Boise, Idaho • Patience.
Stalking the sidelines of Bronco Stadium, Gary Andersen said that word repeatedly on Saturday night in a 41-15 victory over Toledo in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.
Players were frustrated at the lack of offensive productivity. The passing game was good, but not great. The running game, outside of a long touchdown burst from Chuckie Keeton, was nonexistent. The Rockets were hanging around, trailing 13-9 with seven minutes remaining.
"I just thought we were pressing some, and I thought we would eventually break out and get some positive plays and momentum," Andersen said. "We thought that we would be able to make some plays and get into space."
Andersen was proved right. Kerwynn Williams would go on to score three touchdowns in as many possessions. Backup running back Joe Hill scored a fourth touchdown. By the end of the game, seemingly anything USU ran worked.
The Aggies simply wore Toledo down on the interior through the first three quarters. So, even with the running game sputtering, by the end of regulation, there were huge holes for the backs to scamper through.
"The offensive line was just very good tonight," Williams said. "We knew that good things were going to happen if we just stayed consistent, stayed true to ourselves and took what the defense gave us."
Utah State has been that kind of team all season, the one that could explode offensively at any moment. The Aggies proved that against San Jose State. They proved it against Louisiana Tech. Earlier in the season, they proved it against teams like Colorado State and UNLV. And they proved it on Saturday night.
The Aggies have won seven consecutive games to close out the best season in program history. And the patience paid off handsomely when it counted.
"We were so worried about Chuckie Keeton that we forgot a little bit about Kerwynn Williams," Rockets head coach Matt Campbell said. "We left the middle open a little too much. In a game like this, you can't win without taking care of the details. We didn't take care of the details tonight, and it cost us."
Utah State in the fourth quarter
• USU scores four touchdowns in six minutes.
• The Aggies gain 228 of their 582 yards in the final quarter.
• Kerwynn Williams scores three touchdowns on consecutive possessions.