Boise, Idaho — The Ohio Bobcats defeated the Nevada Wolf Pack (30-21) on January 3, 2020 at the Famous Idaho® Potato Bowl (FIPB) with a most fitting finish — dousing head coach Frank Solich with french fries. This year marks the first time since 2007 that the Famous Idaho® Potato Bowl was played after Christmas, and it was the first time Nevada (Mountain West Conference) played Ohio (Mid-American Conference). About two million folks around the country watched the game live on ESPN, streamed it, listened to it on ESPN radio or attended the game at Albertsons Stadium in Boise, Idaho.
“Every year the Famous Idaho® Potato Bowl generates more buzz than the previous year. Whether it’s the records set the during the game, the support of the outstanding NFL athletes who played in the bowl game while in college, or the crazy antics of the Idaho Potato Commission’s mascot, Spuddy Buddy, folks want to tune in and be a part of the hype,” explained Frank Muir, President & CEO, Idaho Potato Commission (IPC). “Recognizing the popularity of the bowl game, this year, for the first time, Boise State University allowed ESPN to replace its logo at midfield with the iconic Famous Idaho® Potato Bowl logo.”
For 23 years the FIPB has provided an opportunity for athletes to play their hearts out in front of a national audience, and the players never disappoint. Ohio quarterback Nathan Rourke, FIPB MVP, completed 9 of 17 passes for 144 yards, rushed 87 yards and rushed for one touchdown, tying the school career record of 49 touchdowns. Had he rushed for just one more touchdown he could have joined the elite group of college quarterbacks who have thrown for 50 touchdowns and rushed for 50 touchdowns. He came into the bowl game having already thrown 60 touchdown passes and rushed for 48 touchdowns. This elite group includes Tim Tebow, Lamar Jackson and Colin Kaepernick, who played in the FIPB for Nevada (when it was called the Humanitarian Bowl). This year three NFL players supported their alma maters by posting about the game on their Twitter and Instagram pages and giving a shout out to Idaho® potatoes.
- Nate Burleson | Nevada | Retired, NFL Announcer
- Terrell Basham | Ohio | NY Jets
- Austin Corbett | Nevada | Los Angeles Rams
The game also provides a unique opportunity to promote the IPC’s other important programs.
- The star of the IPC’s advertising campaign, the Big Idaho® Potato Truck, was parked amidst all the tailgating activities, providing a backdrop for thousands of selfies!
- Miss Idaho, Grace Zimmerman and Miss Idaho Outstanding Teen, Kaila Yacuk, greeted fans at the Big Idaho® Potato Truck.
- Governor Brad Little participated in the coin toss along with Frank Muir; Nick Blanksma, IPC Chairman; Spuddy Buddy; and Kevin McDonald, Executive Director of the FIPB.
- The IPC presented its long-time charity partner RODS, a non-profit organization that helps find homes in the U.S. for orphaned children in other countries with Down syndrome, an oversized check for $25,000. Frank Muir and Governor Little presented the check on the field during the second quarter to RODS General Manager, Alan Fulmer and a team of RODS supporters.
Additionally, as naming sponsor of the FIPB, the IPC logo and the “Grown in Idaho®” seal are just about everywhere. In fact, a recent article in the Produce Blue Book called the game, “ESPN’s 3-hour Idaho potato commercial.”
- Permanent signage in prominent locations throughout Albertsons Stadium
- Nine ESPN television and radio ads
- A 30-second welcome message from Frank Muir
- Several public address mentions and video board announcements
- Idaho® potato logos on the field, in the end zones and on the sidelines and fences
- Multiple mentions by the sportscasters
- Game day program advertising with the IPC logo on the cover and three-page spread
About the Idaho Potato Commission
Established in 1937, the Idaho Potato Commission (IPC) is a state agency that is responsible for promoting and protecting the famous “Grown in Idaho®” seal, a federally registered trademark that assures consumers they are purchasing genuine, top-quality Idaho® potatoes. Idaho’s growing season of warm days and cool nights, ample mountain-fed irrigation and rich volcanic soil, give Idaho® potatoes their unique texture, taste and dependable performance. These ideal growing conditions are what differentiate Idaho® potatoes from potatoes grown in other states. For more information, visit www.idahopotato.com