Utah State to play Memphis in First Responders Bowl – Cache Valley Daily

LOGAN – It became official Sunday afternoon. Utah State will participate in its 15th official NCAA bowl game this year and 10th in the last 12 years. The Aggies will travel to Dallas, Texas to take on Memphis in the First Responders Bowl on Dec. 27.

This will be Utah State’s first-ever appearance in the 12 year-old First Responders Bowl. The Aggies will be the third Mountain West team to participate (Air Force in 2021, UNLV in 2013).

Like the Aggies, Memphis went 6-6 this year witha 3-5 record in conference play to finish eighth in the American Athletic Conference. Memphis have been bowl eligible nine straight seasons but are just 2-5 in those games (the Tigers did not play out its bowl game last year as its opponent, Hawaii, backed out due to players testing positive for COVID-19).

This year’s matchup will be the eighth all-time between Utah State and Memphis but the first since 1977. The Aggies and Tigers faced each other seven times between 1965 and 1977 when USU was independent (Memphis was also independent for a couple of those meetings). Memphis holds the all-time series lead 4-3.

Utah State overcame remarkably low odds to achieve bowl eligibility. The Aggies began the year with a 1-4 record but won five of their last seven games to end the regular season 6-6. It’s just the second time in program history the team has started 1-4 or worse and become bowl eligible, the only other time being 1993 when a 1-5 USU team won its final six games of the regular season and then a seventh straight game in the Las Vegas Bowl.

The Aggies will get a second chance to guarantee a winning record on the season — which would be the four times in the last five years — after failing to pull that off against Boise State in the final week of the regular season.

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