The Idaho Potato Bowl is set to pit one of college football’s hottest teams against one of its unlikeliest bowl qualifiers.
Tonight at 7 p.m. ET, the Idaho Vandals and the Colorado State Rams will face off in the Idaho Potato Bowl, culminating impressive seasons for both schools.
In their second season under head coach Mike Bobo, Colorado State (7-5, 4th in Mountain West) wheezed out to a slow 2-3 start before ending the season with an offensive flurry, averaging 47.4 points per game over its last five contests.
One season removed from a 4-8 campaign and two years away from dropping down to the FCS level, Idaho surprised just about everyone this season by breaking out to an 8-4 record, finishing in third place in the Sun Belt. The Vandals won six of their last seven games and two of their four losses came versus ranked Pac-12 opponents Washington and Washington State.
Idaho Potato Bowl game time, details
Time: 7 p.m. ET kickoff
Date: Thursday, Dec. 22, 2016
Location: Albertsons Stadium, Boise, Idaho
Weather: 19 degrees, partly cloudy, 5 percent chance of precipitation
The line: Colorado State -15; over/under 65
What TV channel will Idaho vs. Colorado State be on?
The game will be broadcast on ESPN.
How can I watch Idaho vs. Colorado State online?
You can find a stream on Watch ESPN.
How can I listen to Idaho vs. Colorado State on the radio?
The game will be available on ESPN Radio,
Who is calling the game for ESPN?
Dave Neal will be the play-by-play commentator, with Matt Stinchcomb providing color and Olivia Harlan on the sideline.
Idaho vs. Colorado State keys to the game
1. The Rams rush offense versus the Vandals rush defense
With 223 rush yards per game, Colorado State ranks among the top teams in the Mountain West in rushing offense. But Idaho’s rush defense is no slouch. The Vandals allow a paltry 144 rush yards per game, ranking in the top half of the Sun Belt.
2. Idaho’s tendency to play keep-away
Idaho has a turnover margin of +8 in 2016, one of the 13 best marks in college football this season. A lot of this has to do with Idaho’s 25 turnovers forced, one more than No. 1 Alabama has in 13 games.
3. Something’s gotta give on third downs
Colorado State had the sixth-worst third-down defense in college football in 2016, allowing conversion on 48.9 percent of third downs. Idaho wasn’t much better offensively, ranking No. 79 in the country in third-down conversion rate with a 39 percent rate.