Printed on: November 27, 2012

Aggies, Cougars accept bowl bids


ASSOCIATED PRESS

A historic season for the Utah State football team will end in Bronco Stadium.

The No. 25 and WAC champion Aggies (10-2) beat the Idaho Vandals 45-9 on Saturday and accepted an invitation to play in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.

They will face a MAC team at 2:30 p.m. Dec. 15 (ESPN).

Utah State won an outright conference title for the first time since 1936. It will be the first ranked team in Boise's bowl since No. 19 Boston College beat Boise State in 2005.

The Aggies' losses were by two points at Wisconsin and three points at BYU.

The MAC team likely will come from a group that includes Kent State (11-1), Northern Illinois (11-1), Toledo (9-3), Ball State (9-3) and Bowling Green (8-4). That team probably won't be decided until Dec. 2 because Kent State and Northern Illinois, who play for the conference title Friday, are in contention for a BCS berth.

BYU to San Diego

Brigham Young knows it will be facing San Diego State in the Poinsettia Bowl next month after the Aztecs accepted a bid Monday.

The bigger question is who should start at quarterback for the Cougars.

BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall said after Saturday's 50-14 road victory over New Mexico State that Riley Nelson would likely remain his starter. But he wanted time to take in the performance of senior James Lark in his first start.

Lark completed 34 of 50 passes for 384 yards and six touchdowns, with no turnovers.

Nelson was out with a rib injury.

San Diego State opened 2-3 but closed with seven consecutive victories to improve to 9-3. Former Mountain West foe BYU is 7-5.

The Poinsettia Bowl will be played Dec. 20 in San Diego.

UI coaching search

University of Idaho athletic director Rob Spear is optimistic that the Vandals will have a permanent head coach in the near future.

Following the Vandals' season-ending 45-9 loss to Utah State on Saturday, Spear said on the postgame radio show that he wanted to move "as quickly as possible" to fill Idaho's vacant coaching position.

Spear said he has completed 15 phone interviews and that the five finalists will have face-to-face interviews soon.

"I think we've been very thorough," Spear said. "We've talked to a variety of different coaches. I'm excited to get this thing done. And I'm excited to bring someone in who embraces the expectations we have as a university and as a department to get this football program moving forward."

Spear cautioned that while every effort is being made to expedite the hiring process, he wants to make sure it gets the best available person for the job and new candidates may become available as the regular season ends.

"I want to make sure we take a look out there to see what's going on," he said.

Interim coach Jason Gesser's future remains uncertain, but at this point it looks like he isn't in the running for the position.

"It's time for us to move forward," Spear said of Gesser's time as coach. "It's time for us to start this rebuilding process."

Spear also had some interesting news about a possible conference for Idaho. He said the Big East, which lost Rutgers this week and could potentially lose Louisville and Connecticut, might be looking to expand its western division with teams from the Mountain West. If that were to happen, a spot could open up for the Vandals in the MWC.

USU's Davis named player of week

Utah State defensive back Will Davis has been selected as Western Athletic Conference defensive player of the week after returning an interception 59 yards for a touchdown in the Aggies' 45-9 win Saturday over Idaho.

The senior from Spokane, Wash., has now intercepted a pass in five straight games.

Davis helped hold the Vandals to 52 yards passing, the fewest by a Utah State opponent since 1998. His interception return for a touchdown was the first by a Utah State player since 2007 and the first of Davis' career.

Davis has been selected to play in the Senior Bowl on Jan. 26, 2013, in Mobile, Ala.