Athletics

Utah State Football Will Play Kent State in 2019 Tropical Smoothie Café Frisco Bowl

By Utah State Athletics |

Utah State football will face Kent State in the third-annual Tropical Smoothie Café Frisco Bowl on Friday, Dec. 20, at 5:30 p.m. (MT), at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas, it was announced Sunday. The game will be televised live on ESPN2 (Xfinity Ch. 36/669HD, DISH Ch. 143, DirecTV Ch. 129).

Utah State and Kent State will be meeting for the third time in series history with each team winning on the road in the previous two outings as Kent State posted a 27-16 road win in 1973, while USU notched a 27-24 road win in 1974. 

For Utah State, this will be its eighth bowl game in the past nine seasons and its 14th in program history as the Aggies are 5-8 all-time in bowl games.

Utah State 2-3 against current members of the Mid-American Conference in bowl games and its six matchups against teams from the MAC are the most against any league. In 1993, USU posted a 42-33 win against Ball State in the Las Vegas Bowl II. In 2011, USU lost to Ohio in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, 24-23. In 2012, USU notched a 41-15 win over Toledo in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. In 2013, USU defeated No. 24 Northern Illinois, 21-14, in the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl. And in 2015, USU lost to Akron in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, 23-21.

All-time, this will be Utah State's 14th bowl appearance in program history as it played in the 1946 Raisin Bowl, the 1947 Grape Bowl, the 1960 Sun Bowl, the 1961 Gotham Bowl, the 1993 Las Vegas Bowl, the 1997 Humanitarian Bowl, the 2011 and 2012 Famous Idaho Potato Bowls, the 2013 San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl, the 2014 Gildan New Mexico Bowl, the 2015 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, the 2017 NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl and the 2018 New Mexico Bowl.

Kent State is 6-6 on the season and finished tied for second in the East Division of the Mid-American Conference with a 5-3 record. The Golden Flashes enter the bowl game on a three-game winning streak. There is no common opponent between Utah State and Kent State this season.

This will be Kent State's first bowl game since the 2012 GoDaddy.com Bowl, where it lost to Arkansas State, 17-13. All-time, KSU is 0-3 in bowl games.

Utah State is 7-5 on the season and finished in third place in the Mountain Division of the Mountain West with a 6-2 league record following its 38-25 road win at New Mexico in its regular-season finale.

Offensively, USU is led by junior QB Jordan Love, who is 263-of-434 (.606) passing for 3,085 yards (257.1 ypg) with 17 touchdowns and 16 interceptions. Senior RB Gerold Bright leads the team in rushing with 827 yards on 161 carries (5.1 ypc/68.9 ypg) with eight touchdowns, and senior graduate transfer WR Siaosi Mariner has a team-best 56 receptions for 874 yards (15.6 ypr/72.8 ypg) and eight touchdowns.

Defensively, junior LB David Woodward leads the team with 93 tackles, which includes 5.0 tackles for loss, while junior S Troy Lefeged Jr. has 90 tackles, which includes 5.5 tackles for loss. As a team, USU is averaging 28.2 points and 425.1 yards of total offense (275.9 passing, 149.2 rushing), and allowing 29.0 points and 431.4 yards (233.7 passing, 197.8 rushing).

Utah State has won at least seven games six times in the past nine years and 26 times in school history. USU also finished Mountain West play with a 6-2 record, marking the fourth time in its seven years in the league that it has won at least six league games, joining the 2013 (7-1), 2014 (6-2) and 2018 (7-1) teams. Overall, it is just the sixth time in school history that USU has won six conference games, joining the 1936 (6-0), 2012 (6-0), 2013 (7-1), 2014 (6-2) and 2018 (7-1) teams.

Utah State ranks among the top-40 teams in the nation in 14 statistical categories, including second in special teams touchdowns with three (two kickoff returns, one punt return), eighth in fumbles recovered with 12 (0.9 per game) and 12th in turnovers forced with 23 (1.92 per game). USU is also 15th in the nation in tackles for loss allowed with 56 (4.67 per game), 16th in three-and-outs forced (4.25 per game), 20th in punt returns (12.6 yards per return), 23rd in kickoff returns (23.5 yards per return), 30th with two defensive touchdowns, 31st in fumbles lost with six, 31st in passes intercepted with 11, 32nd in passing offense (275.9  yards per game), and 36th in fewest penalty yards per game (48.3) and sacks allowed with 19 (1.58 per game).   

Utah State had 10 football players earn various all-Mountain West accolades, including senior PK Dominik Eberle, junior KR Savon Scarver and junior LB David Woodward, who all garnered first-team honors. USU also had two players earn second-team all-MW accolades in senior DE Tipa Galeai and Mariner, while five Aggies garnered honorable mention honors in Bright, senior graduate transfer TE Caleb Repp, senior DT Christopher Unga, junior S Shaq Bond and Love.

Eberle was also named an honorable mention All-American by ProFootballFocus (PFF) and won the Mountain West Special Teams Player of the Week honor three times this season. Furthermore, Scarver and Woodward were each named the Mountain West Player of the Week once this season, as was junior LB Eric Munoz.

Tickets for the Tropical Smoothie Café Frisco Bowl will go on sale Monday, Dec. 9, and are available by contacting the USU Ticket Office at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum, or by phone by calling 1-888-USTATE-1 or (435) 797-0305. Tickets can also be purchased 24 hours a day at www.UtahStateAggies.com

Fans can follow the Aggie football program at twitter.com/USUFootball or on facebook at Utah State Football, as well as on instagram at instagram.com/USUFootball. Aggie fans can also follow the Utah State athletic program at twitter.com/USUAthletics, on facebook at Utah State University Athletics or on instagram at instagram.com/USUAthletics.

Utah State Football Bowl History (5-8)
1946 Raisin Bowl vs. San Jose State – L, 0-20 (Fresno, Calif.)
1947 Grape Bowl vs. Pacific – L, 21-35 (Lodi, Calif.)
1960 Sun Bowl vs. New Mexico State – L, 13-20 (El Paso, Texas)
1961 Gotham Bowl vs. Baylor – L, 9-24 (New York City)
1993 Las Vegas Bowl vs. Ball State – W, 42-33 (Las Vegas, Nev.)
1997 Humanitarian Bowl vs. Cincinnati – L, 19-35 (Boise, Idaho)
2011 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl vs. Ohio – L, 23-24 (Boise, Idaho)
2012 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl vs. Toledo – W, 41-15 (Boise, Idaho)
2013 SDCCU Poinsettia Bowl vs. No. 24 Northern Illinois – W, 21-14 (San Diego, Calif.)
2014 Gildan New Mexico Bowl vs. UTEP – W, 21-6 (Albuquerque, N.M.)
2015 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl vs. Akron – L, 21-23 (Boise, Idaho)
2017 NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl vs. New Mexico State – L, 20-26, OT (Tucson, Ariz.)
2018 New Mexico Bowl vs. North Texas – W, 52-13 (Albuquerque, N.M.)

Utah State vs. Mid-American Conference (9-3)
Akron – 0-1 (Last Meeting, 2015)
Ball State – 1-0 (Last Meeting, 1993)
Bowling Green – 2-0 (Last Meeting, 1970)
Kent State – 1-1 (Last Meeting, 1974)
Northern Illinois – 2-0 (Last Meeting, 2013)
Ohio – 1-1 (Last Meeting, 2011)
Toledo – 1-0 (Last Meeting, 2012)
Western Michigan – 1-0 (Last Meeting, 1961)
(Have not played: Buffalo, Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan, Miami (Ohio))

Tropical Smoothie Café Frisco Bowl History
Dec. 20, 2017 – Louisiana Tech (Conference USA) 51, SMU (American Athletic) 10
Dec. 19, 2018 – Ohio (Mid-American) 27, San Diego State (Mountain West) 0

WRITER

Utah State Athletics
doug.hoffman@usu.edu

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