2011 Famous Idaho Potato - Ohio 24-Utah St 23

Posted Dec 17, 2011

2011-2012 Bowls - CFN's Preview & Prediction for the 2011 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl

2011 Famous Idaho Potato

Ohio 24 ... Utah State 23

- 2011-2012 CFN Bowl Central

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National Rankings
O   U
21st Total Offense 20th
42nd Total Defense 50th
38th Scoring Offense 21st
31st Scoring Defense 73rd
24th Rushing Offense 6th
30th Run Defense 32nd
39th Passing Offense 95th
68th Passing Defense 77th
67th Turnover Margin 100th
Position Rankings
relative to each other
5 Highest - 1 Lowest
O   U
4 Quarterbacks 4
3.5 RBs 4.5
3.5 Receivers 3
3.5 O Line 4
3 D Line 3
4 Linebackers 3.5
3.5 Secondary 3
3 Spec Teams 4
4 Coaching 4
Ohio 24 … Utah State 23
- CFN Thoughts on the Game

Ohio: QB Tyler Tettleton completed 19-of-26 passes for 220 yards and two scores, and ran 16 times for 27 yards and the game-winning score … LB Noah Keller led the team with 11 tackles and a tackle for loss … WR LaVon Brazill caught eight passes for 108 yards and a score … P Paul Hershey averaged 50 yards on six kicks with three put inside the 20. … Ohio was outgained 441 yards to 345.

Utah State: RB Michael Smith ran 12 times for 157 yards and two scores, and Robert Turbin ran 20 times for 101 yards. … Chuckie Keeton came in and ran just once for ten yards, while Adam Kennedy completed 11-of-18 passes for 63 yards and a score while running six times for 11 yards. … WR Stanley Morrison caught four passes for 25 yards … LB Kyle Gallagher led the team with nine tackles, but Bobby Wagner became the WAC's all-time leading tackler after making seven stops.

(AP) BOISE, Idaho -- Tyler Tettleton's late heroics helped Ohio erase decades of misery in the postseason. The sophomore calmly led a 61-yard drive in the final 2:02 and scored on a 1-yard keeper with 13 seconds left to give Ohio its first bowl victory, 24-23 over Utah State on Saturday in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.

Ohio had been winless in five bowl appearances, including setbacks the last two seasons.

But Tettleton changed all that, going 3 of 4 passing in the final drive, including a 14-yard completion to LaVon Brazill on fourth down to give Ohio a first down inside the 1 with 37 seconds left.

After getting stuffed on his first attempt to punch the ball in, Tettleton rolled right on the next play and outran two defenders to cap the comeback and set a new course for Ohio's postseason future.

"There's been a lot of great wins here, and I appreciate every one," Ohio coach Frank Solich said. "This one obviously is kind of an answer to what these guys wanted to get done at the beginning of the year, and what we all wanted in terms of winning a bowl game. To accomplish that and get the first win in the history of Ohio football was meaningful to me, these players and this staff."

The victory also gave Ohio its first 10-win season since 1968 and helped blunt the bitterness of letting Northern Illinois rally from a 20-point deficit in the Mid-American Conference title game two weeks ago.

Tettleton, the son of former major league catcher Mickey Tettleton, was effective throughout the game and kept the Bobcats close enough with his legs and arm.

Tettleton was 19 of 26 passing for 220 yards and two touchdowns and rushed 16 times for 31 yards. He was only sacked twice and spread his completions around to seven receivers and the Bobcats had 345 total yards on offense.

For Utah State, the loss was a heartbreaker.

The Aggies dominated the first half and extended their lead to 23-10 in the third quarter behind a bruising rushing attack that kept Tettleton off the field and rolled up 345 yards. The Aggies came into the game with the nation's sixth-best rushing attack, averaging 277 yards per game.

Michael Smith rushed for a career-best 157 yards and two touchdowns on 12 carries, including a 63-yard scoring run early in the third quarter that put Utah State up 16-10. Smith scored later in the third on an 11-yard run up the middle, giving the Aggies (7-6) a 13-point lead.

Robert Turbin added for 101 yards on 20 carries, and Kerwynn Williams had 69 yards on nine carries.

But Utah State, which finished second in the Western Athletic Conference and was making its first bowl appearance since 1997, failed to close the deal and paid a price for missing two scoring chances early in the game.

On their first possession, the Aggies (7-6) drove to the 1, but Turbin was stopped short of the goal line on fourth down. The Aggies missed another chance late in the second quarter when a 39-yard field-goal attempt by Josh Thompson sailed wide right.

Still, head coach Gary Andersen, whose team closed the season with five straight wins to earn the school's first bowl invitation since 1997, believes there is plenty to feel good about and even more to build upon.

"It's been the most gratifying season of my career, hands down," Andersen said. "This is unbelievably gratifying to get to this point. This crew of kids will be in my mind for the rest of my life. We're excited to represent all three classes of seniors that have been there. Tonight was for them, and we'll look forward to the future."

The Aggies had a chance to ice the game when they took possession at their own 7 with 4:23 to go. But Ohio's defense stopped the Aggies on three straight running plays to force a punt.

On the winning drive, Tettleton scrambled for 14 yards and completed passes of 19, 7 and 14 yards to Brazill. The last reception was initially ruled a touchdown, but a review concluded he was down before the end zone, giving Ohio a first down inside the 1 and setting up Tettleton's big play.

"It was designed as a fake quarterback sneak and we were going to have two guys on the flat to the left," Tettleton said about his last-second score. "I got a rush up the middle and tried to make something happen after that and I was wide open to the end zone."

Brazill, who was voted MVP for the game, led the Bobcats with eight catches for 108 yards, including a 44-yard touchdown pass from Tettleton that pulled Ohio to 23-17 with 3:45 left in the third quarter.

The Aggies had just two possessions in the fourth quarter, but managed just two first downs, putting the onus on a defense that had let leads slip away in the last minute in games against Auburn and Brigham Young.

"This season has been a grind. Pretty much every single game we've played in has been a close game," Turbin said. "Unfortunately, you win some and you lose some and we lost tonight."

Ohio (9-4) at Utah State (7-5) Dec. 17, 5:30, ESPN

Here's The Deal … These two teams can't play anything but interesting football games, and they should put together another one. Nine Utah State games were decided by a touchdown or less and seven of the last nine Ohio games have been decided by seven points or fewer.

Motivation won't be a problem for Ohio, who under head coach Frank Solich has no problem getting on the green, but can't putt.

Between the two teams, they should come up with a whale of a battle, and at the very least, with these two ground games, it's going to be fast. Both can throw when needed, but both play an exciting style on the ground that should make for a bowl as good as its new name.

Ohio has done a great job under Solich with three MAC title appearances, and lost them all. The program that hadn't gone to a bowl games since 1968 before Solich has appeared in three since 2006, and lost them all. The Bobcats have been great at running the ball, the defense has been consistently sound, and the team finds a way to way the big regular season MAC game when it absolutely has to, but it's time to finally come up with a victory that can go in a trophy case.

0-5 all-time in bowl games, starting with the 15-14 loss to West Texas A&M in the 1962 Sun Bowl and getting bombed 48-21 by Troy in last year's New Orleans, this would qualify as one of the biggest wins in school history. It would also be the first ten-win season since 1968, but that year finished up with a loss to Richmond in the Tangerine Bowl.

Utah State has been trying for years to become merely respectable, and now head coach Gary Andersen was finally able to get the program back over the hump with a terrific offense to go along with a strong defense that led the WAC in yards allowed. This was a great season, but it could've been truly special had the Aggies not gagged away losses to Auburn, Colorado State, and BYU in the first month of the year. While they're three plays away from being 10-2, getting to a bowl game is cool enough.

Utah State is 1-4 all-time in bowl games with the lone win coming over Ball State in the 1993 Las Vegas Bowl – going to a bowl is a really big deal for the program, and it's going to play like it.

Formerly the MPC Computers Bowl before becoming the Humanitarian Bowl, the bowl has been one of the best of the bowl season in recent years. Northern Illinois destroyed Fresno State last season, but before that five of the previous six were decided by a touchdown or less. This should be the sixth in eight years.

Why Ohio Might Win: The linebackers and run defense are good enough to keep the Utah State running game under wraps. The Aggies are able to run on anyone with their spread attack, but in Noah Keller, Jelani Woseley, and Alphonso Lewis, Ohio has speed and tackling ability to get around the ball in a hurry. The Bobcats got steamrolled over by Temple for 308 rushing yards – but won – in the only problem game all season long for the run defense. No one else gained 200 yards and only two teams ran for more than one score. Utah State's passing game isn't awful, but it'll probably have to be great to come up with the win.

The Ohio offense isn't exactly tight with the ball, turning it over three times in the MAC title tame and 27 times on the year, but the defense is great at coming up with takeaways. The secondary picked off 12 passes in the first five games, and forced five fumbles in the last three. Utah State has had a problem with turnovers lately, fumbling the ball eight times over a three game span while throwing a pick in each of the last six games. Meanwhile, the Aggie defense has only come up with four picks on the year and has forced more than one fumble in a game just once. If Ohio wins the turnover battle, it'll probably win the game.

Why Utah State Might Win: The Ohio defense doesn't have much of a pass rush. Tremayne Scott has a nice burst and Nic Barber has had a few good moments, but for the most part, this isn't a defense built to make things happen behind the line. Utah State is great at dictating the tempo and the action from its offensive line, and led by sophomore center Tyler Larsen and senor guards Robert Hill and Funaki Asisi, the line is terrific and walling tackles off and getting the holes needed up the middle. Utah State doesn't allow sacks – partly because of the mobility of the quarterbacks – and it paved the way for the nation's No. 6 rushing attack. Yes, the Ohio linebackers can make plays, but Utah State would love nothing more than for the Bobcat linebacking corps to be doing all the work.

Both teams are terrific on third downs and both are great at controlling games, but Utah State is better on third down defense. Ohio isn't bad, but Utah State is great allowing teams to convert just 35.3% of the time with an active 3-4 alignment that's great at swarming around running games. Ohio has a passing attack and can get down the field when needed, but it would rather move the ball with quarterback Tyler Tettleton and running back Donte Harden on the ground. Utah State doesn't give up big pass plays and the inside linebacker tandem of Kyle Gallagher and Bobby Wagner will swallow everything up.

What To Watch Out For: Utah State's home run hitting running back Robert Turbin was back and better than ever coming off a knee injury that kept him out all of last year. While he hasn't run for a touchdown in either of the last two games, he scored 19 times on the year to go along with 1,416 rushing yards. Great in the open field, if he gets to the outside, it's over. The 5-10 and 216-pound junior is, fast with a great combination of power through the hole speed on the outside.

Ohio might like to move the ball on the ground, but the emergence of quarterback Tyler Tettleton helped out senior receiver LaVon Brazill, a quick target who went on an unstoppable midseason run with five 100-yard games in a six-game span. It's been a rebirth for one of the school's all-time greatest receivers and top punt returners, missing time last year with a leg injury before being done for the year with a broken hand. At 5-11 and 191 pounds he's not huge, but he has decent size and he plays very, very fast.

Utah State needs its freshman quarterback Chuckie Keeton to be back to form after missing the last few games of the regular season with a back injury. Starting with the shocking performance against Auburn – running for two scores and completing 21-of-30 passes for 213 yards – he was special all throughout the first half of the year before getting hurt throwing 11 touchdown passes and just two picks. Junior Adam Kennedy showed he could handle the workload, stepping in and throwing ten touchdowns and four picks over the final five games. A good runner, he might not be Keeton-quick, but he can use his legs to keep things moving.

What Will Happen: It might come down to who has the ball last. Ohio will get an almost perfect balance with Tettleton getting everything to work with a few big plays to Brazill and with 70 yards rushing. However, Utah State will keep coming. Just when it'll seem like Ohio is in control, the Aggies will go on a scoring drive to answer. The Aggies will get a little more out of its defensive front than the Bobcats will, and one big pass play to Matt Austin will set up a late Turbin touchdown run for the win. Whatever happens, it'll be close.

CFN Prediction: Utah State 28 … Ohio 24
- Click For Latest Line From ATS: Utah State -3.5   O/U: 58 
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Chuckie Keeton is supposed to be back, but either way, Utah State is too dynamic. Ohio has never won a bowl game.

By Richard Cirminiello 
Turns out the Aggies close call with Auburn in the opener was no fluke, as evidenced by a torrid finish in November and December.

By Matt Zemek
Utah State is the best story that nobody even knows about. This team overcame all those fourth-quarter failures to make a bowl game. Let that sink in.

By: Barrett Sallee
Follow me on Twitter: @BarrettSallee  
Utah State burst on to the scene with its near-upset of defending national champion Auburn to open the season. The Aggies rank No. 20 in total offense, so expect some fireworks.

By Russ Mitchell
Kennedy took over at QB for the injured Keeton, and led the Aggies to 5 straight wins. USU should have beaten Auburn and has been in every game this year...yes, Utah State.

By Terry Johnson
Can the Bobcats run defense, third best in the MAC, stop the Aggies' ground game that averages 277 yards per game?

By Phil Harrison
Follow me on Twitter @PhilHarrisonCFN
Can Ohio pull itself out of the disappointment of choking away the MAC Championship game against a Utah State team that will try out physical the Bobcats?
Best Bowl Moments

Best Bobcat Bowl Moment: The Bobcats' next bowl victory will also be their first victory, so the high points are scarce. Ohio has taken the collar in its five postseason opportunities, losing last year to Troy in the New Orleans Bowl just as it lost to West Texas A&M in its first bowl go-round at the 1962 Sun Bowl.

Best Aggie Bowl Moment: Charlie Weatherbie had himself quite a decade in the 1990s. He coached Navy to a bowl win in 1996, but three years earlier, he guided Utah State to its only bowl win in five tries. The USU crew topped Ball State, 42-33, to capture the 1993 Las Vegas Bowl. This season, Utah State will once again try to knock off a Mid-American Conference opponent.

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl History

formerly the Humanitarian Bowl and  the MPC Computers Bowl
2010 Northern Illinois 40, Fresno State 17
2009 Idaho 43, Bowling Green 42
2008 Maryland 42, Georgia Tech 35
2007 Fresno St 40, Georgia Tech 28

2006 Miami 21, Nevada 20
2005 Boston Coll 27, Boise St 21
2004 Fresno St 37, Virginia 34 OT
2004 (Jan.) Georgia Tech 52, Tulsa 10
2002 Boise St 34, Iowa St 17
2001 Clemson 49, La Tech 24
2000 Boise St 38, UTEP 23
1999 Boise St 34, Louisville 31
1998 Idaho 42, So Miss 35
1997 Cincinnati 35, Utah St 19

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