Akron has its first bowl win.
The Zips beat Utah State 23-21 in Tuesday's Famous Idaho Potato Bowl in just the program's second bowl appearance since becoming an FBS team in 1987. It's also the first time an Akron team has won eight games since 1985.
Akron's defense controlled most of the game, especially the first half. But Utah State took the lead with the first drive of the second half and cut Akron's 23-14 lead to 23-21 with 1:12 left when quarterbackChuckie Keeton drove the Aggies down the field for a touchdown with 1:12 left.
With two timeouts remaining, Utah State had to onside kick and the Zips recovered. USU did get one more shot for a Central-Michigan-in-the-Bahamas-Bowl-like miracle play with six seconds left, but Akron snuffed out the play after the third lateral to seal the win.
After Utah State scored to open the second half, Akron responded with a misdirection touchdown run by Donnell Alexander to make in 20-14. A field goal with 6:38 left made it a two-score game and put the game ultimately out of reach.
Keeton, making his final appearance for Utah State after an injury-riddled career, split time with sophomore Kent Myers. Keeton finished the game 14-25 passing for 109 yards and a touchdown and an interception while Myers – the better quarterback over the course of the 2015 season statistically – finished 14-20 passing for 123 yards and two scores.
Oh, and this Utah State fan gave us this wonderful GIF.
The Potato Bowl summed up in one GIF for all eternity: pic.twitter.com/SoFYOakl4e
— Dr. Saturday (@YahooDrSaturday) December 22, 2015
Akron, 8-5, was making its first bowl appearance since the 2005 Motor City Bowl. The Zips lost that game 38-31 to a Memphis team led by Pittsburgh Steelers running back DeAngelo Williams.
It was also Akron coach Terry Bowden's first bowl win since the 1998 Peach Bowl, when his Auburn Tigers capped a 10-3 season with a win over Clemson.
Bowden, who came to Akron after three seasons at North Alabama, was 1-11 in 2012 with the Zips. Akron was 5-7 in both 2013 and 2014 and the 8-5 mark is the team's first winning record since that 2005 season.
- - - - - - -