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Aggies ready to defuse Toledo Rockets

sports senior writer

Published: Thursday, December 6, 2012

Updated: Thursday, December 6, 2012 11:12

Kerwynn Williams

RUNNING BACK KERWYNN WILLIAMS sprints past sophomore defensive end Maxx Forde during the 45-9 win over the Vandals in Romney Stadium on Nov. 24. CURTIS RIPPLINGER photo


For the second-consecutive year, the No. 18 Utah State football team will travel to Boise, Idaho, for postseason play in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. And for the second-consecutive year, the Aggies will take on a Mid-American Conference opponent from the state of Ohio.

   

Led by junior quarterback Terrance Owens, the Toledo Rockets finished with a 9-3 record overall – including an 8-game winning streak – while finishing tied for third in the MAC with a 6-2 conference record.

   

“We are excited to prepare for a quality Toledo team that had an outstanding season,” said fourth-year Utah State head coach Gary Andersen. “Our staff has great respect for Toledo head coach Matt Campbell and the Rockets team. They are very well coached and obviously very talented as they are playing in their third-straight bowl game.”

   

Offensively, Toledo matches up pretty evenly with Utah State, averaging 32.9 points per game – 1.5 points fewer than the Aggies. The Rockets also average 456 yards per game on offense, a mere three yards fewer than USU at 459.67 yards per game.

   

The Rockets snapped a two-game losing streak with a 35-23 win over MAC bottom-dweller Akron on Nov. 20, in which Owens did not play. Backup quarterback Austin Dantin threw for 327 yards in the win, connecting with freshman wide receiver Alonzo Russell for two scores.

   

On the season, Owens teamed up with Russell and junior Bernard Reedy for nearly 2,000 of his 2,677 yards passing. Junior running back David Fluellen rushed for 1,460 yards for a balanced offense that ranks in the top 50 in the country in both passing and rushing.

   

“I’ve been talking about it, I was almost positive we were going to go back there, mostly because of the fan base,” said senior wide receiver Matt Austin. “That’s one of the biggest things. If there’s one thing that I love, it’s our fan base. I feel like it’s a good opportunity for us to go back to Boise. It’s going to be even better. It’s going to be great, I’m excited, and we just need to win. That’s our goal. It’s a great bowl. We just didn’t come out on top last year.”

   

Utah State will have a clear edge on the defensive side of the ball, where their eighth-best defense in the nation limited opponents to 15.4 points per game, compared to 27.9 points per game for the Toledo defense.

   

Senior safety Will Davis spearheads a stiff USU squad, having intercepted five passes in the past five games.

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