UTAH STATE AGGIES

Utah State Hopes Potato Bowl Momentum Snowballs Into 2024 Success

Dec 23, 2023, 7:39 AM | Updated: 7:40 am

BOISE, Idaho – All season long, the 2023 Utah State Aggies have been a team that continues to pick itself up off the mat and stay in the fight. Injuries, turnovers, and just plain bad luck haven’t deterred a group that is a few hours away from its third straight bowl appearance.

Utah State could have easily folded when a stifling Air Force defense forced Blake Anderson’s hand on a QB change in an 18-point week three loss. USU could have played for overtime after a last-second UConn touchdown left the Huskies an extra point shy of OT in week four. Players could have shifted their gaze toward greener pastures after back-to-back losses to Fresno State and San Jose State left the Aggies at 3-5.

“Those that have followed our program know where we were this time a year ago,” third-year head coach Blake Anderson said. “A year later, a ton of guys stepping up and saying we’re staying put and fighting together.

RELATED: How To Watch USU Vs. Georgia State In FIPB

“To be able to rally back, get the team going over the second half of the season for us was a different challenge. We struggled early. We could have very easily given up several times throughout the year. These guys just wouldn’t let it happen. To be honest with you, the locker room never gave up, never gave in. We kept working.”

RELATED: USU’s Potato Bowl Depth Chart

The Aggies kept battling as injuries took their toll, showing toughness as they battled through multiple double-digit first-half deficits. It took an all-hands-on-deck mentality for USU to turn the season around.

“It was just hard work for us,” senior linebacker MJ Tafisi Jr. 24 hours before kickoff. “The biggest thing was putting trust in each other. It means so much for us to be in a bowl. I feel like we worked hard. I felt like we deserved it”

With the regular season now behind them and the Georgia State Panthers in front, Anderson hopes his team can use this opportunity to springboard into 2024.

“The energy it presents. The momentum it creates in recruiting. The guys that are coming back, which is most of our team, a very young team… I think the momentum that would carry over to January would be huge both in recruiting but also in the off-season.”

“These guys are about to move on and do a lot of different things in their life. I want to make sure we get one good, solid opportunity to appreciate each other in that locker room. It will never be the same after Saturday’s game,” Anderson finished.

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USU (6-6, 4-4) faces the Georgia State Panthers (6-6, 3-5) in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. Kickoff is at 1:30 p.m. (MT) on Saturday, December 23.

Find USU football on KSL Sports Zone with the voices of Scott Garrard and former Aggie quarterback Kevin White (1988-89).

Find KSL Sports coverage of Utah State University Athletics here. 

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Utah State Hopes Potato Bowl Momentum Snowballs Into 2024 Success