Famous Idaho Potato Bowl Keys

December, 16, 2011
12/16/11
2:30
PM ET
You've seen the prediction. Now it's time to look at the keys for Ohio and Utah State in Saturday's Famous Idaho Potato Bowl in Boise, Idaho.

Ohio (9-4)

1. Stop the run. Utah State boasts the nation's No. 6 rushing attack. Linebacker Noah Keller has shown a nose for the ball all season long, specifically with a monster performance in the MAC title game (13 tackles, 0.5 sacks, forced fumble, fumble recovery, interception). A repeat performance here would be bad news for the Aggies.

2. Find LaVon Brazill. Running with so many different players out of the backfield helps when you have a 1,000-yard receiver, which Ohio did this season for the first time in school history. Brazill, the school's all-time leading receiver (2,403 yards), lines up everywhere and can create problems for a Utah State defense that will already have its hands full trying to defend the pistol formation.

3. Leave the past behind. Bowl games often come down to which team is more interested in being there. Ohio led 20-0 at halftime of the MAC title game and was 30 minutes from its first conference title in 43 years before falling to Northern Illinois. The Bobcats must put the bitterness of that defeat behind and not get caught off-guard Saturday by the Aggies.

Utah State (7-5)

1. Be gap-disciplined. Ohio runs its offense out of the pistol formation and has multiple rushing threats, particularly quarterback Tyler Tettleton and Donte Harden. The Aggies and their 3-4 front must stick to their assignments or the Bobcats will make them pay on the ground.

2. Watch Travis Carrie. The junior cornerback is a playmaker, accounting for three plays of 34 or more yards this season. He has four interceptions for 81 yards, is tied for 18th in the nation in passes defended (1.23 per game) and has a punt return for a touchdown.

3. Embrace the opportunity. A 2-5 start and three unimaginable losses early gave way to a five-game winning streak to end the regular season, with Utah State winning each game by seven points or less. The Aggies have finally developed a knack for pulling out tight games and are making their first postseason appearance in 14 years, something that can't be overlooked.

Matt Fortuna | email

College Football

SPONSORED HEADLINES

Comments

You must be signed in to post a comment

Already have an account?