Eight Of Utah State's 2008 Opponents Going To Bowl Game
Dec. 7, 2008
LOGAN, Utah - A total of eight of Utah State's 2008 opponents are going to a bowl game as the bowl selections were announced Sunday night. The list includes five Western Athletic Conference teams in addition to three non-conference foes, including Utah who was selected to a Bowl Championship Series (BCS) game and will be playing in Sugar Bowl.
New Utah State head coach Gary Andersen, who was Utah's defensive coordinator, will coach the Utes in the Sugar Bowl, but will handle defensive line duties instead of coordinating.
The eight teams tops the seven opponents from last season, as only four WAC teams plus three of the Aggies' non-conference foes were selected.
The WAC tied a conference record by having five teams selected to a bowl game, last happening in 1992. There were six bowl eligible teams and only San Jose State did not get selected, while Boise State, Fresno State, Hawai'i, Louisiana Tech and Nevada were all selected for postseason play.
The bowl schedule opens on Saturday, Dec. 20 with Fresno State (7-5, 4-4 WAC) taking on Colorado State (6-6, 4-4 MWC) in the New Mexico Bowl at Albuquerque, N.M. Fresno State edged Utah State, 30-28, on Oct. 25 at Logan on a game-winning 58-yard field goal as time expired.
WAC champion Boise State will be playing No. 11 TCU (10-2, 7-1 MWC) in the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl on Tuesday, Dec. 23. The Broncos, who are ranked No. 9 nationally and defeated Utah State, 49-14 on Nov. 8 at Boise, Idaho, are just one of two undefeated teams left in the country at 12-0, joining Utah. Boise State was 8-0 in WAC action, winning its fifth WAC title in six years.
Hawai'i will remain at home and play in the Sheraton Hawai'i Bowl on Wednesday, Dec. 24, taking on Notre Dame (6-6). Hawai'i had a 7-5 overall and 5-3 WAC ledger. Utah State beat the Warriors, 30-14, on Nov. 1 at Logan, one of USU's three wins on the season.
Louisiana Tech will square off with Northern Illinois (6-6, 5-3 MAC) in the Independence Bowl on Sunday, Dec. 28 at Shreveport, La. The Bulldogs posted a 7-5 overall and 5-3 WAC mark. La Tech beat the Aggies in a thrilling 45-38 contest on Nov. 15 at Ruston, La.
Nevada will play Maryland (7-5, 4-4 ACC) in the Roady's Humanitarian Bowl on Tuesday, Dec. 30 at Boise, Idaho. The Wolf Pack also posted a 7-5 overall and 5-3 WAC record. Utah State lost to Nevada, 44-17, on Oct. 18 at Reno, Nev.
Three of Utah State's non-conference opponents also will be playing in bowl games, as Utah, BYU and Oregon will be in action.
Utah, ranked No. 7 and the other 12-0 team in the country with Boise State, will be facing No. 4 Alabama (12-1, 8-0 SEC) in the Allstate Sugar Bowl on Friday, Jan. 2. The Utes beat the Aggies, 58-10, on Sept. 6 at Logan.
No. 17 BYU (10-2, 6-2 MWC) will be playing in the Pioneer Las Vegas Bowl, taking on Arizona (7-5, 5-4 PAC-10) on Saturday, Dec. 20. BYU topped Utah State, 34-14, on Oct. 3 at Logan.
Fifteenth-ranked Oregon (9-3, 7-2 PAC-10) will be facing No. 13 Oklahoma State (9-3, 5-3 Big XII) on Tuesday, Dec. 30 in the Pacific Life Holiday Bowl at San Diego, Calif. Oregon beat Utah State, 66-24, at Eugene, Ore., on Sept. 6
WAC regular season champion, Boise State, is one of just two undefeated teams left in the country and is ranked ninth nationally. The Broncos will face No. 11 TCU on Dec. 23 in the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl.
Utah State finished the season with a 3-9 overall and 3-5 WAC record, marking the first time since 2005 that the Aggies have three wins in a season. USU won three WAC games in a season for the first time in the Aggies' four seasons in the league. It is also the first time since 2003 that USU won three conference games and just the third time in the 2000's.