USU football: Aggies play Toledo in 2012 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl

By Doug Hoffman

For the Deseret News

Published: Monday, Dec. 3 2012 10:56 a.m. MST

Utah State football faces the University of Toledo in the 2012 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl on Saturday, Dec. 15 at 2:30 p.m. (MT) at Bronco Stadium in Boise, Idaho, it was announced Sunday. The bowl game will be the first-ever meeting between the two teams.

Toledo (9-3, 6-2 MAC) tied for second place in the West Division of the Mid-American Conference with Ball State. The Rockets won eight straight games at one point in the season, including a 29-23 victory over then No. 18 Cincinnati. UT was ranked as high as No. 23 in the AP poll this season and cracked the BCS Top 25 for the first time in school history (No. 25 on Nov. 4). Toledo's three losses were all to schools playing in bowl games – Northern Illinois (11-1), Ball State (9-3) and Arizona (7-5).

The Rockets most recently played in the 2011 Military Bowl in Washington D.C. and defeated Air Force, 42-41.

“We are excited to prepare for a quality Toledo team that had an outstanding season,” said fourth year Utah State head coach Gary Andersen. “Our staff has great respect for Toledo head coach Matt Campbell and the Rockets team. They are very well coached and obviously very talented as they are playing in their third-straight bowl game.”

Utah State (10-2, 6-0 WAC) just completed its most successful regular season in school history as it set single-season records for wins (10) and home wins (6), while recording its first outright league championship since 1936 and its 11th in school history as it became the first team in USU history to post a 6-0 conference record.

Utah State’s two losses in 2012 were by two points at Big Ten Champion Wisconsin, one of the teams in this year’s Rose Bowl, and by three points at BYU, a team playing in the 2012 San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl.

Utah State, who officially joins the Mountain West Conference on July 1, 2013, concluded WAC play with an 11-game winning streak. USU has won each of its last six games to rank tied for the fifth-longest winning streak in school history and tied for the seventh-longest active winning streak in the nation.

Nationally, Utah State is one of just 22 teams with 10 or more wins on the season, and USU is one of just four teams across the country who did not lose a league game joining Ohio State (8-0) from the Big Ten, and Kent State (8-0) and Northern Illinois (8-0) from the Mid-American Conference.

Utah State enters the 2012 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl with one of the best defenses in the Football Bowl Subdivision level as it currently ranks eighth in the nation in scoring defense (15.4 ppg); eighth nationally in sacks (3.25 pg); 12th in the country in rushing defense (111.4 ypg); 15th in the nation in total defense (322.7 ypg); 15th in the nation in pass efficiency defense (107.0); and 35th in the nation in passing defense (211.2 ypg).

Utah State is 7-2 overall against the Mid-American Conference teams, which includes a 24-23 loss to Ohio in the 2011 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.

For Utah State, it is the second time in as many years and third time in school history it is playing a bowl game in Boise, Idaho, as USU also played in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl in 2011, while competing in the inaugural Humanitarian Bowl in 1997.

Utah State’s one bowl win in school history was at the 1993 Las Vegas Bowl when it defeated Ball State, 42-33.

Tickets for the 2012 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl are available by contacting the USU Ticket Office at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum or by calling 1-888-USTATE-1 or (435) 797-0305. Tickets can also be purchased 24 hours a day on the USU website.

The Famous Idaho Potato Bowl is the second game of the entire bowl calendar and the only one in its timeslot. The Bowl will be telecast nationally on ESPN and broadcast on ESPN Radio. Six of the previous eight games have been decided on the last drive, with an average score of 31-24 in the 15-year history of the bowl.

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