Akron (7-5) vs. Utah State (6-6), 3:30 p.m. (ESPN)
Line: Utah State by 6 1/2.
Series record: First meeting.
WHAT’S AT STAKE
Utah State goes for its fourth straight bowl victory and a fifth straight season with a winning record. It would be the longest streak of winning seasons since the early 1970s. Akron has appeared in one bowl game, in 2005, when the Zips lost to Memphis in the Motor City Bowl.
Utah State’s run game vs. Akron’s run defense. The Zips were third in the country at stopping the run, giving up 89.8 yards per game. Utah State’s run game wasn’t overpowering, but did average nearly 170 yards per game. The Aggies rushed for more than 175 yards as a team in five of their six victories.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Akron: LB Jatavis Brown. Brown was the MAC defensive player of the year after finishing the year with 108 tackles, 17 ½ tackles for loss, 10 ½ sacks and three forced fumbles. The 10 ½ sacks are a school record.
Utah State: QB Chuckie Keeton. After an injury-plagued career, Keeton is expected to make his final start for the Aggies. Keeton is one of two FBS quarterbacks to start five season openers in his career. He’s Utah State’s all-time leader in touchdown passes.
FACTS & FIGURES
Akron closed with four straight wins. … Utah State will make its fourth appearance in the bowl game held on Boise State’s blue field. Aggies are 1-2 in their previous appearances. … Akron coach Terry Bowden coaching in bowl game for the first time since 1997 with Auburn. … Utah State offensive coordinator Josh Heupel has been hired as the new offensive coordinator at Missouri.
AP college football website: collegefootball.ap.org