Humanitarian Bowl transitioned to a Western Athletic Conference
opponent. Boise State returned as Big West champion and, in Dirk
Koetter’s final game as Broncos coach, topped UTEP 38-23. An eightyear
association with the Atlantic Coast Conference began in 2001,
when Tommy Bowden’s Clemson Tigers rolled up a 49-24 victory
over WAC winner Louisiana Tech.
The 2002 Crucial.com Humanitarian Bowl marked the return of
Boise State, which wrapped up a 12-1 season with a 34-16 triumph
over Seneca Wallace and Iowa State, filling the bowl’s ACC slot.
The Broncos’ Brock Forsey notched three touchdowns to finish
his senior year as the nation’s leading scorer. The 2003 game was
actually played January 3, 2004, sandwiched in between BCS bowl
games. Georgia Tech’s P.J. Daniels rushed for a bowl record 307
yards in a 52-10 conquest of Tulsa.
The game secured a new title sponsor in 2004 and was renamed
the MPC Computers Bowl. Under that moniker, the bowl went
3-for-3 in thrillers, beginning with the first overtime in the game’s
history as Fresno State edged Virginia, 37-34. In 2005, Matt Ryan
and Boston College scored the first 27 points of the game before
holding off Boise State, 27-21, a year before the Broncos’ famous
Fiesta Bowl win over Oklahoma. The 2006 MPC Computers Bowl
brought Nevada to the blue turf to play Miami in Larry Coker’s final
game as head coach of the Hurricanes. And again, the ‘Canes had
to fend off a last-minute Wolf Pack surge to prevail, 21-20.
In 2007, the bowl returned to its roots with a new sponsor, Roady’s
Truck Stops, and the Roady’s Humanitarian Bowl saw Fresno State
beat Georgia Tech, 40-28. Nevada was back in the game in 2008,
but Maryland repelled a Colin Kaepernick-led comeback by the
Wolf Pack and won, 42-35.
The 2009 Roady’s Humanitarian Bowl was one for the ages.
Idaho and Bowling Green, the first Mid-American Conference
representative to play in the game, took turns putting the pedal
to the metal. Through a flurry of momentum shifts, the Falcons
took a 42-35 lead with 32 seconds remaining in the game. But the
Vandals drove 66 yards in three plays and scored with four seconds
left. Idaho decided to go for two points, and Nate Enderle converted
with a pass to Preston Davis to win it, 43-42.
A sister company of Roady’s, uDrove, took title sponsorship in
2010, when Northern Illinois handed Fresno State a 40-17 setback.
Then a funny thing happened on the way to the 2011 game. The
Idaho Potato Commission emerged with a commitment as a longterm
sponsor, giving the bowl its new identity, the Famous Idaho
Potato Bowl. Hear the name, and you know exactly what it is and
where it is. And what it was in 2011 was a classic. Utah State led the
entire way—until Ohio quarterback Tyler Tettleton scored with 13
seconds remaining to give the Bobcats their first bowl victory ever.
The 2012 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl marked the end of an era—
the final game of a 13-year association with the WAC, capping the
final season of WAC football. And Utah State, the conference’s
final champion, picked up its first postseason victory in 19 years,
exploding past Toledo 41-15 with four touchdowns in the final 7½
minutes of the game. The Aggies’ Kerwynn Williams rushed for
235 yards, a whopping 191 of them in the fourth quarter.
The Mountain West Conference made its debut in the bowl in
2013, with San Diego State running past Buffalo 49-24 behind 229
rushing yards and three touchdowns from Adam Muema. It was
the Aztecs’ first bowl victory outside the San Diego city limits since
1969. Air Force made it two straight for the Mountain West in
2014 with a 38-24 victory over Western Michigan. The Broncos,
seeking their first bowl win ever, were denied by the Falcons’
relentless ground attack.
In 2015, the MAC struck back. Veteran coach Terry Bowden, in
his fourth season at Akron, led the Zips to their first bowl victory as
an FBS school in an exciting 23-21 triumph over Utah State. Akron
finished the season 8-5, its most wins since moving to Division I-A
in 1987. The 2016 game will be remembered for offense and more
offense. In Idaho’s 61-50 win over Colorado State, the Vandals and
Rams combined to break or tie 24 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl records
as they combined to roll up 1,206 total yards. The 84 combined
second half points were the most in college football bowl history.
All that after a scoreless first quarter.
Josh Allen played his final collegiate game on the blue turf in the
2017 game, going 6-for-7 for 104 yards and three touchdowns in
the first quarter of Wyoming’s 37-14 win over Central Michigan.
The Cowboys forced a staggering eight Chippewa turnovers to
finish the season with 38 takeaways, tops in the FBS. Allen would
go on to become the No. 7 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft by
the Buffalo Bills.
Today, the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl is the longest-running cold
weather bowl game in college football. It has hosted 26 different
universities and has seen 19 first-round NFL Draft picks come
through. The Famous Idaho Potato Bowl is a celebration of the
spirit of winter in the beautiful Idaho mountains. That includes
football. And potatoes.
94 FAMOUS IDAHO POTATO BOWL | DECEMBER 21, 2018