Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen gives edge in Famous Idaho Potato Bowl


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Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen throws a pass during the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl on Dec. 22. 

Throughout the course of the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, one player stood out and lifted Wyoming to a 37-14 win over Central Michigan — Josh Allen.

Prior to the start of the 2017 season, Allen said he wanted to play in a bowl game after Christmas that was somewhere warm. He was also hoping to play in a bowl game coming off a conference championship. 

Instead, Wyoming’s bowl game took place in the snow on Dec. 22, coming off a two-game losing streak to end the regular season. 

Nevertheless, Allen stepped up and won it for the Cowboys. 

The Potato Bowl Most Valuable Player nearly single-handedly dismantled CMU’s defense, which had helped pace the Chippewas all season. 

Coming into the bowl game CMU’s defense earned an NCAA-high 31 takeaways with 19 interceptions and 12 fumble recoveries. Wyoming, along with Memphis, was second with 30 turnovers earned. 

Following the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, Wyoming took the lead, owning 38 takeaways. In the bowl game against CMU, the Cowboys forced eight turnovers.

“I got to commend the defensive side of the ball, they did a fantastic job of getting the ball back,” Allen said. “Trusting out defense, understanding to take care of the football, not to turn it over, we’re going to be put in a good position because of what they’re doing on that side.” 

The Chippewas did not force a single turnover throughout the game. Allen, on the other hand, made the CMU defense pay, completing 11 of 19 passes for 154 yards and three touchdowns.

“They played well. Their quarterback, he's a great player,” CMU senior defensive end Joe Ostman said. “He made plays. Their defense created turnovers. I think we left opportunities on the field.

“But I'll give them the credit. Yeah, that's it.”

Following his stellar performance, Allen declared for the 2018 National Football League Draft, which takes place on April 27-29. 

“Josh and I sat down and talked last year,” Wyoming coach Craig Bohl said. “He graduated (and) did all the things we asked him to do. Certainly, this was planned out on our part. I thought he played great.

“If there’s any NFL team that’s looking for a competitor out there, you’re not going to find anybody more competitive and more team oriented than Josh Allen.” 

On the other side of the ball, CMU senior quarterback Shane Morris crumbled as the game went on, finishing 23-of-39 through the air for 329 yards, one touchdowns, four interceptions and two fumbles. He was sacked five times.

The Chippeawas finished the season 8-5 on the season and the bowl loss snapped a five-game winning streak. However, CMU head coach John Bonamego is proud of the accomplishments of the seniors, who have ended their career without a victory in a bowl game. 

“Obviously, eight wins, you know, these guys have done a good job all year leading,” Bonamego said. “I hurt for them, the senior class, going out this way. But it doesn't take away from a lot of the positives that they did, a lot of the positive things they accomplished this year.”

Unless the two teams meet again in a near future bowl game, the Chippewas will have to wait until the 2026 and 2027 seasons to face off again. The duo has a home-and-home series scheduled for those years. 

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