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LOGAN — Utah State will bowl in the Lone Star State.
The 6-6 Aggies will face Memphis in the First Responders Bowl in Dallas on Dec. 27 on ESPN. It's the 16th bowl appearance in program history for the Aggies, and the 10th bowl game in 12 seasons.
The bowl game, at Gerald J. Ford stadium on the campus of SMU, will cap off what's been a whirlwind season for Utah State. After opening the year 1-4, including a blowout loss to FCS Weber State, the Aggies rallied and won five of the next six games to reach bowl eligibility.
"We're excited to get the news to be going to Dallas and spending Christmas there," head coach Blake Anderson said. "Love the matchup with Memphis — really good football team, familiar with those guys."
The destination is exciting for the Aggies, with 12 members on the roster and multiple coaches from Texas, including Anderson, Calvin Tyler Jr., and Logan Bonner.
"Ton of guys on our roster and our staff from Texas," Anderson said. "So the opportunity to go back to the metroplex, where we recruit as well, there's just a lot of positives about this game.
"The opportunity to have a ton of your family just get in the car and drive up to the Metroplex, and a lot of these guys are actually from that area as well, it's just a super cool feeling to be able to go home and finish up the season."
The Frisco Bowl, which kicks off on Dec. 18 would have been the preferred destination for the program in terms of giving players an extended break before returning to school in January. That game went to Boise State, who will face North Texas. A post-Christmas game, however, provides an extra week for the coaching staff to focus on recruiting.
Memphis, which hails from the ACC, finished 6-6, with four of its six losses coming by a possession or less. Led by quarterback Seth Heginan, who passed for 3,287 yards and 19 touchdowns during the regular season, the Tigers open as a 13-point favorite against the Aggies.
"I would expect us to be an underdog, right where we're comfortable being," Anderson said. "7-6 would feel much better for the group than 6-6, and obviously much better than 6-7."