BOISE — Maybe it is an act of gamesmanship, or maybe he genuinely has not made up his mind, but University of Toledo coach Matt Campbell is not ready to announce a starting quarterback.
Terrance Owens and Austin Dantin both received reps with the first-team offense this week, Campbell said Thursday, adding the coaching staff will gather today to determine a starter for the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.
"I’d expect both to play in the football game Saturday," Campbell said.
It seems fitting this competition, which has spanned the better part of four seasons, will extend to the last point possible. Dantin, a senior who will bid farewell to the program after Saturday, started the first and final games of the regular season but none of the 10 in between after Owens seized control.
Whether Dantin’s five-touchdown showing last month against Akron proves to be a statement profound enough to earn him the start remains a mystery. Owens, who sat out that game with an ankle injury, should be ready to go against a Utah State defense that ranks among the best in the nation.
Aggies coach Gary Andersen sounded indifferent when answering a question about preparing for two quarterbacks, noting he does not detect a drastic change in the style of offense when either is on the field.
"Which is a credit to good coaches and quality players that can adjust to the scheme," Andersen said.
Cornerback Will Davis said he has studied the most film on Owens, who was excellent in last year’s Military Bowl, completing 19 of 24 pass attempts for 210 yards and three scores.
No matter the outcome of Campbell’s decision, Saturday’s game will spell the end of the perpetual competition between the signal callers, who took turns helping Toledo win 26 games the past three years. Owens, who redshirted his first year when Dantin played in a reserve role, is a slam dunk to start in 2013.
RAIDER PRIDE: This marks a historic weekend for the Mount Union football program, both for its current players and some of its alumni. Today, the Purple Raiders will try to win their 11th Stagg Bowl — the Division III national title game — against University of St. Thomas (Minn.) in a game Campbell and three of his assistants hope to watch on TV.
Campbell, offensive coordinator Jason Candle, offensive line coach Tom Manning, and special teams coordinator Stan Watson all played for and coached at Mount Union. On Sunday, former Purple Raiders receiver Pierre Garcon will return to northeast Ohio when the Washington Redskins take on the Cleveland Browns.
"We’ve got a lot of pride this weekend, and hopefully it’s a weekend that’s successful for all of us," Campbell said.
CAMPBELL A CANDIDATE? On Thursday the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez is interested in interviewing Campbell about the school’s head coaching position.
Campbell did not have much to say when asked if he and Alvarez are scheduled to meet.
"I have no comment on that," Campbell said. "My sole focus from the time we heard about this bowl game is winning this football game."
NO BOWL BETS: A year ago Andersen made good on a promise to his team to get a tattoo if Utah State made it to a bowl game. An Aggies logo is now seared on the back of his shoulder. In perhaps a reflection of heightened expectations for the program, Andersen did not negotiate a bet this year.
"Maybe the head coach grew up past this," Andersen said, before adding, "the wife probably took care of that one too."