Published: Wednesday, December 5, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, December 5, 2012 03:12
Bob Taylor / IC
Junior running back David Fluellen missed Toledo’s regular season finale against Akron, but says he will be back against No. 22 Utah State in the Potato Bowl Dec. 15.
The University of Toledo will take on No. 22 Utah State in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, as announced Sunday.
The Rockets (9-3, 8-2 MAC) will be returning to the blue turf of Bronco Stadium where they were defeated by the Boise State two years ago.
This is the third-straight year Toledo has gone to a bowl game and they are one of seven Mid-American Conference teams to receive a bowl invite.
“I think the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl will provide our student-athletes with an outstanding bowl experience, as well as the opportunity to play against a very tough Utah State team,” said UT head coach Matt Campbell. “Playing in [this game] is an excellent reward for our players, coaches and everyone involved in our team’s success.”
Utah State (10-2) ranks 37th nationally in passing yards (268 ypg), 37th in rushing yards (191.7 ypg) and 36th in points for (34.4 ppg). The Aggies also earned their first 10-win season in the history of the program and their first WAC title in eight years.
The Rockets started conference play red hot but cooled down late in the season with back-to-back losses to MAC champion and No. 15 Northern Illinois and MAC West runner up Ball State. Toledo ranks 44th in passing yards (258.6 ypg), 34th in rushing yards (1975.5 ypg) and 39th in points for (32.9 ppg).
The biggest challenge for UT could be the Aggie defense, which ranks eighth in points against (15.4 ppg). The Rockets have made a habit of winning shootouts, but with a defense that ranks 59th in points against (27.3 ppg) they may be in trouble if they fall behind early. Players like senior linebacker Dan Molls and senior safety Jermaine Robinson will be critical in keeping Utah State out of the end zone.
“It’s going to be a great matchup for us,” Molls said. “They may have some talented players but so do we and it’s going to be a good game.”
Robinson noted that the Aggies feature a talented running back in Kerwynn Williams. The man handing the ball off to him — quarterback Chuckie Keaton — isn’t bad either, throwing for over 3,000 yards and running for more than 500 more.
“They have a good running back that has over 1,200 yards and an athletic quarterback,” he said. “Those two put together with their defense makes it a great challenge, but we’re going to do what we have to do to win this game. It’s going to be a great game out in Boise.”
The Rockets also feature a 1,000-yard rusher in junior running back David Fluellen, who racked up 1,460 yards and 13 touchdowns before missing the final game of the season with a high ankle sprain. The first team All-MAC tailback is expected to play in the bowl game.
“It should be fun,” Fluellen said. “It’s a great environment out there and they have great facilities. We’re excited and ready to get the game plan together to see what we can come up with.”
Kickoff for the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl is set for Saturday, Dec. 15 at 4:30 p.m. EST on ESPN.