Late Fourth-Quarter Push Leads Ohio Over Utah State, 24-23, in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl Saturday
Dec. 17, 2011
BOISE, Idaho - In a season full of close finishes, the outcome at Famous Idaho Potato Bowl was no different for Utah State as Ohio University scored with 13 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter to earn a 24-23 win over the Aggies Saturday at Bronco Stadium in Boise.
After much deliberation on the two plays earlier to get to the goal line, Ohio QB Tyler Tettleton scored on a 1-yard TD run with 13 seconds left to tie the score at 23-23. The ensuing extra point from Matt Weller gave the Bobcats their first and only lead of the game. Ohio's LaVon Brazill had a catch and reached for the goal line, but was ruled down at the 1 after a lengthy review and convention of officials.
The loss was USU's fifth this season by one score or less, and was the Aggies' 10th game decided by one score this season, the most in the nation.
In the Aggies' first bowl game since 1997, senior RB Michael Smith ran for a career-high and USU bowl record 157 yards, scoring both of Utah State's rushing TDs. Junior RB Robert Turbin recorded his eighth 100-yard game of the season with 101 yards.
Utah State ends its historic season with a 7-6 record, which is its first seven-win season since 1993. The loss snaps the Aggies' five-game winning streak, and gave the Bobcats their first ever bowl win in their sixth bowl appearance, improving to 10-4.
The Aggies jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the first quarter after Tettleton fumbled in the end zone with 9:23 remaining in the first quarter.
USU expanded its lead to 9-0 later in the first quarter when junior QB Adam Kennedy connected with senior TE Tarren Lloyd for a three-yard TD pass to give the Aggies the 9-0 lead after the first quarter. The USU defense pitched its fourth first-quarter shutout this season, and second in a row.
Ohio cut that lead to 9-7 early in the second quarter when Derek Roback scored on a 26-yard pass from Tettleton with 4:40 left in the second quarter. It would be the only score of the second quarter as USU entered the locker room with a 9-7 advantage.
Smith and the Aggies wasted no time getting on the board in the third quarter when Smith broke off a 63-yard run with 12:19 remaining in the third to quarter to put USU up 16-7. It was the longest rush allowed by the highly-touted Ohio defense this season.
Less than three minutes later, the USU defense was able to hold the Bobcats to a field goal when Matt Weller drilled a 32-yard field goal to cut the Blue and White lead to 16-10.
The high-scoring third quarter continued with Smith scoring his second TD of the game with an 11-yard scamper and sophomore PK Josh Thompson booted his third PAT of the night to put USU up 23-10 with 5:51 left in the third stanza. The frenzied third-quarter scoring wasn't done as Tettleton hit Ohio's MVP Brazill with a 44-yard scoring strike to pull the Bobcats within 23-17 at the 3:45 mark of quarter number three.
Kennedy was injured late in the third quarter, and freshman QB Chuckie Keeton returned under center for the first time since Nov. 5 after starting USU's first eight games of the season but getting injured himself in the Hawai'i game. Keeton ran for a 10-yard gain on his first play, but the drive later stalled at midfield.
On USU's first drive of the fourth quarter, Kennedy returned, but the Aggies again reached midfield, but couldn't get into scoring territory. The USU defense held Ohio but Bobcat punter Paul Hershey boomed a 59-yard punt, pinning the Aggies at the USU 7. Utah State couldn't get a first down and had to punt it away to Ohio, and the Bobcats began their winning drive with 2:02 left.
The win for Ohio now evens the series record at 1-1 with Utah State earning a 5-0 win in 1994.
Fans can follow the Aggie football program at twitter.com/USUFootball or on the USU football blog at usufootball.wordpress.com. Aggie fans can also follow the Utah State athletic program at twitter.com/USUAthletics or on facebook at Utah State University Athletics.