TOLEDO - The University of Toledo has accepted an invitation to play No. 18 Utah State of the Western Athletic Conference in the 2012 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl at Bronco Stadium in Boise, ID, UT Athletic Director Mike O'Brien announced on Sunday. The game will be played at 2:30 MT (4:30 p.m. ET) on Saturday, Dec. 15 and will be televised on ESPN.
"We are very excited to be selected to play Utah State in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl," said O'Brien. "I'm confident that our players, coaches and fans will enjoy a terrific bowl experience in Boise. We've heard nothing but great things from the MAC schools that have played in this bowl in the past."
"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 UT head coach Matt Campbell. "Playing in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl is an excellent reward for our players, coaches and everyone involved in our team's success."
This will be the 13th bowl for Toledo. The Rockets have a 9-3 bowl record and most recently played in the 2011 Military Bowl in Washington D.C. The Rockets defeated Air Force in that game, 42-41.
Toledo (9-3, 6-2 MAC) tied for second place in the West Division of the Mid-American Conference with Ball State. The Rockets won eight straight games at one point in the season, including a 29-23 victory over then-No. 18 Cincinnati. UT was ranked as high as No. 23 in the AP poll this season, and cracked the BCS Top 25 for the first time in school history (No. 25 on Nov. 4). Toledo's three losses were all to schools playing in bowl games: Northern Illinois (12-1), Ball State (9-3) and Arizona (7-5).
WAC champion Utah State (10-2, 6-0 WAC) is ranked No. 18 in the Associated Press media poll and No. 20 in the USA Today coaches poll. The Aggies' two losses were by a total of five points: 16-14 at Wisconsin and 6-3 at Brigham Young. Among their 10 wins are triumphs over Utah, No. 24 San Jose State (10-2) and then No. 19 Louisiana Tech (9-3).
Toledo is one of a record seven Mid-American Conference schools to accept bowl invitations today. The other six are 12-1 Northern Illinois (Orange Bow1 vs. Florida State); 10-2 Kent State (GoDaddy.com Bowl vs. Arkansas State), 9-3 Ball State (Beef O'Brady's Bowl vs. Central Florida), 8-4 Bowling Green (Military Bowl vs. San Jose State), 8-4 Ohio (Advocare V100 Independence Bowl vs. Louisiana-Monroe) and 6-6 Central Michigan (Little Caesars Pizza Bowl vs. Western Kentucky). The previous MAC record was five teams in bowl, which happened four times (2004, 2008, 2009, 2011). The MAC had a 4-1 record in bowls last season.