A week after accepting a bid to the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, Utah State now knows who its opponent will be Dec. 15 in Boise, Idaho. The Aggies will face the Toledo Rockets of the Mid-American Conference. Toledo announced the matchup in a press release Sunday night.
“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.”
Toledo finished the season with a 9-3 record, including a 6-2 mark in the MAC. The Rockets, like the Aggies, had their fair share of close losses this year. All three defeats came by just seven points. They lost to Arizona in overtime, as well as to Ball State and Northern Illinois. Their biggest win came at home against No. 21 Cincinnati in October. The Aggies and Rockets have never met in school history.
Toledo sports a balanced offense, led by quarterback Terrance Owens and wide receiver Bernard Reedy through the air and running back David Fluellen on the ground. Owens threw for 2,677 yards and 14 touchdowns this season. Reedy was his biggest target. The junior wide receiver hauled in 82 passes for 1,051 yards and six touchdowns.
Meanwhile, Fluellen ran for 1,460 yards and 13 touchdowns to power the ground game for the Rockets. Owens is the team’s second-leading rusher at 381 yards.
Last year the Rockets beat Air Force 42-41 in the Military Bowl.
"I think the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl will provide our student-athletes with an outstanding bowl experience, as well as the opportunity to play against a very tough Utah State team," said Campbell.
Utah State moved up to 18th in this week’s Associated Press poll, making the Aggies the first ranked Potato Bowl participant since 2005 when No. 19 Boston College beat Boise State. The Aggies finished 22nd in the final BCS standings.
The Aggies are headed to the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl for the second straight year and are making their eighth bowl appearance in school history. Last year Utah State lost to Ohio in dramatic fashion, 24-23. If history holds expect another close game this year, as six of the previous eight Boise bowl games have been decided on the last drive of the game.
Kickoff for the Potato Bowl is scheduled for 2:30 MST on Dec. 15th and will be broadcast nationally on ESPN and ESPN radio as the only game in its timeslot.
Kraig is a 2010 Utah State University graduate and regular Deseret News sports blogger. He can be followed on Twitter at DesNewsKraig.