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Utah State Aggies to play Kent State Golden Flashes in Frisco Bowl

The Aggies and Golden Flashes will meet Friday, Dec. 20 at 5:30 p.m. MST in Frisco, Texas

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Utah State coach Gary Andersen smiles during a timeout in the first half of an NCAA college football game against New Mexico on Saturday, Nov. 30, 2019 in Albuquerque, N.M. (AP Photo/Andres Leighton)


LOGAN —  It is official, the Utah State Aggies are going bowling in Texas.

Utah State (7-5) will play Kent State (6-6) in the Frisco Bowl on Friday Dec. 20 at 5:30 p.m. (MST), the school announced Sunday afternoon.

“It is a great opportunity,” Utah State head coach Gary Andersen said. “It looks like a great chance for our kids to go to a bowl game and have a new experience … I’m sure Kent State looks at it just like we do. It is a chance to play one more football game. There is a trophy involved and a (bowl) championship. I know it means a lot for our kids and it will mean a lot for those (Kent State) kids. You’ll see two teams that are excited to play.”

Sean Johnson, executive director of the Tropical Smoothie Cafe Frisco Bowl, expressed a similar sentiment.

“We are excited to have two outstanding teams participate in the 2019 Tropical Smoothie Cafe Frisco Bowl, the Utah State Aggies and the Kent State Golden Flashes,” he said in a press release. “We are looking forward to kicking off the bowl season with this great matchup and to welcoming the teams and their great fan bases to Frisco, Texas. It will be an exciting week of bowl events and a fantastic game at Toyota Stadium on December 20.”

The game will be only the third-ever edition of the Frisco Bowl, which became a sanctioned NCAA bowl game in 2017. Previous participants include Louisiana Tech and SMU in 2017 and San Diego State and Ohio last season. 

Coincidentally, the game will also be the third-ever meeting between the Aggies and the Golden Flashes. The teams faced off twice in the mid-1970s. Kent State defeated Utah State in Logan, 27-16, in 1973, and the Aggies returned the favor in Kent, Ohio in 1974 with a 27-24 triumph.

Utah State is 9-3 all-time against opponents from the Mid-American Conference (MAC) with winning records against Ball State (1-0), Bowling Green (2-0), Northern Illinois (2-0), Toledo (1-0) and Western Michigan (1-0).

“I have great respect for Ohio and that whole league,” said Andersen. “Any of those teams from Ohio are filled with tough-minded guys who grew up loving football and play great football. I’ve watched Kent State a few times this season and they are a physical tough-minded team that made some strides this year to get where they are going. We will learn a lot more about them, but I know they play hard. They will be a good football team, a good challenge.”

The Golden Flashes are in their second year under head coach Sean Lewis, who has posted an 8-16 overall record. A Wisconsin alumnus, Lewis took over a team that finished 2-10 in 2017 and did so again in 2018, before winning six games this year. At 6-6 overall and 5-3 in conference play — the Golden Flashes finished in third place in the East division of the MAC — Kent State secured just the third bowl berth in program history.

“They were able to win a lot of games, enough to get bowl eligible, and they got where they are at in a very tough conference,” Andersen said. “They are a team on the rise and will be very excited to go to this bowl, just like we are. It looks like a great opportunity for all of us.”

For Utah State, the Frisco Bowl will be the team’s eighth bowl game in the past nine seasons and the 14th in program history. The Aggies are 5-8 all-time in bowl games, compared to Kent State’s 0-2 mark, having most recently defeated North Texas 52-13 in the 2018 New Mexico Bowl.

Andersen is 1-1 in bowl games in his career as the head coach at USU, with a 24-23 loss to Ohio in the 2011 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl and a 41-15 win over Toledo in the 2012 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.

At 7-5 overall and 6-2 in conference play, the Frisco Bowl presents the Aggies with a chance to end the season on a high note, after the team fell short of its stated goal of winning a Mountain West Conference championship.

“We understand exactly where we sit in the Mountain West,” said Andersen. “We dropped two games and didn’t get to play in the championship. We understand where we fit this year. We took third place in our (division) and we have a chance to go play for a championship. It is a tremendous opportunity and an honor to go to a bowl game. It is a huge responsibility to prepare the right way and to play the right way and that is exactly how we will approach it.”


2019 Tropical Smoothie Cafe Frisco Bowl

Utah State (7-5) vs. Kent State (6-6)

Toyota Stadium, Frisco, TX

Friday, Dec. 20, 5:30 p.m. MST


Radio: KZNS 1280


Utah State’s bowl history

How the Aggies have fared:

1946 — San Jose State 20, Utah State 0 (Raisin Bowl)

1947 — Pacific 35, Utah State 21 (Grape Bowl)

1960 — New Mexico State 20, Utah State 13 (Sun Bowl)

1961 — Baylor 24, Utah State 9 (Gotham Bowl)

1993Utah State 42, Ball State 33 (Las Vegas Bowl)

1997 — Cincinnati 35, Utah State 19 (Humanitarian Bowl)

2011 — Ohio 24, Utah State 23 (Famous Idaho Potato Bowl)

2012Utah State 41, Toledo 15 (Famous Idaho Potato Bowl)

2013Utah State 21, Northern Illinois 14 (Poinsettia Bowl)

2014Utah State 21, UTEP 6 (New Mexico Bowl)

2015 — Akron 23, Utah State 21 (Famous Idaho Potato Bowl)

2017 — New Mexico State 26, Utah State 20 (Arizona Bowl)

2018Utah State 52, North Texas 13 (New Mexico Bowl)