Potato Bowl Preview: Toledo Rockets and Utah State Aggies
At a combined record of 19-5 between the two schools, the Toledo Rockets and the Utah State Aggies will meet in the Potato Bowl on Dec. 15 in Boise. Game time is set for 4:30p.m. EST.
Both of these teams are excellent at moving the ball and scoring points. Among their specialties, Toledo is No. 34 in the FBS in rushing yards per-game (197.5), and Utah State are No. 37 in the FBS in both passing yards (268.0) and rushing yards per-game (191.7).
NFL scouts will be taking a long look at Toledo junior running back David Fluellen, who ran for an amazing 1,460 yards this season. But his counterpart, Utah State running back Kerwynn Williams ran for 1,277 yards while doing it in 52 fewer carries than Fluellen, giving Williams the better average per-carry at 6.4.
Another amazing player to watch will be the sophomore out of Houston, Chuck Keeton playing quarterback for Utah State. Keeton has thrown for a staggering 3,144 yards on the year, with 27 touchdowns to 9 interceptions–a 3:1 ratio–as well. I don’t care who you’re playing, those are winning numbers my friend, and ones that will win you games.
Both teams can also boast a similar success, and that is beating a ranked team. Toledo scored a win over the then-No. 21 Cincinnati Bearcats on Oct. 20, and Utah State won against the then-No. 20 Louisiana Tech Bulldogs on Nov. 17. The only thing that makes one greater than the other is that Utah State won their game on the road.
Toledo has suffered some tough losses this year. Their three defeats are to the Arizona Wildcats, Ball State Cardinals and the BCS-bound Northern Illinois Huskies. Utah State’s two losses on the year come at the Wisconsin Badgers and at the BYU Cougars. The game in Madison they dropped 16-14, and their BYU loss was 6-3, giving them a total of five points worth of defeats on the season.
Who will win this game and what will it come down to? Both teams are excellent on offense, as I believe it will be a show of the running of Fluellen and the arm of Keeton to ultimately decide this game. But the big difference between the teams is ultimately what will separate them in the end. Utah State’s scoring defense is ranked eighth in the nation at 15.4 point per-game. Toledo ranks No. 59 in that category.
In the end, I believe that it will be the defense of Utah State that will rise in this game and give them the win. The superior competition shows as they are ranked 27 spots higher in strength of schedule and have done very well in the process. It will be a shootout, and it won’t be decided anytime early, but I like Utah State with the win 45-35.