The celebratory French fry bath was in full force in Boise, ID, celebrating the Georgia State Panthers’ 45-22 win over Utah State in the 2023 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.
Georgia State quarterback Darren Grainger accounted for five touchdowns in the final college football game of his career and was named the game’s MVP, completing 19-of-22 passes for 257 yards and three scores. Additionally, the first three-year starting quarterback in school history ran for 111 yards with two touchdowns. Ending his Georgia State tenure in storybook fashion, Grainger ended his career atop the program leaderboard for touchdown passes and total offense.
With the longtime quarterback leading the way, the Panthers’ 45 points were the most they scored since October, and the win snapped the team’s five-game losing streak.
Utah State quarterback Levi Williams was unable to replicate his MVP performance in the 2021 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, back when he played for Wyoming. Williams completed only 12-of-21 passes for 131 yards. He threw one touchdown but also threw an interception and was sacked three times.
Georgia State and Utah State looked primed for a shootout very early in the game. They were tied 14-14 late in the first quarter, but the Aggies could not keep up as the game progressed. Through the final 48:41 of the game, Utah State was outscored 31-8.
Throughout the game, Utah State saw just four drives go for 50+ yards. They scored touchdowns on three of them, but billowing winds pushed Elliott Nimrod’s 37-yard field goal attempt wide right in the first quarter. That was only Nimrod’s second missed field goal from within 40 yards this season and only his third missed kick of the year.
Running back Freddie Brock was a surprise breakout for Georgia State. He had just six carries this season heading into the game, but ran for 1,144 over three seasons for Maine in the FCS. Brock, replacing superstar back Marcus Carroll, ran for 276 yards on 24 carries including three runs of over 40 yards. He also scored Georgia State’s final touchdown in the fourth quarter.
Also a shock impact performer for the Panthers was wide receiver Cadarrius Thompson. Thompson caught five passes for 117 yards and two scores — all career bests.
All-Mountain West receiving duo Jalen Royals and Terrell Vaughn corralled eight and three receptions for 86 and 57 yards, respectively, and they each scored a touchdown for the Aggies. The two were the fourth-best pass-catching pair in the country this season and combined for 48% of Utah State’s touchdowns this season.
Utah State ended 6-7 for a second consecutive season. Third-year head coach Blake Anderson led the Aggies to a bowl game in each of his three seasons but has not been able to recapture the highs of his 11-3 debut season with the team in 2021.
Georgia State finished its season 7-6 and won its fourth bowl game in program history. It turns its attention to next season, where it will need to replenish a transfer and draft-plundered offense. But for now, head coach Shawn Elliott and the team celebrated on the blue turf in Boise after their fourth bowl win in seven seasons — partying Idaho-style with buckets of French fries being thrown into the air.