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2012 football season one for the record books

sports senior writer

Published: Monday, December 17, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, December 19, 2012 16:12

garytrophy

Aggie head coach Gary Andersen holds the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl trophy. Utah State defeated the Toledo Rockets 41-15 to win its first bowl game since 1993 and cap one of its best seasons on record./Delayne Locke photo


11-2.

WAC Champions.

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl Champions.

Top-25 ranking.

“It’s the best season ever in the history of Utah State football,” head coach Gary Andersen said. “And these guys have got that. It’s going to be there until someone can take it away from them.”

The records and achievements fell fast and furious this season for the Aggies. From individual records to team achievements, the 2012 squad left its mark in the record book in a legion of ways.

Most recent was senior running back Kerwynn Williams rushing for 229 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Aggies to their second ever bowl victory with a 41-15 romp of Toledo University to earn redemption.

The 229 rushing yards was the second most in Potato Bowl history, earning Williams the MVP award for the game. Williams also became the WAC’s all-time leader in all-purpose yards with 6,928 in his career.

“It was definitely big,” Williams said. “I have to thank my teammates for that.”

And while Williams stole the show in the team’s school record 11th win of the season, sophomore Chuckie Keeton also left his mark on USU history after passing for 227 yards on 21 completions. Keeton set a school record for both completions in a season with 275 and total passing yards with 3,421 yards through the air this season.

But for this year’s squad, it was about more than individual accolades. It was about the team and achieving the goals set as a squad.

“To get to 11-2, win the WAC championship and now to have a bowl game championship, they reached every single goal that they set on January 7,” Andersen said. “That doesn’t happen very often in life, that doesn’t happen very often in football. They set their goals. I don’t ask them to set goal, they do it themselves.”

This year’s team did more than that.

On top of winning a school-record 11 games, the Aggies also won the school’s first outright conference championship since 1936 and went undefeated in WAC play for the first time ever. It also marks just the second time ever the Aggies finished the season ranked in the AP poll.

The victory against Toledo was the 26th for this year’s senior class, tying the school record set by the 1962 class that won nine games in 1960 and 1961, and eight in 1962, though back then freshman weren’t eligible to play so players only had three years of eligibility.

“We talk about it all the time, let’s grow ourselves some young men into men and this should help them move through life,” Andersen said. “Whenever they get their backs up against the wall they’ll understand they can set lofty goals and have a great opportunity to reach them. They did that this year and I’m very proud of them.”

The fact that USU was one of 31 schools that had a graduation rate of 75 percent or more of its football student-athletes and the only team from the Western Athletic Conference honored attests to that.

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