LOGAN, Utah – Utah State football will face the University of Toledo in the 2012 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl on Saturday, Dec. 15 at 2:30 p.m. (MT) at Bronco Stadium in Boise, Idaho it was announced Sunday. The bowl game will be the first-ever meeting between the two teams.
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 (11-1), Ball State (9-3) and Arizona (7-5).
The Rockets most recently played in the 2011 Military Bowl in Washington D.C., as it defeated Air Force, 42-41.
"We are excited to prepare for a quality Toledo team that had an outstanding season," said fourth year Utah State head coach Gary Andersen. "Our staff has great respect for Toledo head coach Matt Campbell and the Rockets team. They are very well coached and obviously very talented as they are playing in their third-straight bowl game."
Utah State (10-2, 6-0 WAC) just completed its most successful regular season in school history as it set single-season records for wins (10) and home wins (6), while recording its first outright league championship since 1936 and its 11th in school history as it became the first team in USU history to post a 6-0 conference record.
Utah State's two losses in 2012 were by two points (16-14) at Big Ten Champion Wisconsin (8-5) who will play in this year's Rose Bowl, and by three points (6-3) at BYU (7-5) who will play in the 2012 San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl.
Utah State, who officially joins the Mountain West Conference on July 1, 2013, concluded WAC play with an 11-game winning streak. Overall, USU has won each of its last six games to rank tied for the fifth-longest winning streak in school history and tied for the seventh-longest active winning streak in the nation. In all, Utah State has now won 15 of its last 18 games to rank as the best 18-game stretch in school history since the 1962-64 teams also won 15 of 18 games.
Nationally, Utah State is one of just 22 teams with 10 or more wins on the season and USU is one of just four teams across the country who did not lose a league game joining Ohio State (8-0) from the Big Ten and Kent State (8-0) and Northern Illinois (8-0) from the Mid-American Conference.
Utah State, who is ranked 18th in the nation in this week's Associated Press top 25, 20th in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' poll and 22nd in the final Bowl Championship Series (BCS) Standings, will enter the 2012 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl with one of the best defenses at the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) level as it currently ranks eighth in the nation in scoring defense (15.4 ppg), eighth nationally in sacks (3.25 pg), 12th in the country in rushing defense (111.4 ypg), 15th in the nation in total defense (322.7 ypg), 15th in the nation in pass efficiency defense (107.0), and 35th in the nation in passing defense (211.2 ypg).
Utah State's defense has also played exceptionally well in the first-half this year as it is out-scoring its opponents 131-6 in the first quarter and has a 244-54 scoring advantage in the first-half this season as it has scored first and led at the half in all but one game this year. Overall, USU is the only team in the nation who has not allowed a first quarter touchdown on the season.
Utah State is 7-2 overall against the Mid-American Conference teams, which includes a 24-23 loss to Ohio in the 2011 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.
For Utah State, it is the second time in as many years and third time in school history it will be playing a bowl game in Boise, Idaho as USU also played in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl in 2011, while competing in the inaugural Humanitarian Bowl in 1997.
Overall, it is the third time in school history that Utah State has played in back-to-back bowl games joining the 1946 Raisin Bowl and 1947 Grape Bowl teams, and the 1960 Sun Bowl and 1961 Gotham Bowl teams.
All time, this will be Utah State's eighth bowl appearance in the program's history as it played in the 1946 Raisin Bowl, the 1947 Grape Bowl, the 1960 Sun Bowl, the 1961 Gotham Bowl, the 1993 Las Vegas Bowl, the 1997 Humanitarian Bowl and the 2011 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.
Utah State's one bowl win in school history was at the 1993 Las Vegas Bowl when it defeated Ball State, 42-33.
Fans can follow the Aggie football program at twitter.com/USUFootball. Aggie fans can also follow the Utah State athletic program at twitter.com/USUAthletics or on facebook at Utah State University Athletics.
The Famous Idaho Potato Bowl is the second game of the entire bowl calendar and the only one in its timeslot. The Bowl will be telecast nationally on ESPN and broadcast on ESPN Radio. Six of the previous eight games have been decided on the last drive, with an average score of 31-24 in the 15-year history of the bowl.
About the Bowl
The Famous Idaho Potato Bowl recognizes the positive impact teams, coaches and student-athletes have in their communities and their leadership roles in promoting humanitarian efforts. Each year, the Bowl generates nearly $1 million in direct economic impact for the facilities and charities involved. For more information, visit www.famousidahopotatobowl.com.
About the Idaho Potato Commission
The Idaho Potato Commission is a state agency that is primarily responsible for expanding the markets for Idaho-grown potatoes through advertising, promotion and research. The Commission also protects the use of the "Idaho® potato" and "Grown in Idaho®" seals, which are federally registered Certification Marks that belong to the IPC. These Marks ensure that consumers are purchasing potatoes that have been grown in the state of Idaho. For more information, visit www.idahopotato.com.
Utah State Football Bowl History (1-6)
1946 Raisin Bowl vs. San Jose State – L, 0-20 (Fresno, Calif.)
1947 Grape Bowl vs. Pacific – L, 21-35 (Lodi, Calif.)
1960 Sun Bowl vs. New Mexico State – L, 13-20 (El Paso, Texas)
1961 Gotham Bowl vs. Baylor – L, 9-24 (New York City)
1993 Las Vegas Bowl vs. Ball State – W, 42-33 (Las Vegas, Nev.)
1997 Humanitarian Bowl vs. Cincinnati – L, 19-35 (Boise, Idaho)
2011 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl vs. Ohio – L, 23-24 (Boise, Idaho)
Utah State vs. Mid-American Conference (7-2)
Ball State - 1-0 (1993 Las Vegas Bowl)
Bowling Green - 2-0 (1969a, 1970h)
Kent State - 1-1 (1973h, 1974a)
Northern Illinois - 1-0 (1995h)
Ohio – 1-2 (1994a, 2011 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl)
Western Michigan - 1-0 (1961a)
(Have not played: Akron, Buffalo, Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan, Miami (Ohio), Temple, Toledo)
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl History
Dec. 17, 2011 – Ohio (MAC) 24, Utah State (WAC) 23
Dec. 18, 2010 – Northern Illinois (MAC) 40, Fresno State (WAC) 17
Dec. 30, 2009 – Idaho (WAC) 43, Bowling Green (MAC) 42
Dec. 30, 2008 – Maryland (ACC) 42, Nevada (WAC) 35
Dec. 31, 2007 – Fresno State (WAC) 40, Georgia Tech (ACC) 28
Dec. 31, 2006 – Miami (ACC) 21, Nevada (WAC) 20
Dec. 28, 2005 – Boston College (ACC) 27, Boise State (WAC) 21
Dec. 27, 2004 – Fresno State (WAC) 37, Virginia (ACC) 34
Jan. 3, 2004 – Georgia Tech (ACC) 52, Tulsa (WAC) 10
Dec. 31, 2002 – Boise State (WAC) 38, Iowa State (Big 12) 16
Dec. 31, 2001 – Clemson (ACC) 49, Louisiana Tech (WAC) 24
Dec, 28, 2000 – Boise State (Big West) 38, UTEP (WAC) 23
Dec. 28, 1999 – Boise State (Big West) 34, Louisville (C-USA) 31
Dec. 30, 1998 – Idaho (Big West) 42, Southern Mississippi (C-USA) 35
Dec. 29, 1997 – Cincinnati (C-USA) 35, Utah State (Big West) 19