TWO BOWDENS AT AKRON
The Bowden family tree has set roots in Akron, where Terry Bowden is the head coach and Jeff Bowden is the special teams coordinator and wide receivers coach.
Terry and Jeff are the sons of Bobby Bowden, who won 377 games and led Florida State to a pair of national titles. Brother Tommy also led Tulane for two seasons and Clemson for 10 years.
Between Bobby, Tommy and Terry, the Bowdens have a combined record of 625-270-6.
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Terry led Auburn from 1993-98 before resigning and starting a 10-year broadcasting career. He returned to coaching at Division II North Alabama in 2009, then came back to Akron, where he was an assistant in 1986, four years ago.
He brought Jeff with him from North Alabama, and the two have led a turnaround that saw the Zips qualify for their second FBS bowl in school history.
Bobby Bowden is expected to be in Boise for this week’s Famous Idaho Potato Bowl festivities.
LOOK OUT FOR SHIRTLESS LINEMAN
Akron redshirt freshman Kyle Ritz said his go-to move whenever the party needs a boost is to rip off his shirt. And when the Zips hit Bogus Basin’s 800-foot tubing hill Sunday morning, he saw another opportunity.
The 6-5, 295-pound backup right tackle ditched his shirt and bombed down the hill during Akron’s team activity to hoots and hollers from his teammates.
“You might not know it from my ghostly pale skin, but I love having my shirt off and bringing life to the party,” Ritz said. “That’s what I do. I figured why not? It’s not too cold.”
He said once he started sliding down the hill, with the blowing wind and ice chunks hitting his chest, he started to feel the 21 degree temperature at 9 a.m. But he stayed upright all the way down.
“I was hoping I wasn’t going to fall off and slip all the way down the hill,” he said. “It could have been rough.”
AGGIES IN COMFORTABLE SPOT
Boise State’s indoor practice field has become Utah State’s home away from home.
The Aggies will make their third appearance in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl on Tuesday (also played here in 2011 and 2012). The first one, despite a one-point loss to Toledo, will be remembered fondly in Logan, as it was the team’s first bowl game in 14 years.
Utah State beat Toledo 41-15 in 2012.
The surrounding environment, the schedule, the field, it’s all familiar to the Aggies, who also played at Boise State in the 2014 regular season.
“I think we’ve had some really good practices down here,” Utah State coach Matt Wells said. “We’ve practiced here like six or seven times, that familiarity is good and there are some fond memories here.”
IDAHO CONNECTIONS AT UTAH STATE
Though Akron’s ties to the Gem State are few (though the Zips’ last trip this far west was a 1979 loss at Boise State), the Aggies have a few ties.
Two Idahoans are on the Aggies’ roster: junior cornerback Austin Cheney (Borah High) and redshirt freshman linebacker Dillon Filiaga (Highland High in Pocatello).
Utah State special teams coordinator/running backs coach Dave Ungerer is the father of Idaho sophomore receiver David Ungerer. Senior cornerback Promise Amadi had a forced fumble this season for the Aggies. He redshirted at Boise State in 2013, but left the following spring.
FAMOUS IDAHO POTATO BOWL: UTAH STATE VS. AKRON
▪ When: 1:30 p.m. Tuesday
▪ Where: Albertsons Stadium (36,387, FieldTurf), Boise
▪ TV: ESPN
▪ Records: Utah State (6-6, 5-3 Mountain West); Akron (7-5, 5-3 Mid-American)
▪ Coaches: Utah State, Matt Wells (25-15, third year); Akron, Terry Bowden (18-30, fourth year; 158-92-2, 22nd year overall)
▪ Series: First meeting
▪ Vegas line: Utah State by 6 1/2
▪ Tickets: $20-$90, at ticketmaster.com; $24 for FitOne Family Field Day (pre-game NFL combine-type event at 10:30 a.m., lunch and game ticket)
▪ Monday fan event: Famous Idaho Potato Bowl Mash Bash at The Village in Meridian will be open to fans from 5 to 8 p.m.
▪ Tuesday kickoff weather: High in the upper 30s, with slight chance of rain/snow mixture.