2015 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl
Akron Zips vs Utah State Aggies
Albertson’s Stadium – Boise, Idaho
Tuesday, December 22, 2015, 3:30 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN
Opening Line: Utah State -6
Current Line: Utah State -7 1/2
Opening Total: 50
Current Total: 46
Opening Money Line: Utah State -300 / Akron +240
Current Money Line: Utah State -315 / Akron +255
The 7-5 Akron Zips take on the 6-6 Utah State Aggies in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl Tuesday afternoon in Boise. This is the first ever meeting between the schools.
Akron went 5-3 in the MAC East and tied for second with Ohio behind 7-1 Bowling Green. The Zips are playing in only their second bowl game all-time after losing to Memphis in the 2005 Motor City Bowl.
Utah State was part of a four way tie for second at 5-3 in the Mountain West Mountain Division behind 6-2 Air Force. The Aggies are 4-6 all-time in bowl games, including 1-2 in this bowl game. Utah State is playing in a bowl for the fifth straight season, and has won 3 straight bowl games. Last year, the Aggies beat UTEP 21-6 in the New Mexico Bowl.
Akron is coached by Terry Bowden. The Zips have road losses at Oklahoma 41-3 and Bowling Green 59-10, plus home losses to Pittsburgh 24-7, Ohio 14-12, and Central Michigan 14-6. Akron has home wins over Savannah State 52-9, Buffalo 42-21 and Kent State 20-0 in the regular season finale, plus road wins at UL-Lafayette 35-14, Eastern Michigan 47-21, Massachusetts 17-13 and Miami-(OH) 37-28. The Zips have won 4 straight games.
Akron was a 10.5 point favorite against Kent State and the total was 38. The Zips took a 14-0 lead into halftime, and added two second half field goals to complete the shutout. The Golden Flashes had only 135 total yards and 7 first downs. Kent State also had three turnovers. Akron is 7-5 ATS and the total is 5-7 this season.
Utah State is coached by Matt Wells. The Aggies have road losses at Utah 24-14, Washington 31-17, San Diego State 48-14, New Mexico 14-13, and Air Force 35-28, plus a home loss to BYU 51-28 in the regular season finale. Utah State has lost three of their last four games. The Aggies have home wins over Southern Utah 12-9, Colorado State 33-18, Boise State 52-26, Wyoming 58-27 and Nevada 31-27, plus a road win at Fresno State 56-14.
Utah State was a three point underdog against BYU and the total was 51. The Aggies led 21-10 with 3 minutes left in the second quarter. However, BYU scored 28 straight points to take control of the game. The Cougars would cruise to a 51-28 win. Utah State is 5-7 ATS and the total is 9-3 this season.
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Akron is outscoring teams 24-22 this season. The Zips are #27 in points allowed but #100 in scoring out of 128 teams. Akron averages 365 yards per game on offense including 194 passing and 171 rushing. The Zips are #97 in total offense and #98 in passing. On defense, Akron allows 329 yards per game including 239 passing and 90 rushing yards. The Zips are #3 in rush defense and #16 in total defense nationally. Akron has forced 24 turnovers and has 17 of their own. The Zips are 75/197 on third and fourth down conversions. Akron has forced 28 sacks this season. The Zips average 68 penalty yards per game. Akron is 32/43 scoring in the red zone with 22 touchdowns.
Quarterback Thomas Woodson took over for an injured Kyle Pohl early in the season. Woodson has thrown for 2,034 yards with 16 touchdowns and 10 interceptions, along with 119 carries for 544 yards and 3 touchdowns. He has taken all but 3 snaps in the last 9 games. Tra’Von Chapman has thrown for 157 yards with a touchdown and an interception, and has 38 rushing yards. Pohl has thrown for 135 yards.
Running back Conor Hundley has 188 carries for 883 yards with 10 touchdowns, along with 7 catches for 70 yards. Donnell Alexander has 98 carries for 476 yards and 2 touchdowns. Cody Grice has only 19 carries but does have four rushing touchdowns. Little used running back D.J. Jones is questionable for undisclosed reasons.
Receiver Jerome Lane has 35 catches for 750 yards with 8 touchdowns. Imani Davis had 46 catches for 593 yards and 3 touchdowns. Austin Wolf has 10 catches for 212 yards and 2 touchdowns. Andrew Pratt has 19 catches for 186 yards and a touchdown. Tyrell Goodman and A.J. Coney will also get some catches.
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Utah State is outscoring teams 30-27 this season. The Aggies average 371 total yards per game on offense including 203 passing and 168 rushing yards. Utah State is #91 in total offense and #88 in passing. On defense, the Aggies allow 337 yards per game including 180 passing and 156 rushing yards. The Aggies are #22 in total defense and #14 in pass defense nationally. Utah State has forced 21 turnovers and has 21 of their own. The Aggies average 59 penalty yards per game and opponents average 52. Utah State is 72/191 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 73/203. The Aggies have forced 26 sacks and have allowed 16. Utah State is 28/39 scoring in the red zone with 21 touchdowns and opponents are 34/39 with 28 touchdowns. The Aggies have 6 defensive and special teams touchdowns.
Quarterbacks Kent Myers and Chuckie Keeton have split the snaps this season. Both ahve missed some games due to injury. Myers has thrown for 1,470 yards with 14 touchdowns and 3 interceptions, and has 76 carries for 348 yards with 3 touchdowns. He is probable with a shoulder injury after missing the BYU game. Keeton has thrown for 892 yards with 3 touchdowns and 6 interceptions, and also has 47 carries for 182 yards and a touchdown. Despite missing numerous games during his career due to injury, Keeton is the Utah State career leader in touchdown passes. Damion Hobbs has also taken a few snaps. Her has 73 passing yards with a touchdown, along with 20 carries for 110 yards and a touchdown.
Running back Davante Mays has 153 carries for 842 yards with 9 touchdowns. LaJuan Hunt has 102 carries for 331 yards and 5 touchdowns, along with 24 catches for 225 yards and a touchdown.
Receiver Hunter Sharp has 60 catches for 746 yards with 8 touchdowns. Devonte Robinson has 20 catches for 326 yards and 2 touchdowns. Andrew Rodriguez has 24 catches for 267 yards and a touchdown. Wyatt Houston has 21 catches for 266 yards and 3 touchdowns. Brandon Swindall and Braelon Roberts will also get some catches.
Akron is 5-0 ATS after allowing less than 100 rushing yards, and after allowing less than 20 points, 4-0 overall, on fieldturf, and after allowing less than 275 total yards. 5-1 after a straight up win, after a cover, and after rushing for 200 yards or more, 2-5 in non-conference games, and 7-20 after passing for less than 170 yards.
Utah State is 5-1 ATS after allowing less than 100 rushing yards, 16-5 after allowing more than 40 points, 7-3 after failing to cover, 3-7 in non-conference games, 0-4 against teams with a winning record and overall.
Both of these teams struggle on offense but have very good defenses. Couple that with 1-3 inches of snow expected in Boise during the game, and this looks like a low scoring game. This is almost a home game for Utah State as Boise is only 300 miles from their campus in Logan. I like the Aggies to win a close game.