2012 Famous Idaho Potato - Toledo vs. Utah St

Posted Dec 14, 2012

2012-2013 Bowls - CFN's Preview & Prediction for the 2012 Famous Idaho Potato

2012 Famous Idaho Potato

Utah State 41, Toledo 15

- 2012-2013 CFN Bowl Central 

- CFN Analysis of Utah State's win over Toledo

(AP) BOISE, Idaho -- Kerwynn Williams ran for 235 yards and three touchdowns, and No. 18 Utah State won a bowl game for the first time in nearly 20 years, beating Toledo 41-15 on Saturday in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.

The victory capped the best season in Utah State history. The Aggies finished 11-2, won the Western Athletic Conference title outright and had their first bowl victory since 1993.

Chuckie Keeton scored on a 62-yard run to put Utah State up 7-3, and Williams, the game's MVP, sparked a 28-point fourth quarter for Utah State when he broke through the defense and raced 63 yards for a touchdown to put the Aggies up 20-9. Williams, who had 18 carries, followed that with TD runs of 5 and 25 yards. Keeton ran for 92 yards and was 21-of-31 passing for 229 yards.

Toledo (9-4) was able to move the ball and made five trips inside the red zone. But penalties and miscues forced the Rockets to settle for Jeremiah Detmer's three field goals.

The Rockets' only touchdown came when Bernard Reedy returned a fourth-quarter kickoff 87 yards. Reedy was the only big producer on a Toledo offense held to 315 total yards. Reedy had 51 yards rushing and caught six passes for 62 yards.

Toledo quarterback Austin Dantin, who started in place of the injured Terrence Owens, was 12-of-21 passing for 132 yards. Dantin threw an interception in the third quarter to end a promising scoring drive and was replaced by Owens in the fourth quarter.

Owens moved the Rockets on his first possession, but another red-zone opportunity was squelched when the Aggies snuffed Owens for no gain on a fourth-and-1 play from the 9.

Toledo played without two top players. Linebacker Dan Molls, the nation's leading tackler, had a concussion on the opening kickoff and didn't return. Minutes later, running back David Fluellen, the nation's eighth-leading rusher, went down with an ankle injury.

The Aggies pulled away in the fourth quarter when Williams, held in check much of the game, broke off several long runs. After his 63-yard TD run, Williams broke through the line on the next Utah State possession, dashing 56 yards before being tackled at the 5. He scored one play later, then scored his final touchdown 1:30 later.

Utah State rolled up 582 yards on offense, including 353 yards on the ground.

National Rankings
T   U
28th Total Offense 26th
106th Total Defense 15th
39th Scoring Offense 36th
59th Scoring Defense 8th
34th Rushing Offense 37th
71st Run Defense 12th
45th Passing Offense 37th
117th Passing Defense 36th
31st Turnover Margin 62nd
Position Rankings
relative to each other
5 Highest - 1 Lowest
T   U
4 Quarterbacks 4
4 RBs 4
3.5 Receivers 3
3.5 O Line 4
3 D Line 3.5
3 Linebackers 4
2.5 Secondary 3
4 Spec Teams 4
3.5 Coaching 5
Utah State (10-2) vs. Toledo (9-3) Dec. 15, 4:30, ESPN

Here's The Deal … Two kicks. That's the difference between Orange and Potato for a Utah State team that came up with one of its greatest seasons ever, and with room to do even more.

Before last year, the Aggies hadn't come up with a winning season since 1996 and this is just the fourth winning season since 1980. Gary Andersen continues to put together one of the best head coaching jobs as he's turning around a perennial also ran with one of the most fun and exciting teams in college football. It almost all came together this year with something truly special with a missed 37-yard kick in the 16-14 loss at Wisconsin and a 38-yard whiff against BYU the only two mistakes standing between the team and the BCS. Winning the WAC was nice, and now the program is off to the Mountain West with a strong future and a coach who appears to be happy where he is – at least for now.

The Aggies are a mere 1-5 all-time in bowls, starting with a loss to San Jose State in the 1946 Raisin and losing a thriller last year to Ohio in the Famous Idaho Potato. The only bowl victory came in the 1993 Las Vegas against Ball State, so while it might not seem like that big a deal to beat Toledo, it would be historic.

The Rockets came up with a nice season under Matt Campbell, who took over the reins from current Illinois head coach, Tim Beckman, winning eight of the first nine games with the lone loss coming in the overtime opener against Arizona. A home clunker against Ball State and a tough battle against Northern Illinois were the two missteps, but there was a nice win over Cincinnati to make up for a schedule loaded up with cream-puffs.

Beating Utah State might not make up for not winning the MAC title, but it would mean the first ten-win season since 2001 and it would cement the program as one of the best on the lot with an 8-4 all-time record helped by a Military Bowl win over Air Force last season.

Formerly the MPC Computers Bowl and the Humanitarian, this has been one of the better minor bowls on a consistent basis with six of the last eight decided by six points or fewer and four of those decided by three points or fewer.

Players to Watch: The Rockets are getting a key piece of the puzzle coming back with running back David Fluellen returning from an ankle injury that kept him out of the regular-season finale against Akron. Very quick and very durable, he was a workhorse for the attack with 20 carries or more in every game but the layup against Coastal Carolina, rushing for 1,460 yards and 13 scores on the season to go along with 32 catches for 246 yards. The time off is a big help getting a full month to heal in time to face the nation's No. 12 run defense.

Last year was about the offense for Utah State, but this season the defense has been the star led by junior Jake Doughty, a smallish 6-0, 227-pound sparkplug who went from being a key backup to a machine with 101 stops including 30 in his last two game. He's a big hitter for his size with the quickness to always be around the ball.

Offensively, senior running back Kerwynn Williams has stepped in and become everything the Aggies need with 1,277 yards and 12 touchdowns while also serving as a terrific receiver out of the backfield with 43 catches for 663 yards and five scores. One of the nation's best all-around backs, Williams went from being a top kick returner to a good runner, and while he's not a workhorse, he'll hit the home run with three straight 100-yard games coming into the bowls.

Toledo will win if … it hangs on to the ball and finds ways to keep the chains moving. Toledo is one of the better teams in the nation in time of possession and Utah State is among the worst, and the most grinding drives, the better. The Aggies have an efficient passing game and a bit of pop and explosion, but it helped to put up big numbers against defenses like New Mexico State, Texas State and Louisiana Tech. This might be more of a tough, grinding game than it might appear, and for a Rocket defense that struggles to hold up against the pass and doesn't make a slew of big plays behind the line, just getting off the field will be a big deal.

How does Toledo keep moving the chains? The balance has to be there on offense, and with QB Terrance Owens healthy again after missing time with a foot injury, he should be able to keep the Aggie defense just honest enough to give Fluellen room to move. The Rocket coaching staff has to be creative and has to mix things up – again, the more the D is on the sideline, the better.

Utah State will win if … the passing game rocks. Toledo isn't exactly a brick wall against the run, but it's the secondary that has the biggest problem giving up close to 300-yard per game and getting bombed on by just about everyone. Chuckie Keeton is an ultra-efficient and effective passer who threw for more than 300 yards in three straight games before struggling a bit against Idaho. It will be bombs away against a Toledo D that doesn't get to the quarterback enough, and with Keeton's scrambling ability, there will be time for the receivers to get deep.

Defensively, Utah State will turn the dogs loose on Owens. Toledo has a nice offensive line that can pound away, but it's inconsistent in pass protection and should have problems with the creative and varied Aggie pass rush that destroyed San Jose State with 13 sacks in the key WAC showdown and came up with three or more in seven games. Just about everything else from the defense starts from the pressure up front, and the Aggies have to bring it from the start to force mistakes. Toledo has committed ten penalties in three of the last six games and turned the ball over six times in the last two weeks. Utah State is good enough to dictate the action.

What Will Happen: Utah State's defense will take away Fluellen and Owens won't be able to come through with the big game needed. It will be a nip-and-tuck defensive battle early, but the steadiness of Keeton on a few key third down plays will give the Aggies a lead midway through the first half before turning the ball over to its defense. A few takeaways will keep Toledo hanging around, but Keeton will connect on two deep passes to get the momentum back on the way to a good, fun bowl win that will set the bar high for the rest of the December bowls.

CFN Prediction: Utah State 34 … Toledo 30
ATS Consultants Line (Click for more lines and picks) Utah State -10 O/U: 58.5

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Famous Idaho Potato Bowl History

formerly the Humanitarian Bowl and  the MPC Computers Bowl
2012 Utah State 41, Toledo 15
2011 Ohio 24, Utah State 23
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 College 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