After a rocky start to the year, Utah State is bowling once again.
The Aggies will take on the Memphis Tigers in the First Responder Bowl on Tuesday afternoon in Dallas.
After both teams lost their regular-season finale, the bowl game played on SMU’s campus will determine which finishes with a winning record — and which ends below .500.
Memphis is bowl eligible for the ninth season in a row, the longest current streak by a Group of Five team. The Tigers will play their eighth bowl game in that stretch since last season’s Hawaii Bowl was canceled due to COVID issues in the Hawaii program.
Utah State is playing in its 10th bowl game in 12 seasons after only six bowls in its first 119 seasons
Memphis sophomore QB Seth Henigan against Utah State’s defense. The Aggies are 25th nationally allowing only 198 yards passing per game. Henigan has thrown for 3,275 yards with 19 touchdowns and eight interceptions. Only one of Utah State’s opponents has thrown for more than 300 yards, and six were held to 202 or less.
Players to watch
Memphis: Senior safety Quindell Johnson led the American Athletic Conference with four interceptions, along with four pass breakups and 73 tackles.
Utah State: Redshirt freshman safety Ike Larsen is the only player in the nation that has four interceptions, three blocked kicks and a defensive touchdown.
Facts & figures
Utah State rebounded from a 1-4 start to get bowl eligible. Memphis began the season 4-1. … Memphis is ranked fifth in the nation for fewest penalties (48 overall, four per game). … The Aggies had to come from behind in five of their victories. … Utah State graduate senior OL Alfred Edwards is set to start his 53rd career game, which will break his tie with Tyler Larsen (2009-13) for the school record. Edwards will be only the third Aggies player ever to appear in four bowl games. ... Memphis is favored by 7 1/2. ... The Tigers lead the all-time series 4-3.
How to watch
What: First Responder Bowl
Who: Memphis (6-6, 3-5 AAC) vs. Utah State (6-6, 5-3 MW)
Where: Gerald J. Ford Stadium in Dallas
Kickoff: Tuesday, Dec. 27, at 1:15 p.m. MST
TV: ESPN — Mike Monaco (play-by-play), Charles Arbuckle (analyst), Nicole Rigoni (sideline reporter)
• Xfinity (Utah): Ch. 35 / 668HD
• DISH / DirecTV: Ch. 140 / 206