Colorado State Rams

Idaho quarterback Matt Linehan (10) runs the ball against Colorado State linebacker Max McDonald (31) during the first half of the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl NCAA college football game in Boise, Idaho, Thursday, Dec. 22, 2016. (AP Photo/Otto Kitsinger)
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Idaho caps off turnaround season with high-scoring win in Potato Bowl

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Idaho hasn’t reached the postseason much over the years but when they do, they win in Boise.

The Vandals capped off a remarkable turnaround season and tied a school-record for wins by thumping Colorado State 61-50 in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl to move to 3-0 in bowl games as an FBS program.

After a slow start in the first quarter that was dominated by punting from both teams, the Rams were the ones who struck first when wideout Olabisi Johnson found the end zone from 52 yards out.

It appeared as though that was enough to jump start Idaho, which promptly ran off 41 points in a row to take control of the game and end much doubt about who was more motivated to play in this one. Isaiah Saunders led the way on the ground for the Vandals with 147 yards and three scores while quarterback Matt Linehan really came on after halftime and finished with 381 yards and four touchdowns.

CSU did get something going late in the fourth quarter but by that time it was too late to make things interesting as they lost for the second time this year on the blue turf that Boise State typically calls home. Nick Stevens did throw for 445 yards and five touchdowns (with two picks) and was a potent combination on deep balls with Johnson, who had 265 yards and two touchdowns for the game. Michael Gallup chipped in with another three scores and had over 100 yards receiving as well.

But the night belonged to the Vandals, as they went from one of the postseason’s biggest underdogs this year to one of the biggest early winners. With an FCS move looming in 2018, racking up 606 yards of offense and limiting an explosive offense for most of Thursday night isn’t a bad way to close out one of the more impressive seasons at the Group of Five level.

Idaho holds the lead at halftime in Famous Idaho Potato Bowl

BOISE, ID - DECEMBER 22: Famous Idaho Potato Bowl MVP and team championship trophies on display at the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl between the Utah State Aggies and the Akron Zips on December 22, 2015 at Albertsons Stadium in Boise, Idaho. Akron won the game 23-21. (Photo by Loren Orr/Getty Images)
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Punts and potatoes made up the bulk of what happened in the first quarter at the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl but things picked up considerably after that as Idaho held a surprising 20-7 lead over Colorado State at halftime on Thursday.

The Rams kicked off scoring early in the second quarter as signal-caller Nick Stevens found Olabisi Johnson from 52 yards out for a long touchdown pass that capped an 84 yard drive and injected some life into the game.

But the Vandals would respond in impressive fashion, mounting three straight scoring drives of over 60 yards — the first two of which took just nine plays combined. Running back Isaiah Saunders did the bulk of the damage, finding the end zone from two yards out the first time (the extra point was missed) and then from 26 out the second time.

Saunders finished the half with 77 yards on the ground while his quarterback Matt Linehan managed to rack up 157 yards and a touchdown through the air after a slow start.

While it was not the sharpest of starts for either team, both seemed to get going before the whistle and that could make for a fun second half up in Boise.

CFT Previews: Your Dec. 22 Bowl Viewer’s Guide

DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 19:  Fans support the Colorado State Rams as they prepare to face the Colorado Buffaloes during the Rocky Mountain Showdown at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on September 19, 2015 in Denver, Colorado.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
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Taking a quick-hit look at the Dec. 22 bowl menu, which is a little thin volume-wise for the fourth consecutive day but, again, it’s college football in mid-December, right?  Right???

WHO: Idaho (8-4) vs. Colorado State (7-5)
WHAT: The 20th Famous Idaho Potato Bowl
WHERE: Albertsons Stadium, Boise, Idaho
WHEN: 7 p.m. ET on ESPN
THE SKINNY: Since winning a combined 14 games in 2009-10 and playing in its last bowl game the former season, Idaho went bowl-less and won a total of nine games the next five years.  Very quietly, Paul Petrino led one of the more impressive turnarounds of the 2016 season as the Vandals won eight games, the team’s most since hitting the same mark in 2009 and just the second time they’ve done it in nearly two decades.  A win would keep Idaho perfect in bowls — they’ve won both they’ve played in, with both of those coming in this game — and also get them to nine wins for just the second time in the program’s history at the major college level.  Colorado State, meanwhile, will be looking to end a two-game bowl losing streak and give Mike Bobo his first postseason win as a head coach.  The Rams will come in having won four of their last five games — all four of those wins were by at least 18 points, with the lone loss coming by three at Air Force — while the Vandals have won four in a row and six of its last seven.  In that five-game stretch to close out the regular season, CSU’s offense averaged more than 500 yards and nearly 50 points per game.  During their current four-game winning streak, Idaho gave up an average of just 17.5 points per game.  The Rams are heavily favored, but could the Vandals really lose a game that has its home state as the primary sponsor?  Yeah, probably — but it’s going to be a helluva lot closer than what some of the wagering establishments are suggesting.
THE LINE: Idaho, +13½
THE PREDICTION: Colorado State 34, Idaho 27

Colorado St. confirms torn ACL for Rams’ third-leading rusher

FORT COLLINS, CO - OCTOBER 1:  Running back Marvin Kinsey Jr. #25 of the Colorado State Rams gets upended by cornerback Rico Gafford #5 of the Wyoming Cowboys during the second quarter at Sonny Lubick Field at Hughes Stadium on October 1, 2016 in Fort Collins, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
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Colorado State’s running back stable will be down a player when their postseason game rolls around.

Head coach Mike Bobo confirmed that Marvin Kinsey Jr. has a torn ACL. making it even worse, the back suffered the injury during practice this past Saturday.

The injury wasn’t the result of any type of contact, and the football program expects the true freshman to make a full recovery. That said, Kinsey is expected to miss spring practice but should be ready for the start of summer camp in eight months.

He will, though, miss the Idaho Potato Bowl matchup with Idaho Dec. 22.

Kinsey is third on the Rams with 546 yards rushing. His seven rushing touchdowns are second on the team, while his 5.9 yards per carry is second as well for players with 15 or more carries.

The 127 yards Kinsey put up in a win over New Mexico is a single-game high for the team the season, as was 75-yard run in the same game.

Behold: The full 2016-17 college football bowl schedule is here

LOUISVILLE, KY - SEPTEMBER 17: Lamar Jackson #8 of the Louisville Cardinals runs with the ball during the game against the Florida State Seminoles at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium on September 17, 2016 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Bobby Ellis/Getty Images)
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The College Football Playoff and New Year’s Six lineups are set, but there’s much more to bowl season than the top line games. Running 40 games deep and stretching from Dec. 17 to Jan. 9, the 2016-17 bowl schedule came together Sunday afternoon, which we’ve compiled here for your viewing enjoyment.

Let’s dive right in.

Saturday, Dec. 17
Gildan New Mexico Bowl (2 p.m. ET, ESPN): UTSA vs. New Mexico
Las Vegas Bowl presented by Geico (3:30 p.m. ET, ABC): Houston vs. San Diego State
Raycom Media Camelia Bowl (5:30 p.m. ET, ESPN): Appalachian State vs. Toledo
AutoNation Cure Bowl (5:30 p.m. ET, CBS Sports Network): Central Florida vs. Arkansas State
R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl (9 p.m. ET, ESPN): Lousiana-Lafayette vs. Southern Miss

Monday, Dec. 19
Miami Beach Bowl (2:30 p.m. ET, ESPN): Central Michigan vs. Tulsa

Tuesday, Dec. 20
Boca Raton Bowl (7 p.m. ET, ESPN): Memphis vs. Western Kentucky

Wednesday, Dec. 21
San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl (9 p.m. ET, ESPN): BYU vs. Wyoming

Thursday, Dec. 22
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl (7 p.m. ET, ESPN): Idaho vs. Colorado State

Friday, Dec. 23
Popeyes Bahamas Bowl (1 p.m. ET, ESPN): Old Dominion vs. Eastern Michigan
Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl (4:30 p.m. ET, ESPN): Louisiana Tech vs. No. 25 Navy
Dollar General Bowl (8 p.m. ET, ESPN): Ohio vs. Troy

Saturday, Dec. 24
Hawai’i Bowl (8 p.m. ET, ESPN): Hawaii vs. Middle Tennessee

Monday, Dec. 26
St. Petersburg Bowl (11 a.m. ET, ESPN): Mississippi State vs. Miami (Ohio)
Quick Lane Bowl (2:30 p.m. ET, ESPN): Boston College vs. Maryland
Camping World Independence Bowl (5 p.m. ET, ESPN2): NC State vs. Vanderbilt

Tuesday, Dec. 27
Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl (noon ET, ESPN): Army vs. North Texas
Military Bowl presented by Northrop Grumman (3:30 p.m. ET, ESPN): No. 24 Temple vs. Wake Forest
National Funding Holiday Bowl (7 p.m. ET, ESPN): Washington State vs. Minnesota
Motel 6 Cactus Bowl (10:15 p.m. ET, ESPN): Boise State vs. Baylor

Wednesday, Dec. 28
New Era Pinstripe Bowl (2 p.m. ET, ESPN): No. 23 Pittsburgh vs. Northwestern
Russell Athletic Bowl (5:30 p.m. ET, ESPN): No. 16 West Virginia vs. Miami
Foster Farms Bowl (8:30 p.m. ET, FOX): Indiana vs. No. 19 Utah
AdvoCare V100 Texas Bowl (9 p.m. ET, ESPN): Texas A&M vs. Kansas State

Thursday, Dec. 29
Birmingham Bowl (2 p.m. ET, ESPN): South Florida vs. South Carolina
Belk Bowl (5:30 p.m. ET, ESPN): Arkansas vs. No. 22 Virginia Tech
Valero Alamo Bowl (9 p.m. ET, ESPN): No. 10 Colorado vs. No. 12 Oklahoma State

Friday, Dec. 30
AutoZone Liberty Bowl (noon ET, ESPN): TCU vs. Georgia
Hyundai Sun Bowl (2 p.m. ET, CBS): No. 18 Stanford vs. North Carolina
Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl (3:30 p.m. ET, ESPN): No. 21 Tennessee vs. Nebraska
Nova Home Loans Arizona Bowl (5:30 p.m. ET, Campus Insiders): South Alabama vs. Air Force
Capital One Orange Bowl (8 p.m. ET, ESPN): No. 6 Michigan vs. No. 11 Florida State

Saturday, Dec. 31
Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl (11 a.m. ET, ABC): No. 20 LSU vs. No. 13 Louisville
TaxSlayer Bowl (11 a.m. ET, ESPN): Georgia Tech vs. Kentucky
CFP Semifinal at Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl (3 p.m. ET, ESPN): No. 4 Washington vs. No. 1 Alabama
CFP Semifinal at PlayStation Fiesta Bowl (7 p.m. ET, ESPN): No. 3 Ohio State vs. No. 2 Clemson

Monday, Jan. 2
Outback Bowl (1 p.m. ET, ABC): No. 17 Florida vs. Iowa
Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic (1 p.m. ET, ESPN): No. 15 Western Michigan vs. No. 8 Wisconsin
Rose Bowl Game presented by Northwestern Mutual (5 p.m. ET, ESPN): No. 9 USC vs. No. 5 Penn State
Allstate Sugar Bowl (8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN): No. 14 Auburn vs. No. 7 Oklahoma

Monday, Jan. 9
College Football Playoff National Championship (8 p.m. ET, ESPN): ALA/WASH vs. CLEM/OSU