Potato Analysis - Utah State 41, Toledo 15

Posted Dec 16, 2012

The instant analysis and reaction to the 2012 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl

- Follow us ... @ColFootballNews

- Famous Idaho Potato Bowl Utah State 41, Toledo 15

It was a defensive battle deep into the fourth quarter, and then came the Utah State explosion with three straight touchdown runs from Kerwynn Williams in just over three minutes on scoring runs of 63, five and 25 yards away. Before that, the Aggie D held Toledo to just three Jeremiah Detmer field goals from 37, 37 and 29 yards out, while the O managed a 62-yard touchdown run from quarterback Chuckie Keeton and two Nick Diaz field goals for a 13-9 lead with seven minutes to play. Joe Hill capped off the 28-point Utah State fourth quarter with a five-yard touchdown run. The Aggies outgained the Rockets 582 yards to 315.

Utah State: RB Kerwynn Williams ran 18 times for 235 yards and three scores and caught two passes for 34 yards. … QB Chuckie Keeton completed 21-of-31 passes for 229 yards, and he ran nine times for 92 yards and a score. … P Tyler Bennett averaged 43 yards per punt, putting all four of his kicks inside the 20. … LB Bojay Filmoeatu led the way with 9.5 tackles with a sack and a broken up pass. … The Aggies averaged 7.4 yards per pass attempt and 11.4 yards per carry.

Toledo: QB Terrance Owens had a rough day completing 6-of-17 passes for 39 yards, while Austin Dantin completed 12-of-21 passes for 132 yards and two picks. … RB Bernard Reedy ran ten times for 50 yards and led the team with six catches for 62 yards. … The Rockets held on to the ball for 35:55 including 11:19 in the fourth quarter, but were outscored 28-9 in the final frame.

By Rich Cirminiello

Utah State still probably wins either way, but Toledo got a bum deal by losing both its best offensive and defensive players, RB David Fluellen and LB Dan Molls, respectively, to early injuries. The Rockets don't get gutted quite as methodically on the ground if No. 32 is in the middle for 60 minutes.

Early bowl games are ideal settings for players like Aggies RB Kerwynn Williams, who operates with great footwork. Without the Idaho Potato Bowl, much of the nation would never get a chance to see the senior play. He really helped his NFL Draft grade tonight with a phenomenal final quarter.

Toledo head coach Matt Campbell will have to answer why it took so long to get QB Terrance Owens into the game. Sure, he wasn't 100%, but he was obviously healthy enough to play in the fourth quarter, and provided the kind of spark that eluded Austin Dantin in the first three quarters.

Kudos to Utah State defensive coordinator Dave Aranda. He's not coaching a bunch of former blue-chippers, but, boy, does his group of defenders get to the ball quickly, and wrap up in space.

Whoever was responsible for keeping Gary Andersen in Logan ought to get a promotion and a corner office on the Utah State campus. The coach has turned the Aggies from a laughingstock at this level into an 11-win team that lost to BYU and Wisconsin by five points combined.

By Russ Mitchell
Follow me @russmitchellcfb

The final score wasn't reflective of just how close this game was, and Toledo lost it's star offensive and defensive players early in the first half and played most of the game without starting quarterback Terrance Ownes. Nevertheless, Utah State was clearly the better team running on blue turf.

Without Dan Molls filling the middle (a likely concussion on the opening kickoff), Toledo's defense wore down in the second half, and Aggie tailback Kerwynn Williams was more than willing to take advantage. The senior exploded for one long run after another in the fourth quarter, and finished with 229 yards on 18 carries, to go with three touchdowns.

Speaking of seniors, this group of Aggies were the winningest senior class in Utah State history, tying the senior class of 1962...back when one Merlin Olsen was anchoring the defense.
Defense - that's what this game was really about. After a year spent lauding the play of Aggies' sophomore quarterback Chuckie Keeton (who averaged nearly as much per run as Williams did on Saturday, to go with 21 of 31 passing for 227 yards), it was the Utah State defense that shined against Toledo.

The Rockets might have been playing without star tailback David Fluellen, who left the game early with his injured ankle that was clearly not 100 percent, but Toledo both ran and passed for under their season averages, as USU's defense stymied Toledo at nearly every turn - including several clutch stops in the red zone.

Gary Andersen has done a great job in Logan, and deserves a tremendous amount of credit. We told you before the season to keep a close eye on the Aggies, and they came within inches of a 13-0 season. Andersen won't be able to resist the siren's call of the bigger programs forever...but for now, Utah State is the better for it.

By Terry Johnson

- Yes, Utah State is the best non-AQ team in the country. The Aggie defense held Toledo in check for the entire game, never giving up an offensive touchdown. Northern Illinois can't say that.

- How impressive was the USU defense? It held Toledo to only 318 yards of offense, which was the Rockets' lowest output since 2010.

- Ironically, that game also took place on the Smurf Turf in a 57-14 loss to Boise State.

- After today's effort, don't be surprised to see DC Dave Aranda end up at a big-time program soon.

- Ditto for Gary Andersen, who's turned the Aggies into a physical team that can compete with the likes of Wisconsin, BYU, and Auburn (last year's version).

- Kerwynn Williams proved why he'll be a great running back at the next level. Sure, he ran for over 200 yards, but what stood out was that he got stronger as the game went on. Every NFL roster has a spot for a back like that.

- Believe it or not, this game could have gone much differently if Toledo had converted on a fourth-and-1 during the fourth quarter. While going for it was the right thing to do, it's interesting that Matt Campbell used Terrance Owens on the QB keeper and not Wildcat QB/RB David Pasquale, whose physical running style probably picks up the first down. Had the Rockets converted, they likely would have tied the game, and kept the momentum on their side.

- It was sad to see Dan Molls' final college game cut short by injury. However, as the nation's leading tackler, he's a sure bet to land a spot on an NFL roster.

By Bart Doan
Follow me @Bart_cfn

Well, if nothing else, watching the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl should have made you want to live in Idaho as much as I always have. I could have dealt with three hours of running commercials depicting their scenery.

But there was a football game, apparently in between, and one of the best trophies you'll find this bowl season was awarded to underrated Utah State, that being a giant glass bowl of potatoes. Sour cream and chives provided by yourself.

If there's been a winner this offseason thus far, it's got to be Utah State. Not only because of a win over a gamely MAC foe in Toledo, but because the coaching shuffle ended for the most part without them losing Gary Andersen, a young, upstart coach whom everyone is over looking.

This last game for them, and the last hurrah for the WAC of sorts was a bit of a slug fest for the most part until the last seven minutes. Then, Kerwynn Williams entered the game as 11th in the nation in all purpose yards, and he proved why apparently, him not getting any FBS scholarship offers right out of high school was a mistake. For what callous time it lasts, he became the WAC conference's leading rusher in this game.

But scuffling with Toledo from what we're all sold is a much improved MAC conference, in the midst of a Renaissance period of sorts, Williams busted off a 61 yard touchdown run with just under seven minutes left to cap off a 31 second, 70 yard drive that mostly salted it away. Williams then punched it in three minutes later after the Aggies had gotten the ball back after an impotent shot from the Rocket offense and wound met salt for the end. Williams then went over 200 yards rushing with another touchdown with under four minutes left, introducing insult to injury. For the most part, Toledo's front seven held well, but flat out got destroyed in the fourth quarter by the USU offensive line, and that's typically when better teams flex their muscles, in the last part of the game.

So as it stands, Utah State is one of the more amazing stories in college football over the last two years. This bowl win is their first since 1993 against Ball State, which also before today stood as their only bowl win.

This year marked their first conference championship since John L. Smith (remember him?) was trolling the sidelines of the Big West. The Aggies have got to feel awfully good about this one, and the way the program is going. Feast up on that giant bowl of potatoes. But remember, starch adds weight gain.