BOISE — What was an awfully sluggish and tight game heading into the 4th quarter changed on a dime when bowl MVP Kerwynn Williams and company decided to run for their lives.
Here are five observations from Saturday's bowl game:
- Run Kerwynn, run. Utah State running back Kerwynn Williams has game-changing speed out of the backfield. In a year in which the senior running back rushed for 1,512 yards, the Aggies hopped on the senior's back in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl and he ran them to victory. Williams broke open a close game in the 4th quarter with a 63-yard touchdown scamper and a 56-yard run that set up his second touchdown of the game. He finished off his three-TD day with a 25-yard run that essentially put the game away. In a 3:16 span in the 4th quarter, Williams ran for 150 yards (on five carries) and three touchdowns turning a 13-9 nailbiter into a 34-9 blowout.
- If all else fails, let Chuckie run. Early in the first half Utah State was struggling to move the ball. It seemed Toledo had a beat on what the Aggies were doing leaving Utah State repeatedly in 3rd and long situations. USU head coach Gary Andersen left it to quarterback Chuckie Keeton to keep drives alive. On four 3rd and long plays in the first half, Keeton connected on two first down passes (15- and 13-yard completions) and ran for two other first downs (7- and 11-yard runs). After one of those first down runs, Keeton called his own number again and ran for 62 yards and pay dirt. Keeton's stats weren't eye-popping (229 yards passing, 92 yards rushing and a TD), but if not for Williams' amazing 4th quarter Keeton would have been your MVP for simply not letting this game get away from the Aggies.
- Matt Austin is to Utah State, what Cody Hoffman is to BYU. Austin's stats on the season aren't going to blow you away (48 catches for 729 yards), but he is easily Keeton's go-to guy. Of Austin's six catches on the day (for 77 yards), three went for first downs. Two others gave the Aggies short fields. Plus, guess who was blocking on the edge when Williams went nuts in the 4th quarter. Yep, Matt Austin.
- Linebacker U? Maybe not, but the Aggie linebackers were the difference Saturday night in Boise. Bojay Filimoeatu led the team with 10 tackles, one sack and a tackle for loss. Zach Vigil was second with eight tackles, Jack Doughty had six and Kyler Fackrell had the game-turning interception when the Rockets were in the red zone and primed to tie the game up at 13 in the 3rd quarter. Best part for Aggie fans, Doughty's a junior. Vigil is a sophomore and Fackrell is only a freshman.
- Toledo may have the best mascots ever. And when I say mascots, yes I mean plural. The Rockets have a male pilot named Rocky and the female pilot named... Rocksy. Oh how cute. Although I didn't see them hanging out a lot on the sidelines. Maybe they were having a tiff; couldn't agree on the play calling perhaps.