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Akron holds off late Utah State rally for first-ever bowl win

Terry Bowden's program continues to grow.

Loren Orr/Getty Images

Utah State made a noble effort in the final minutes, but Akron won the first bowl game in school history with a 23-21 victory in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.

The Aggies scored a touchdown in the final two minutes to get the game within a score, but failed to recover the onside kick attempt. The Zips were able to run out most of the clock, and Chuckie Keeton couldn't find the magic on a last-second lateral play attempt.

Akron took a 10-0 lead in the second quarter thanks to some big offensive plays, and led 13-7 at halftime. Utah State was able to score first in the second half to take the lead back, but Akron's explosiveness outweighed the Aggies' efficiency. Both offenses had been more explosive than efficient this season, and the game was expected to be a defensive battle.

Utah State's three turnovers overcame a 363-282 yardage deficit, including a third-quarter fumble that helped set up the go-ahead touchdown for Akron.

1. This was Akron's first return to a bowl game in 10 years, and the Zips came out ready to play. Terry Bowden's team made this bowl game without beating an FBS team with a winning record, but it came in with four straight wins and came out dominating, outgaining Utah 114 to -5 in the first quarter. The defense kept it up, forcing a big fumble to lead to a last-second field goal before halftime, and stopping a fake field goal and a near touchdown pass.

2. This was Chuckie Keeton's last game in a Utah State uniform, and it was sad to see how much his repeated injury problems have limited his game. Once one of the most explosive players in the country (35 total touchdowns, 307.1 yards of total offense per game in 2012), this was just his 17th game since 2013. In this game, he finished with 101 passing yards and one touchdown and one interception on 14-of-25 completions.

3. There were a couple of wild plays in this one, from a #nice punt, to a reverse-pass for a touchdown:

and a Piesman Moment for this Akron defensive lineman: