Three things to watch in today’s Famous Idaho Potato Bowl between Toledo and Utah State:
1. Offense vs. defense: Which is better -- an explosive offense or a stifling defense? Toledo comes in averaging 456.1 yards and 32.9 points per game. The Rockets have playmakers at running back and receiver, and their offensive line was one of the best in the Mid-American Conference this season. That matchup with Utah’s front seven on defense will be one to watch. The Aggies rank 15th nationally in total defense, allowing 322.7 yards per game, and were especially stingy in the red zone. They’re fourth nationally in red zone defense and allowed just 13 touchdowns in 39 trips by opponents inside their 20-yard line.
2. Ball hawking: Utah State cornerback Will Davis is one of the best stories in college football. He enters the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl having intercepted a pass in five straight games and will be critical in helping to shut down Toledo’s big-play receiver, Bernard Reedy. Davis started his career at Division II Western Washington and played only one year of high school football. He’s been invited to play in the Senior Bowl. His ability to lock down one side of the field and play man coverage provides the Aggies with a lot of flexibility on defense. Davis leads the country with 21 passes defended.
3. Running to glory: Both teams have running backs capable of dictating the flow of the game, so it might be a race to see who can get their guy going the quickest. Toledo’s David Fluellen is the centerpiece of the Rockets’ offense. He has rushed for 1,460 yards this season and hit the 200-yard mark in three games. He missed the last game, against Akron, with an ankle injury, but should be rested and healthy for this game. His Utah State counterpart, Kerwynn Williams, is 11th nationally in all-purpose yardage (163 yards per game). He has rushed for 1,277 yards and 12 touchdowns and leads the team with 43 catches for 663 yards and five touchdowns. Williams has five touchdowns of 50 yards or longer this season.