The Akron Zips (7-5, 5-3 MAC) have had one of the best regular seasons in the program's division 1-A history, which dates back to 1987. The only other bowl appearance that the Zips have made since then was the Motor City Bowl in 2005, which ended in a 38-31 loss to DeAngelo Williams and the Memphis Tigers. That game came after Akron won their first ever MAC title on the same field less than a month before.
This time, Akron travels all the way to Boise, Idaho to take on the Utah State Aggies (6-6, 5-3 MWC). It will be the Aggies' third trip to Boise to play in the Potato Bowl since 2011.
After blowing out a ranked Boise State team on October 16, the banged up Aggies have gone 2-4 and one of those wins was over a Wyoming team that lost to Eastern Michigan by 19 points. Senior quarterback Chuckie Keeton has led Utah State to a lot of success over his career, but he's missed 6 games with an injury this year, and the offense hasn't truly come together.
Despite numerous college sports blogs placing this game low on their scales as far as best bowl games to watch, Akron has won four straight and has a chance to set an Akron 1-A win record with 8 and Utah State is a really good team. One team has won four in a row and the other is two of it's last six.
Players to watch
Akron QB Thomas Woodson: Akron is playing in a bowl game thanks to Woodson's explosive abilities with his arms and his legs. He's thrown for 2,034 yards and run for 544 more and the Zips have a 6-3 record since he was named the starter prior to the week four win at Louisiana.
Akron NT/FB Cody Grice: The kid from Akron has become the man for the Zips. Grice plugs the middle on defense and runs in short yardage situations on offense. He's got 12 carries for 33 yards and four touchdowns carrying the ball this season. This game will also mark his 49th career start as a Zip, starting every game since UCF came to Akron to open the 2012 season.
Utah State QB Chuckie Keeton: He hasn't played all that much, but last time he appeared in the Potato Bowl, he torched the Toledo Rockets for 229 yards through the air and 92 more on the ground. Akron's defense is playing it's best right now, so Keeton will have a huge test to bring back another bowl victory.
Utah State WR Hunter Sharp: USU's leading receiver has averaged 114 yards per game over the last three games, including 193 against Air Force. He'll most likely be matched up against cornerback DeAndre Scott of Akron, who has six interceptions on the season and is playing at his best right now.
Quick Game Info
Game time, date: Kickoff is set for 1:30 MST, 3:30 EST on Tuesday December 22.
Location: Albertsons Stadium (capacity 37,000) in Boise, Idaho
Streaming: The game can be streamed on ESPN3 and can be seen on mobile on the WatchESPN app.
Radio: The game can be heard on Fox Sports 1350 AM in Akron, which is available on iHeartRadio.
Odds: Utah State -6.5. More college football odds can be found here.