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Utah State 41, Toledo 15

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BOISE, Idaho -- Utah State capped a historic season Saturday at Bronco Stadium with its first bowl victory in 19 years.

The No. 18 Aggies beat Toledo 41-15 -- pulling away on star running back Kerwynn Williams' 63-yard touchdown run with 6:57 left in the game.

Williams had been bottled up much of the game and moments earlier had committed a key fumble that allowed Toledo to pull to 13-9.

The Aggies finished 11-2 -- a school-record win total. They won their first outright conference

title since 1936 and cracked the polls for the first time since 1978. They will finish in the Top

25 for the first time since 1961.

Toledo got off to a strong start against a Utah State team that has dominated the first quarter

this season. The Aggies had outscored opponents 131-6 in the first quarter, allowing just two field

goals.

The Rockets grabbed some quick momentum with a flea flicker on their first play -- a 36-yard

completion from quarterback Austin Dantin to wide receiver Bernard Reedy. That set up a 36-yard field goal by Jeremiah Detmer for a 3-0 lead.

Utah State took the lead with an 85-yard touchdown drive on its second possession of the game. Quarterback Chuckie Keeton faked a handoff up the middle and ran the option to the right. He froze the defense with a fake pitch and darted down the right sideline. Just as it looked

like he might go out of bounds at the 5-yard line, he jumped into the end zone. It was a 62-yard

run.

The Aggies missed a chance to build on their lead early in the second quarter. They ran a fake

field goal attempt and kicker Nick Diaz was stopped short of the first down.

Toledo capitalized on the momentum swing with a 49-yard drive keyed by a 29-yard pass from

Dantin to wide receiver Alonzo Russell. That set up another 37-yard field goal by Detmer to make it 7-6.

The Aggies expanded their lead at the end of the first half. They got the ball on their own 6

with 1:39 left in the half. Williams gained 6, 5 and 15 yards on consecutive plays to provide some

breathing room and Keeton fired a 40-yard strike to Chuck Jacobs on a post route. Keeton

tossed a 20-yard pass to Matt Austin on the next play, setting up first-and-goal at the 8 with five

seconds left.

Diaz kicked a 27-yard field goal on the last play of the half for a 10-6 lead.

Diaz added a 44-yard field goal on the first drive of the second half for a 13-6 lead. Austin's

34-yard catch sparked the drive.

Toledo had a chance to tie the score midway through the third quarter, but Dantin's pass over

the middle was tipped by linebacker Jake Doughty and intercepted by linebacker Kyler Fackrell.

The Rockets drove deep into Aggies territory again in the fourth quarter, led by junior

quarterback Terrance Owens. Owens, the regular starter, missed the regular-season finale with an ankle injury and didn't play in the first three quarters of the bowl game. But on fourth-and-1 at

the Utah State 9, the Aggies stuffed Owens on a draw.

Toledo got the ball right back on the next play when linebacker Robert Bell stripped Williams

and safety Jermaine Robinson recovered the fumble at the Utah State 29. The Rockets settled for another Detmer field goal, from 29 yards. That made it 13-9 with 7:28 left in the game.

NOTES: Dantin started at quarterback for the second straight game. Junior Terrance Owens missed the regular-season finale with an ankle injury but was healthy enough to play in the bowl. Owens entered in the fourth quarter. ... Toledo linebacker Dan Molls, the nation's leading tackler, did not start after suffering a concussion on the opening kickoff. ... Detmer's first-quarter field

goal was his school-record 22nd of the season. ... The Rockets also lost star running back David

Fluellen in the first quarter when he aggravated an ankle injury that kept him out of the regular-

season finale. ... The attendance of 29,243 was the highest in the bowl's 16-year history for

a game not involving Boise State.
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