Utah State to face Akron in Boise-based Potato Bowl

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LOGAN — Utah State will go for its fourth-straight bowl victory in a familiar place.

Not just the home turf of Mountain West rival Boise State — the first place the Aggies won to start their postseason winning streak.

Utah State accepted an invitation Sunday to play Akron in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. The game will kick off Dec. 22 at 1:30 p.m. MST at Albertsons Stadium in Boise, Idaho and be broadcast on ESPN.

The game is the 11th all-time postseason appearance for Utah State (6-6), which is coming off wins in the New Mexico Bowl in 2014, the Poinsettia Bowl in 2013 and the Potato Bowl in 2012, when it defeated Toledo 41-15.

"It says something about the consistency of your program," Utah State coach Matt Wells told KSL. "The strength of your program is being rewarded with a bowl game at the end of the year. We've got a chance to do something body at Utah State has ever done, and that's win four-straight bowl games."

The Aggies are one of four FBS teams to win at least 30 games and three bowl games in the past three years, alongside Clemson, Michigan State and Oregon. The five-straight bowl appearances is a Utah State record, and a win over the Zips would increase the Aggies' school-record three-bowl game win streak to four.

Utah State head coach Matt Wells talks with players in Logan, Nov. 28, 2015. (Photo: Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)
Utah State head coach Matt Wells talks with players in Logan, Nov. 28, 2015. (Photo: Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

Akron (7-5) is 0-1 all-time in bowl games, losing to Memphis 38-31 in the 2005 Motor City Bowl. The Aggies are 9-2 all-time against MAC teams, and the Potato Bowl matchup will be their fifth all-time appearance against a MAC school in the postseason.

The Mountain West has won both matches in the Potato Bowl since being named a partner following the 2012 season, when the Western Athletic Conference dropped football. The MAC hasn't won in this particular bowl game since Ohio's 24-23 win over then-WAC affiliate Utah State in 2011.

"We are excited to prepare for a quality Akron team that had an outstanding season," Wells added in a statement from the school. "Our staff has great respect for Akron head coach Terry Bowden and the Zips team with the success they had this season."

Contributing: Rod Zundel

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