Toledo football coach Matt Campbells wide-eyed expression said more than his words.
Hes seen the Utah State Aggies first-quarter stats. And hes duly impressed.
The Aggies have outscored opponents 131-6 in the first quarter this season, allowing just two field goals. The dominant starts sparked a breakthrough season for the No. 18 Aggies, who will face Campbells Rockets at 2:30 p.m. Saturday at Bronco Stadium in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.
You do talk about it, Campbell said, you address it, but at the end of the day you as coaches have to put the onus on yourself Hey, weve got to do this, this and this early in the game to help our kids out, Campbell said.
He doesnt want to overemphasize the need to counter the Aggies fast starts. The Rockets have outscored their opponents just 85-72 in the opening quarter.
Sometimes you say, Hey, weve got to start this game off fast and you put all the pressure on your team to start fast and then you dont and then what happens? Campbell said.
The games often start with the Aggies defense.
Utah State defers when it wins the coin toss.
We play with a lot of emotion, sophomore linebacker Zach Vigil said. We like to set the tone for our games.
Utah State coach Gary Andersen credits his players execution and the assistants game-planning. But he also says the scout teams have played a role.
I dont think weve been caught this year in a situation where we go, Whoa, weve got to really adjust to the speed of the game, and thats been big for us, Andersen said.
STRONG SALES IN BOISE
The Potato Bowl has distributed about 29,500 tickets for Saturdays game, including sellouts of the suites and loge boxes and a near sellout of the club seats, Executive Director Kevin McDonald said.
That puts the game on pace to outdraw last years Ohio-Utah State game, which attracted 28,076 fans.
Our sales were really brisk this year, McDonald said.
Utah State received 4,000 tickets and is expected to use all of them. The school sold 3,150 and will use the rest for the band, player and coach tickets. Other Aggies fans are buying directly from the Potato Bowl.
Toledo has sold just 300 tickets, which includes player/coach tickets. The Rockets learned they would play in Boise 13 days before the game.
Weve got great fans. We know theyll be at home watching us, Campbell said. One of the things thats really special for us this senior class will have gone to three different bowl games in three years. You get a chance to bring them out to Boise for some of these guys, it may be the last time, or it may be the only time, they get to do that.
The Rockets played in the Military Bowl in Washington, D.C., last year and the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl in Detroit in 2010.
Many of Toledos key players for this weeks game played against Boise State in 2010 and 2011. The Rockets lost 57-14 at Bronco Stadium two years ago and 40-15 last year at the Glass Bowl.
The trip to Boise left an impression on Campbell.
The thing that stuck out to all of us was the people the support, the commitment, to not only being really kind to us as a competitor but the passion that they had for their own program, he said. Thats what makes this (Boise State) program really special.
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