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LOGAN -- The Utah State Aggies are bowl eligible for the first time since the 1997 Humanitarian Bowl and will be playing in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl in Boise against the Ohio Bobcats Saturday.
The Aggies won five games in a row entering this contest and now look to win their first bowl since the 1993 Las Vegas Bowl. This will be no easy task against the Bobcats, who went 9-4 this season and won the MAC-East.
Ohio had won five in a row, until falling by a late field goal to Northern Illinois in the MAC Championship game 23- 20. Interestingly, the only Bobcats loss this season that wasn’t by a field goal was Sept. 24, to Rutgers when they lost 38-26.
The Bobcats are led on the field by sophomore quarterback Tyler Tettleton. The Bobcat signal-caller has an impressive 26-10, touchdown-to-interception ratio. Tettleton has thrown for 3,086 yards on the season, but is much more then just a passer; he has also rushed for 627 yards and nine touchdowns.
While the Aggies have just two receivers with more then 20 catches on the season (Matt Austin and Stanley Morrison), the Bobcats have five. The most prolific Bobcat pass- catcher on the Ohio roster is senior LaVon Brazill. The 5- foot-10 receiver has caught 64 balls for 1,042 yards and 10 scores. Brazill has also run the ball five times for 73 yards and a touchdown.
The Bobcats are not a one-way team though. They have a very skilled running game to go along with their passing attack. Senior Donte Harden and sophomores Ryan Boykin and Beau Blankenship have run for a combined 1,784 yards and seven touchdowns.
The Aggies will need to focus on containing Tettleton first and foremost as the sophomore is able to make plays with his legs if there is not a receiver open down field.
It’s easy to praise an offense, but the Aggies will need to be creative against the Ohio defense, as they have allowed just 126.4 rush yards per game. Utah State obviously relies heavily on its running game and is currently averaging 277.5 rushing yards per game.
On defense, the Bobcats are led by junior linebacker Noah Keller, who leads the team with 155 total tackles. That total places Keller in Ohio’s top-10 all-time tackles list.
The bowl game will be quite the test for USU’s secondary as they will need to cover Ohio’s many capable receivers long enough to let the Utah State front- seven make the plays that Aggie faithful know they are able to. As those same faithful know, the defensive secondary is not the Aggies most talented group of players and the USU linebackers will need to help out on the underneath routes and in the run game.
The Famous Idaho Potato Bowl has the potential to be the Aggies most difficult game all season and head coach Gary Andersen will have his hands full in this one. This game will definitely be a great memory for the outgoing seniors on the Utah State roster.
Justin McKissick is a KSL.com contributor originally from the San Francisco Bay Area. He is currently seeking a communications degree. Justin has been covering USU sports since 2011. Follow him on Twitter: @justin_sr.