BOISE, Idaho — Tuesday's 25th Famous Idaho Potato Bowl presents a unique matchup between a physical, hardnosed Wyoming (7-6) team out of the Mountain West and Kent State's (7-6) highflying offense on the heels of a MAC championship appearance.
The Cowboys enter kickoff as the slight favorite, but maintaining the Golden Flashes' offense will be no easy task. Kent State ranks eighth in the nation in total offense at 483 yards per game.
The Flashes are also fourth in the country in rushing, and the centerpiece is Marquez Cooper with 1,080 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns on the ground. Quarterback Dustin Crum has thrown for 16 touchdowns with six interceptions, but he’s also rushed for 11 scores.
For Wyoming, the focal point Tuesday will be keeping Crum and Cooper off the field with a slow-paced offensive attack. The Cowboys pair of running backs in Xazavian Valladay and Titus Swen own 984 and 737 rushing yards in 2021, respectively.
On defense, the Mountain West squad leans on linebacker Chad Muma - a second-team All-American by Walter Camp and Pro Football Focus - and a third-teamer on the AP's list. He’s averaging 10.8 tackles per game, second in the conference and fourth in the nation.
Ahead of kickoff, KTVB's Will Hall caught up with Famous Idaho Potato Bowl executive director Kevin McDonald, who described Tuesday's matchup as "contrast."
"You see (Kent State) that's trying to run a play every 15 seconds and a Cowboy defense that likes to be physical, but strong against the pass," McDonald said. "I think we've got a good matchup. It should be a lot of fun. I talked to the coaches and they both said, 'hey, if our quarterback plays well we feel good about the game,' so we'll see which quarterback plays better."
The full interview with Hall and McDonald before kickoff can be viewed at the top of this article.
Tuesday marks McDonald's final potato bowl as executive director after 15 years. He told KTVB in pregame the feeling of being on the blue for the final time in his position is "a little surreal."
The 25th Famous Idaho Potato Bowl is the first ever matchup between Kent State and Wyoming, set to air on ESPN. It is the Golden Flashes' first appearance in the Boise bowl and the second for Wyoming, who defeated Central Michigan in 2017.
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