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Top performers: Utah State vs. Ohio, bowl edition

Top performers: Utah State vs. Ohio, bowl edition

By Justin McKissick, Contributor | Posted - Dec. 17, 2011 at 7:51 p.m.

This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.

BOISE — What a difficult loss for the Utah State University football team to swallow. The Famous Idaho Potato Bowl was (or would have been) a perfect end to the Utah State football season. The Aggies had a win in their pocket and somehow found a way to give it away.

So Aggie fans can have a positive recollection of this game and the season as they head into the offseason, let's reflect on the Potato Bowl's top performers.

Michael Smith – Utah State senior running back

Smith has definitely spent the past few weeks showing there is more to the Utah State running game than Robert Turbin. The senior back went for 156 yards and two scores against the Bobcats including a 63-TD scamper early in the second half.

Smith set the tone for all Aggie backs, breaking tackles and dragging defenders downfield. Although Smith is known as more of a speed runner, he showed his ability to make physical plays on the ground.

Smith has played his last game in an Aggie uniform, and although it ended in a loss, he gave it all he had and should hold his head up high.

Tyler Tettleton – Ohio sophomore quarterback

While this probably wasn’t the type of game Tettleton wanted going into the bowl, the sophomore came up big when his team needed it. Tettleton threw for 219 yards and two scores through the air against the Aggies.

Before the bowl game started, the Aggies were aware of Tettleton’s ability to move around the pocket and make plays with his legs, but the defense was not able to contain him on a broken play with just 13 seconds remaining in the game from the 6-inch line.

It wasn’t always a pretty performance from the Bobcat signal-caller, but Tettleton left the field as the quarterback of Ohio’s first bowl game-winning team.

Utah State offensive line

Credit should be given where credit is due. Utah State’s offensive line dominated the trenches all game long and opened up highway-size running lanes for the USU backs.

Not only were the Aggie backs able to have a huge game, but junior quarterback Adam Kennedy received great protection all game long as well. Utah State allowed just one sack to the Bobcats, and that was on a Kennedy scramble.

When a team finishes with two runners who ran for more than 100 yards on the ground, it’s due to more than just the play calling of the offensive coordinator. The Aggie offensive line left it all on the field tonight. Congratulations to them.

LaVon Brazill – Ohio senior wide receiver

What a way for Brazill to end his collegiate career. The receiver finished the game with eight catches, for 108 yards and a touchdown.

Brazill showed that he is a true gamer, playing this game on a torn meniscus and a bone bruise. The senior had not even practiced all week, but when the game was on the line, Tettleton called his number.

On fourth down with 43 seconds remaining, the Bobcat leaders hooked up for a huge first down that ended on the Aggies' half-yard line. That play eventually led to the game winner.

This game ended in a difficult fashion for Utah State and all Aggie faithful, but the players should remember this one with good thoughts, having given all they could. Graduating seniors have nothing to feel ashamed of.

Looking back on this year, the Aggies accomplished what they were hoping for: a winning season and a bowl appearance. Head coach Gary Andersen should be proud of his team; fans are proud of them as well.

Justin McKissick is a 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.(AP Photo/Idaho Press-Tribune, Charlie Litchfield)

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