held four of their last seven opponents to less than 10 points.
Toledo’s defense isn’t even close to the same level as Utah State’s. The Aggies let this one slip away last year, and I think they’ll be ready to take care of business and cover the spread here.
Utah State 34 Toledo 17