Photo courtesy Bruce Mann
Heartbreak. It’s been the theme of the 2011 season and Saturday afternoon wasn’t any different. Kicker Trey Farquhar scuffed a 52-yard field goal as the clock ticked down to zero, sending the Idaho Vandals to their sixth consecutive loss, a 16-14 decision.
Although Taylor Davis got the start at quarterback, Brian Reader was back in the game late in the fourth quarter. After completing two consecutive passes Reader threw into coverage and Aaron Brown picked the ball off on the Hawaii five-yard line.
The hosts remained on top 14-13, when Hawaii initiated their 67-yard drive, which ended with a 35-yard field goal gave the Warriors a two-point lead. With 32 seconds remaining, Reader completed consecutive passes to Kama Bailey and Landon Weaver but missed a wide open Michael LaGrone down field.
Forced to convert a 53-yard field goal, Farquhar stepped up and launched a rocket, which flew wide left of the goal post.
“Again, I’m talking about one play,” coach Robb Akey said. “It’s like a broken record and it’s painful. But we’re going to continue to come and work and it ain’t going to break us it ain’t going to break me. I had all the confidence in the world we’d finish this one, we had every opportunity to finish this one.”
The Vandals, now 1-7 and 0-4 in the WAC, led midway through the first quarter when Hawaii forced running back Princeton McCarty to fumble at the one-yard line. Offensive lineman Matt Cleveland reacted and scooped up the loose ball in the end zone.
Hawaii responded in the second quarter when quarterback Bryant Moniz found a wide open Billy Ray Stutzman in the end zone. The Warriors took a six-point lead following two field goals.
The Vandal defense had been pressuring Moniz all game and capitalized on Benson Mayowa’s forced fumble, which bounced directly into the hands of Tracy Carter who returned it 7o yards for the touchdown.
“We work pass rush in practice every day. We came out and fought hard with them, they worked us hard,” linebacker Korey Toomer said. “As a defense in pass rushing those guys, we were working the edges, we did as much as we could, we fought hard.”
Immediately after the play, defensive lineman QuayShawne Buckley head butted Carter, who may have suffered a head injury as a result, and was unavailable for the remainder of the game.
“Kid loves to celebrate,” Toomer said of Buckley. “He loves to be around his teammates and he celebrates a little different than everybody else so Tracy’s okay and we got a touchdown on defense.”
Moniz, who has been labeled as a 2011 Heisman candidate, was sacked six times and turned the ball over twice.
Nevertheless, the offense couldn’t ignite any sort of a spark and the defense allowed the Warriors a chip shot field goal while the special teams unit and Farquhar couldn’t knock in their own.
“I mean you look at this team, they play hard, they play with passion, they play physical I mean dadgum, now we need to make more plays,” Akey said. “I’m not saying we’re playing great but we’re doing those things, that means they’re laying it on the line. I feel sick for those kids, I want to see them be rewarded.”
Starting Davis was a decision that Akey made earlier this week in practice, and one that was based off of the Vandals’ desire for an offensive spark. Though the sophomore commanded the offense fairly well, he only completed 6 of 17 passes for 33 yards, and threw for one interception.
Reader, who came in as a backup, was five for seven with 52 yards and one interception.
“It’s nice to be called on in that situation, it’s happened before it happened a couple of years ago when I was a backup the whole season and I guess I had experience being a backup in that situation and I felt like I was ready to go,” Reader said. “They trusted me to finish it off there and I missed it by an inch again.”
Akey didn’t indicate who would be starting next week against San Jose State but did state that practice would be closed off again to media and the public so players can focus on next Saturday’s task instead of reminiscing about Saturday’s loss.
Justin Veltung, Armauni Johnson and Carter all left the game with minor injuries, which have yet to be evaluated.
Photo and story by Theo Lawson
Despite a sluggish start, the Vandal men’s basketball team overcame a sloppy first half and rolled the Evergreen State Geoducks in convincing fashion, 96-72 during a Friday night exhibition game in Memorial Gym.
Leading by only eleven points at halftime, Idaho was unable to contain the Geoducks’ three-point firing squad, which accounted for 21 of their first half points.
Evergreen St. notched six more three-pointers in the second half but the Vandal offense took over, scoring 65 second-half points all while holding their opponents to 39 percent from the field.
“I thought we played pretty hard, obviously we rebounded the ball very well,” coach Don Verlin said. “I played a lot of guys but they played hard and they did what we asked them to do.”
And rebound they did. The Vandals took advantage of a height-impaired Evergreen St. team and grabbed 68 total boards, 26 of them coming on the offensive side of the ball.
Still, the hosts had trouble guarding Geoduck forward Marice Tolliver who led all scorers with 26 points. The senior caught fire from beyond the arc and buried five threes while Julian Holliday followed closely behind with four threes and 19 points.
Verlin was less than pleased with his team’s lackadaisical defense.
“We gave them 13 threes and they scored 72 points, that’s not good enough to get it done any night in our league and probably not with anybody on our schedule so we’ve got to do a better job defensively,” he said.
Idaho utilized its height as an advantage and 6’8 junior college transfer Wendell Faines led Idaho with 19 points and five blocks while 6’10 center Kyle Barone trailed with 13 and 18 rebounds. 2011 Idaho 5A State Player of the Year Connor Hill tallied 13 points and was three for six from three-point land.
11 players found themselves on the score sheet and the Vandal bench, headed by Faines and Hill, combined for 62 points.
Evergreen State on the other hand, used six players and only five found the score sheet.
Barone, a pre-season all-WAC nominee noted that the team’s height will be an asset to this year’s team.
“That’s going to help us out a lot, we have more big guys than we did last year and they can score the ball down low very well and that’s definitely going to carry on through to league,” Barone said.
Two Idaho players, Mansa Habeeb and Djim Bandoumel weren’t available for Friday’s exhibition. Habeeb remains ineligible while Bandoumel was punished for showing up late to a team practice earlier this week.
While Idaho’s starting lineup consisted of five players who have at least one year of experience with the program, the five newcomers proved effective combining for 56 points.
Dazmond Starke, a 6’6 junior college transfer gave Idaho depth down low and finished the game with 12 points and nine rebounds. Freshman Xavier Bazile came off the bench to add nine points and four rebounds.
The gym reached its maximum decibel rate of the night when senior walk-on Sheridan Shayne found an open lane on a fast break and slammed it in with two minutes remaining in the game.
“It felt great, all my teammates were so hyped about it and I got it done,” Shayne, who finished with two points, one rebound and one assist, said.
Idaho host Willamette for one last exhibition match-up next Friday before opening the regular season at Long Beach State on Nov. 12.
Photo courtesy of Zach Edwards
Story by Kevin Bingaman
The Vandal volleyball team continued to dominate at home Thursday night when they beat La. Tech in straight sets.
The Vandals (12-11, 6-4 WAC) completed the season sweep over La. Tech (9-17, 0-9 WAC) with the win and snapped a two-match losing streak. La. Tech continued to struggle, remaining winless in conference play. Idaho coach Debbie Buchanan said it was an important win for her team.
“This was a huge win for us for a lot of reasons,” Buchanan said. “We want to solidify our spot in the WAC. We felt like we backed off this weekend. We struggled against San Jose State. That’s a loss that we think will hurt us.”
The Bulldogs hung in with Idaho through all three sets, keeping things close throughout the match, but each time Idaho was able to overcome La. Tech’s surges. Junior setter Ryann Carter said it wasn’t the best team performance, but a win is a win.
“I thought we could have done some things different,” Carter said. “I don’t think it’s bad, we did what we know we can do. We need to bring it even harder on Saturday.”
As well as Idaho has played at home, the road has continued to cause issues for the Vandals this season. The Vandals are currently third in the WAC and will have to find a way to get things done on the road if they want to keep that high position at their last three away matches.
With the win, Buchanan became Idaho’s all-time wins leader with 175, passing Tom Hilbert for the most. Buchanan said it’s an honor to have accomplished the feat.
“It’s an honor,” Buchanan said. “It’s really about the program and the kids. It’s a great honor along the way. It’s not anything like ‘oh I have to reach this,’ but it’s an honor.”
The Vandals will be back in Memorial Gym for their last home match of the season this Saturday when they play New Mexico State. The Aggies are currently second in the WAC. Carter said it’s going to be a highly emotional match that the team badly wants to win.
“At the beginning there’s going to be a lot of emotion,” Carter said. “I consider them (New Mexico State) one of our bigger rivals. They’re a tough team so we want it.
Eight returning players and six fresh faces make up the 2011-2012 men’s basketball team. A process in the making, coach Don Verlin is well aware of the talent this year’s team possesses. Whether they’ll be able to execute during the season opener next weekend against Evergreen State is another story. Nevertheless, Verlin provided us with insight into the composition of this year’s squad, one that he says could prove to be very competitive in the WAC this season.
Led Vandals in rebounding and led WAC in field goal percentage last season. Also a 2011-2012 all-league second team selection.
Verlin- “Kyle Barone is our best player and an unbelievable talent. I think he’s improved so much as a player and person”
Played in every game for the Vandals in 2010-2011 and led the WAC with a 2.20 assist-to-turnover ratio. Led Idaho in assists as a junior.
Verlin- “Landon Tatum is our team captain, he’s rock solid and he’s a wonderful, wonderful player.”
Redshirt freshman during the 2010-2011 season. Was a McDonald’s All-America nominee at West Valley high school in Yakima, Wash.
Verlin- “Competitor. Probably one of our fiercest competitors on the team and works like crazy every day to get better.”
Played in all 32 games as a true freshman last season. Ranked second on the team with a 37.5 percentage from beyond the arc.
Verlin- “Stephen has got a really good feel for the game and has the ability to get hot from three-point range.”
Idaho’s starting point guard every game last season. Led the WAC with an 86.9 shooting percentage from the free throw line.
Verlin- “Mr. Consistent. Every night you know what you’re going to get.”
Appeared in five games for the Vandals as a junior. Scored 14 points and snatched five rebounds against Eastern Oregon. Has appeared on the Canadian Men’s Development National Team.
Verlin- “Unbelievable athlete. You know he has the ability to make the unbelievable plays.”
2011 second team all-Arizona Community College Athletic Conference selection at Eastern Arizona college. Holds the ACCAC scoring record with 58 points in a win against Glensdale in 2009.
Verlin- “A round man to rebound. We recruited him to rebound the ball and he can do that.”
Appeared in 18 games as a redshirt freshman. Got action at Fresno State, and went 3-3 from the field with a career high six points and five rebounds in a 67-57 win.
Verlin- “Big, strong, physical. That’s all you can say about Joe. Joe’s just a horse inside and I’ve really been impressed with how hard he plays.”
Two-time first team all-Bay Valley Conference honoree at Yuba College from 2009-2011. Honorable mention all-state in 2011 despite suffering a season-altering leg injury.
Verlin- “He’s like a guy that does a great job playing but you don’t really realize it. Not a lot of flash but gets the job done.”
Joined the team as a walk-on after an open tryout and was originally used as a scout team player. Saw action in games at La. Tech and Hawaii but has yet to score for the Vandals.
Verlin- “Sheridan is Mr. Energy. Every day he brings energy and excitement to the team.”
Was a 2011 first team all-Narrows Bay League honoree after leading his team in scoring, averaging 22.4 points per game as a senior at Mt. Tacoma High School.
Verlin- “He’s a great athlete who has the ability to be an exceptional player.”
At Southeastern Iowa Community College Habeeb reached a NJCAA national semifinal round and fourth-place finish in 2011.
Verlin- “Can do it all. Can shoot it, can pass it, can handle it, can defend it.”
At Saddleback junior college Faines was named Southern California co-Player of the Year and helped lead his team to a state semifinal round.
Verlin- “Unbelievably physical around the floor. His physical side is tremendous and will certainly be a strength of ours.”
One of two Idaho natives on the roster. Was the Idaho 5A Player of the Year in 2011, averaging over 21 points per game and leading his team to a fourth-place finish in 2010-2011.
Verlin- “Three-point specialist, that’s what he’s here for. A hired gun. He’s going to get the chance to shoot the ball like Jeff did.”
Mugshot photos courtesy of media relations.
It’s bye week here in Moscow, and despite the sorrows we’re still feeling from Saturday’s heartbreaking loss; soccer, volleyball and tennis have given us reason to keep faith in the Mighty Vandals.
- The Vandal football team dropped it’s fifth straight in a 31-24 nailbiter to New Mexico State in Las Cruces.
- The Argonaut’s Sean Kramer looked at the Seattle Seahawks season and why the Puget Sound is no longer favoring the “Suck for Luck” campaign.
- And finally, we summed up the remainder of the weekend’s WAC games, which included a thriller in San Jose.
- Allison Walker of the women’s volleyball team took home WAC player of the Week honors and Kevin Bingaman gave us an inside scoop on the all-WAC honoree.
- Kevin also witnessed the team extend their current five-game winning streak Saturday night when they downed Fresno State.
- The Vandals came out of a southern roadtrip with a tie in Las Cruces, N.M. and a win against La. Tech in Ruston. Check Sean’s article to see who had to step into goal last weekend.
- The women fared well at the ITA Regional in Las Vegas, see how far Idaho’s top seeds advanced in Charles Crowley’s overview.
- The Outdoor Program will host a 72-mile bike trek this weekend, get all the information from The Argonaut’s Stephan Wiebe.
San Jose State-28 Hawaii-27
Only one word could describe this sloppy, scrappy Friday night affair in the San Francisco Bay Area. Turnover. There were 12 of them in the Warriors’ first conference loss of the season, six of them coming from interceptions. Following an early Hawaii touchdown, the Spartans would take over and control the second quarter, scoring 20 points from two touchdown runs from Chandler Jones and two field goals. Hawaii ruled the third, and took a one-point lead into the fourth quarter. Hawaii’s Joey Iosefa extended the visitors’ lead to seven but SJSU was determined to give the Spartan fans good reason to celebrate on Homecoming. SJSU’s Duke Ihenacho blocked the PAT and ran it back for two points, which would leave the Spartans at a five-point disadvantage. Jones and quarterback Matt Faulkner hooked up for a 36-yard touchdown pass with 36 seconds remaining to give SJSU a one-point lead. The clock ticked down to zero and the Spartan faithful stormed the field following SJSU’s second WAC win of the year, one more than they won throughout the entirety of conference play last season.
Nevada-49 University of New Mexico-7
It didn’t take long for Mackay Stadium in Reno to turn into a slaughterhouse Saturday, and the host Wolf Pack manhandled the winless Lobos. Nevada’s rushing game took command early on and the Wolf Pack found themselves ahead 14-0 in the first quarter after rushing touchdowns from Lampford Mark and Stefphon Jefferson. Quarterback Cody Fajardo threw for 200 yards, zero touchdowns and one interception but the freshman rushed for 86 yards and two touchdowns on 13 carries. Despite only 39 yards, Mark went for three touchdowns and the Wolf Pack offense had almost 600 total offensive yards against a helpless New Mexico squad. The Lobos didn’t score until late in the fourth quarter when Tarean Austin ran it in for a 17-yard touchdown. UNM quarterback B.R. Holbrook was held to 62 passing yards and he completed 40 percent of his passes. At .500, the Wolf Pack are 1-0 in the WAC and host Fresno State next weekend.
Fresno State-31 Utah State-21
The Bulldogs remain perfect in the WAC and overcame an early drought against a potent Utah State team on Saturday. Fresno State were victim to two long touchdowns early in the first quarter, a 47-yard touchdown pass to Michael Smith from Chuckie Keeton and a 57-yard touchdown run from Robert Turbin. Bulldog quarterback Derek Carr answered back with a 23-yard touchdown pass to Isiah Burse and a one-yard touchdown run, which set the teams even at 14. The lead would change twice more but Carr and Fresno were able to retain it in the fourth quarter following the sophomore’s 23-yard touchdown pass to Jalen Saunders. Robbie Rouse’s touchdown run extended the lead to 10 and USU were unable to threaten offensively in the fourth quarter, which would ultimately lead to a loss in their conference opener.
After falling behind two touchdowns, the mood in the Kibbie Dome was dampened yet again when wide receiver Marsel Posey left the game on a stretcher after running into the East end zone wall. The Vandals extended their current losing streak to four games, after dropping the Homecoming game to La. Tech 24-11 on Saturday.
“Very disappointed,” coach Robb Akey said. “The goal coming into this game was to get a winning streak started, getting ourselves to play the football that we can play and that certainly didn’t happen today.”
A defensive battle between the WAC opponents saw only 15 points scored in the first half and the only touchdown came from La. Tech’s Jay Dudley ran back an interception.
The Vandal defense proved a force to be reckoned with and late in the second quarter when defensive end Andre Ferguson brought down La. Tech running back Lennon Creer in the end zone for a safety.
Nevertheless, quarterback Brian Reader and the offense weren’t able to get things rolling and Idaho’s only other first half points came from a Trey Farquhar field goal.
“Some things weren’t falling all the way, I put a lot of this blame on myself, I need to play better, the team needs to play better,” Reader said. “The defense did a great job today, when they make stops we need to put points on the board. So once we start putting points on the board we’ll be a lot better off.”
Justin Veltung would finish with Idaho’s only touchdown, which came from a 81-yard punt return that saw the junior juke a few Bulldogs before burning down to the end zone to close the gap and leave La. Tech with a 13-point cushion.
Reader attempted to connect with Posey for the two-point conversion but the junior was unable to hold on and ran through the end zone into a set of curtains covering a metal wall. An ambulance and stretcher were brought onto the field but Posey’s status is yet to be fully determined.
“It looks very positive right now. He woke up and was fully able to move arms and legs so that’s very positive,” Akey said.
Less positive was Reader’s passing game, which took a turn for the worst as the senior went 19 for 47, completing 40 percent of his passes while throwing for three interceptions.
Though Reader had 244 passing yards, the inability to finish off drives led to 11 punts from Bobby Cowan.
“Losing four games in a row now, confidence starts to get lower and lower and lower especially after a game like that,” Reader said. “There’s no reason why that confidence can’t go back up, personally it’s got to go back up, as a leader on this team I have to show confidence.”
The Vandals’ rushing game was nearly inexistent and though running back Ryan Bass was in full uniform, the Arizona State transfer didn’t see any action. Princeton McCarty and Kama Bailey combined for 65 rushing yards on 20 carries, averaging less than 2.5 yards per carry.
The Bulldogs didn’t exactly have an offensive field day, and finished with 353 offensive yards. 18-year-old quarterback Nick Isham was sacked three times and was 25 for 39 with 163 passing yards.
La. Tech found a hole in the Vandals’ run defense and freshman running back Hunter Lee averaged almost five yards per carry, concluding with 135 rushing yards while Lennon Creer rushed for 55 yards on 12 carries.
Linebacker Korey Toomer tallied two sacks and 10 tackles but despite another strong defensive showing, frustration lingers.
“There’s always going to be frustration, but what we do on defense is rally around our offense, we’re going to pat them on the back and tell them to come on,” Toomer said. “We’re going to get them back on the field every time, that’s the way our defense is. We execute and we go out there and get them back on the field, that’s our job.”
The offense hasn’t scored in regulation for two games now and Akey welcomed the idea of giving sophomore quarterback Taylor Davis playing time in the wake of Reader’s current slump.
Idaho travel to Las Cruces, N.M. next weekend for a 5:00 P.M. match-up with WAC foe New Mexico State.