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Know a Foe – Week 7 – Keeping it La. Technical

18 Oct

The Idaho football program is being backed in to a cliff, and one more step back will push it all over the edge. Idaho sits at 1-6 and one more loss means Idaho will go bowl-less for a third consecutive season. The first game with backs against the wall happens to come at 5-1 Louisiana Tech, the team that lost to No. 18 Texas A&M by two points last weekend in Shreveport, La.

Though it’s not as if Idaho hasn’t had to travel long distances to face tough competition this season. This is Idaho’s fifth trip of the season to Texas or further east.

The challenge? Stopping La. Tech’s offense. Check that, the impossibility is stopping La. Tech’s offense. The Bulldogs have the number one offense in the country at 53.8 points-per-game. Their lowest scoring output was in a 44-38 win at Illinois. On top of that, La. Tech has only turned the ball over four times all season, three of them coming at Illinois.

There is a glimmer of hope, and that comes when Idaho will be on offense. La. Tech has a bottom-five defense in the country at No. 117. This is the week where Idaho can, and will have to, get its offense back on track. The running game got back on track last week at Texas State, though this will need to be the week where Idaho needs to operates its methodical offense on all-cylinders.

The most effective way to play defense against La. Tech is for Idaho’s offense to stay on the field, as cliche as it sounds. Methodical drives have been an issue for the Vandals. Both of Idaho’s touchdowns against New Mexico State were set up off of turnovers, while Idaho’s one touchdown at Texas State was set up with big plays. Idaho has struggled when its been forced to drive the length of the field and consistently convert third downs (10-28 the last two weeks).

And well, if nothing else, Idaho has little to lose this weekend.

Necessary Links

Here’s Theo Lawson’s preview in today’s issue of The Argonaut, in which he talks with cornerback Aaron Grymes and wide receiver Mike Scott about the power that is the La. Tech offense and the soft, fluffy bunny that is their defense

— Also in today’s issue of The Argonaut, I take a look at the program that La. Tech has built in Ruston and why they will continue to grow to bigger and better things — especially under the leadership of coach Sonny Dikes.

— Finally make sure to check back later for a full report of Idaho AD Rob Spear’s news conference regarding the 2013 independent schedule that is expected to be announced at 4:30 p.m. Friday.

Scouting report

Here’s our video scouting report for this weekend’s match-up.

Better Know a Foe – Week 6 – Welcoming alumni back to Moscow

4 Oct

Western Athletic Conference – Now accepting applications.

Welcome back to the hundreds, or thousands, of University of Idaho alumni making the trek back to the Palouse for the weekend. The weekend festivities will be plenty, though the one that we all specifically have our eyes on is of course the football game on Saturday.

Though, it may be safe to say that the football program saw better days while some of those alumni were in Moscow.

The Idaho football team that will greet the Homecoming crowd sit at an embarrassing 0-5. Getting blown out of the water in two money games, losing at home to an FCS school and relinquishing a fourth quarter lead to Wyoming to lose in overtime accentuate how the season has gone. Oh, yeah, there is that whole conference-less thing Idaho has going for it as well.

There is good news, however! That news comes in the form of Idaho’s opponent, the 1-4 New Mexico State Aggies, on a four game losing streak after winning their opener against Big Sky Sacramento State. They also are without a conference next season.

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Better Know a Foe – week 3 at LSU edition – Geaux Time

13 Sep

It’s anybody’s guess on what will terrify the Vandals most Saturday night when the team walks out of Tiger Stadium’s visitors tunnel – The 450-pound live Bengal tiger caged up on the sideline staring them in the face, or the No. 2 team in the country that demolished the Pac-12’s Washington Huskies by 38-points last week.

In the heart of the Bayou they call it Death Valley, where teams that come in dreaming of upsets and victory often leave mauled and demoralized. LSU has won 19-straight at Tiger Stadium.

Regardless, the Vandals are well aware of the challenge that awaits them there.

The LSU mascot, Mike VI. He’s cute.

“Everything we do has to be another notch higher, another speed. That’s what they’re really good at, speed,” center Mike Marboe said. “That’s the biggest thing preparation wise, everything they do…is so much faster than anything we’ve ever seen.”

Speed, indeed. That speed kept the usually potent Washington offense touchdown-less and held quarterback Keith Price to 4.4 yards per passing attempt. The beat down of the Huskies moved LSU to 2-0 on the year, and 2-0 at Tiger Stadium with an average margin of victory of 32.5 points. 

“They call it Death Valley for a couple reasons,” coach Robb Akey said. “I think a lot of people have lost a game before they ever go in there, and that’s talking about SEC teams.”

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Better know a Foe: Humanitarian Bowl rubber match – Week 2 at Bowling Green

6 Sep

The H-Bowl table at the Corner Club in Moscow

It was the two-point conversion that re-defined what football was at the University of Idaho. The standard to which coach Robb Akey’s program is held was set on December 30, 2009 when Nathan Enderle hit Preston Davis in the back of the endzone, and pandemonium ensued. The play spurred Idaho to a 43-42 victory in the Humanitarian Bowl over Bowling Green, its second bowl victory since becoming a Football Subdivision program. Continue reading

Better Know a Foe: Week 1 (Thursday) v. Eastern Washington Eagles

29 Aug

Desmond Trufant puts an end to a nightmare for UW fans

Take a good look at that picture. That is Washington cornerback Desmond Trufant hauling down an interception in the endzone to seal a 30-27 victory over Eastern Washington for the Huskies at Husky Stadium last year. The interception put an end to a nightmarish development for the Huskies, who legitimately looked like they could lose to the Big Sky program in the 2011 season opener for both teams.

Make no mistake about it, the Eagles played well enough to win that game. They looked the part of a team that was capable of going in to an FBS stadium and winning, and in all likelihood it’s the mindset the team had.

So how aware of that are the Vandals as the Eagles prepare to make the drive down from Cheney? Continue reading

Better Know a Foe: Bowling Green

29 Dec

BOISE — In our Humanitarian Bowl edition of Better Know a Foe, we talked with BJ Fischer of FalconBlog, which has been documenting Trials and Triumphs in the BGSU Falcon Nation since 2004 — we salute that kind of commitment to the alma mater!

We reciprocated over on FalconBlog with a Vandal Blog Swap.

Tell us about Bowling Green — football history, bowl history, etc.

Bowling Green has been playing football since 1910. During the 1950 and 60s we had a very strong program, winning the small college national title in 1959. The 70s, 80s and 90s saw on and off success, ending the decade with among the worst periods in the history of the program. Starting in 2001, the program turned around under the leadership of Urban Meyer and this continued for a couple years under his OC, Gregg Brandon. Brandon was let go last year, and replaced by Dave Clawson.

This is Bowling Green’s ninth bowl appearance, and BG is 4-4. The Falcons have won four of their last five. However, no conversation about BG’s bowl history would be complete without a couple of disaster stories. The first was in 1985 when BG was undefeated but Coach Denny Stolz took another job the week of bowl prep. Stolz, his assistants, and his entire team apparently had their mind on other things as Fresno State beat BG 51-7. Then, in 2008, BG went to Mobile for the GMAC Bowl, playing Tulsa. Despite a seemingly even matchup, BG never showed up and was beaten 63-7, the worst defeat ever in bowl history.

How do Bowling Green fans view this bowl/matchup – is it a ho-hum affair or a pretty solid game from your perspective?

Bowling Green fans are excited about being in a bowl game this year. To come off a 6-6 season with a new coach, and actually get better and earn post-season play is a nice reward for our team. I especially feel good for our seniors, who are getting the opportunity to play in a bowl game after toiling in an underachieving system.

We certainly understand that it is a “see your breath bowl” and not in a glamorous warm weather climate. (Other MAC tie-ins include Toronto and Detroit, so, you know…). We have a cohesive team and they are happy to have been able to stay together for another month to prepare for this game.

We are also looking forward to playing Idaho, which presents a nice challenge to us.

Freddie Barnes — an unreal individual performance this season. What’s he been like to watch and how key will his play be?

It has been a true honor to watch Freddie Barnes this year. I was at the Catch-22 game where he nabbed 22 passes, and it was simply an incredible performance. Obviously, teams know that we are looking to get him the ball, and yet he can still get open. He gets a lot of credit for this… he is a smart player who knows how to find open spaces against almost any defense. Also, our unheralded OC Warren Ruggerio has done a great job moving Freddie around to find him space.

One misconception people have is that Barnes is some kind of system creature. Yes, he does catch the occasional bubble screen, but most of his catches have been downfield, and he has made some huge plays, earning key first downs and touchdowns with hard running after the catch. He delivered a withering stiff arm to help spark a miracle comeback against Kent and he scored the winning TD in the last minute against Buffalo. He is a true football player.

Offensively, who are the Falcons’ playmakers and what lineups should we look for?

Well, aside from Barnes, the next key playmaker is senior QB Tyler Sheehan. Sheehan has a great senior season, and was the second best QB in the conference, after Dan LeFevour. While BG’s running game has struggled most of the year, Willie Geter is a great playmaker and can catch the ball as well. Jimmy Sheidler is dangerous at TE as well.

BG plays a lot of multi-receiver sets, however, is no longer a pure spread team. Coach Clawson says he is not a “system” guy, and will do whatever is needed to get the ball to playmakers in space, and that’s what you should look for.

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Better Know a Foe: Utah State

27 Nov

With football back in action, so is Better Know a Foe! Logan Herald-Journal beat writer Wade Denniston is this week’s victim, as we quizzed him about the rebuilding Utah State Aggies.

It’s been a tough first season for Gary Andersen and Utah State but there’s been flashes of promise — what’s the mindset in Aggieland?

You’re right, it has been a tough season for the Aggies as far as wins and losses. But, they’ve made so much progress and the product on the field is much better. Thanks to Andersen, there is new life in this program. Honestly, the Aggies are 7-10 plays away from possibly being bowl eligible this season. In seven of their eight losses, they were ahead at one time in the game. Three losses have been by four points or less. Compared to year’s past, the future seems bright for the Aggies, which is quite refreshing.

How big would a season-closing win on the road be?

It would be huge. Not only would it give the Aggies a lot of momentum heading into the offseason, but it would also snap a 12-game road losing streak for them.

Robert Turbin — does he not get the national cred he should because of the Aggies’ struggles?

Turbin probably doesn’t get the national cred due to the fact of Boise State. When people think of the WAC, BSU is more than likely the first thing that pops into their mind, and deservedly so. Turbin was recently awarded a helmet sticker by ESPN.com, so his name is definitely out there. And, he had a pretty good showing on national TV against BSU, which was a positive for him and Utah State.

Who are the key playmakers for Utah State on offense and defense?

Junior quarterback Diondre Borel and sophomore running back Robert Turbin make a nice one-two punch for the Aggies on the offensive side of the ball. Borel ranks first in the WAC and 19th in the nation in total offense, while Turbin is third in the WAC and 22nd in the nation in rushing.

Defensively, sophomore linebacker Bobby Wagner has proven to be the playmaker on that side of the ball for USU. He’s currently locked in a nice battle with the Vandals’ Shiloh Keo for leading tackler in the WAC.

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Better Know a Foe: Boise State

14 Nov

BOISE — In this week’s belated edition of Better Know a Foe, we’ve got Kevan Lee of One Bronco Nation Under God.

Across college sports, regional rivalries are huge deals. No matter how people on either side want to spin it, Boise State and Idaho are and will remain vicious rivals. That’s a good thing for both schools, in my opinion. Agree or disagree?

I think rivalries are great. I love, love, love hating on another team. As a fan, it doesn’t get any better than rivalry week, so for that reason alone I think the Idaho – Boise State rivalry is a good thing. The Broncos simply don’t have the history with other schools that they do with Idaho. That makes a big difference when you’re talking about true, authentic rivalries.

Of course, Idaho being competitive this year certainly makes the rivalry better. I’d like to see both schools capitalize on this year’s reignited rivalry by scheduling Broncos-Vandals on opening week next season. Both teams have an open date, if I’m not mistaken. Sometimes I feel that the rivalry has become more about Idaho fans versus Boise State fans (which wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing), but hearing about Boise State’s practices this week assured me that the players take this rivalry serious, too.

What’s the Boise State take on what Robb Akey’s done to the Vandal program this year?

Ambivalence, bordering on disbelief. I really don’t have a way of explaining what Akey’s done to the Vandals, so I’m taking the wait and see approach: Waiting for the Vandals to return to normal next year so I don’t have to fathom a world where Akey is competent head coach material. Whatever he’s done this year is certainly commendable. Most Bronco fans, including untrusting old me, would like to see him do it again before we start thinking too highly of the guy.

Kellen Moore: Heisman candidate. Give us your pitch, why should he be considered the best player in college football?

He’s consistent, he’s prolific, and he’s leading an undefeated team for the second year in a row. As much as the Heisman isn’t supposed to be a career achievement award, it more often than not becomes just that, so Moore’s chances will only improve in the coming years. Right now though, he is one of the most consistent players in college football and he plays on one of the best teams in college football. Would Boise State be as successful without him? Probably not. How many other top college QBs are having their best seasons? Not many.

That said, he’s not winning the Heisman. Sensible Bronco fans are just hoping he gets invited to the ceremonies.

The Broncos are undefeated, but it seems like they’re leaving teams in games far longer than they could be. See Tulsa, Louisiana Tech… hell, any number of games. Is that some weakness of the team, or is it just the other teams playing tough? Could that hurt them this week?

I’d rather you didn’t bring this up. The topic of Boise State closing out games is a sore one for me. Yes, the Broncos are an excellent team. Yes, they are capable of blowing out most every opponent on their schedule. But for some reason, it hasn’t come together yet for them. Red zone difficulties are a big reason why. Having a target on their back is another. However, I think the biggest reason might be that this team is just so young. With more experience, the Broncos will learn to put teams away for good rather than let them hang around and make the final score a lot closer than it needs to be.

I’m not overly concerned about the Broncos letting their propensity for close games come back to bite them this week against the Vandals because Boise State has proven that even when it does give back a big lead, it knows how to hold on for the win. The most concerning part is that Idaho has been scary good at coming back this season. On more than one occasion, they were well on their way to a blowout or a loss, but they found a way to close the gap. For that reason alone, Saturday’s game could end up being close, but I don’t think the Vandals have what it takes to come back to win against the Broncos and the Broncos have yet to show that they have what it takes to blow a big lead and lose.

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Better Know a Foe: Fresno State

5 Nov

Better Know a Foe is back! After taking a week off for the Louisiana Tech game, we hooked up with Fresno Bee beat writer Daniel Lyght to get his insights into the Fresno State Bulldogs.

Fresno State had a ridiculously tough start to the season, with tough non-con games and then Boise State. Is that paying dividends now that the WAC season is well underway and the Bulldogs are rolling?

It might be paying dividends in the sense that they now know they can play with anyone left on their schedule. They played Boise State, Cinci and Wisconsin tough, arguably the three toughest teams on their schedule, so that might have instilled confidence in the players.

Ryan Mathews — what makes him such a good RB and is there anything short of Kryptonite that can stop him?

He’s got breakaway speed, strength, vision, a lil bit of shake, the ability to quickly change directions, great balance, and a great stiff-arm. All he needs to do is stay durable.

Other than Mathews, who are the key playmakers for Fresno on offense and defense?

Well, QB Ryan Colburn has a strong arm and has proven to be a threat at points this year. Frosh RB Robbie Rouse is a really shifty back with a lot of jukes who can break some nice runs. Lonyae Miller is probably the fastest RB on the team, but his touches have been limited bc of Mathews’ breakout season and Rouse’s emergence.

Seyi Ajirotutu has proven to be the top receiving threat. He also led the team in receiving last season. He had a season-high seven catches for 124 yards last week. He’s about 6-foot-5 so he can cause some matchup issues on the perimeter and uses a nice stiff arm to pick up yards after the catch.

On defense, safety Lorne Bell’s a hitter. The star of the defense, though, has been DE Chris Carter. He has 9.5 TFL this season and draws the attention of the opposing teams in film study. He’s incredibly quick off the line and has a great speed rush.

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Better Know a Foe: Nevada

23 Oct

Yes, it’s that time again, when Vandal fans get to Better Know the team we’re playing on Saturday — the Nevada Wolf Pack.

Thanks to Dan Hinxman, Wolf Pack football beat writer for the Reno Gazette-Journal, for answering our questions this week.

The Wolf Pack had a pretty brutal start to the season, and it looked like things were going upside down… until that UNLV game. Since then, the Pistol has been on a roll. What’s changed?

Two things … one, they’re playing teams that they have a better chance of beating; and, two, they’re doing a better job of taking care of the ball and commiting fewer penalties. They were horrible in both areas the first two games.

The matchup clash is rather interesting – Nevada’s #1 rushing O against Idaho’s #1 rushing D, Idaho’s #2 passing O against Nevada’s #9 passing D. Who’s going to give?

Nevada gets the edge in rushing offense and Idaho gets the edge in passing offense. Nevada has shown it can run the ball against some very good teams; I don’t see that changing. They have struggled the last two years stopping the pass, even against fair passing teams. I see Idaho having success throwing the ball.

Idaho’s three-headed rushing monster (Woolridge/McCarty/Jackson) vs. Nevada’s three-headed rushing monster (Lippincott/Kaepernick/Ball) – which is the better package?

I give the edge to Nevada because Kaepernick gives them a more explosive element. Lippincott, Taua and Kaepernick average about 6.5 yards per carry. Idaho’s trio is in the 5.0 range. I know this, though. I wouldn’t want to have to tackle Woolridge.

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Better Know a Foe: Hawaii

16 Oct

Resuming our Better Know a Foe series of conversations with beat writers who cover the Vandals’ football opponents, today’s guest is Honolulu Advertiser columnist Ferd Lewis.

The Warriors are in a tough spot right now. What’s the mindset within the program and its fans?

UH is 2-3 and the math tells us the team needs to win five of its remaining eight games to nail down a berth in the hometown Sheraton Hawaii Bowl, the avowed goal. The problem is that half the road games still remain and the immediate lineup — at Idaho, home with Boise State and at Nevada — means they’ll be underdogs all three weeks. Coming off consecutive one-sided losses and with fading bowl hopes, there is a developing circle-the-wagons mindset and desperation for a win.

How much did losing Greg Alexander hurt the team?

By virtue of the way he finished last season and the manner in which he lit up Wazoo earlier this year, Greg Alexander was becoming the “franchise” for the passing game. His loss for the season was exacerbated by the loss of his backup, Brent Rausch, three weeks earlier.

Has Bryant Moniz performed about as well as could be expected from a third-string backup?

Moniz began as the fourth or fifth QB on the depth chart in the spring but was challenging for No. 2 when the season began. He has a good arm, is a quick study in the offense and lacks mostly experience.

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Better Know a Foe: Colorado State

2 Oct

We continue our Better Know a Foe series of conversations with beat writers who cover the Vandals’ opponents. With the Colorado State Rams coming to town tomorrow, Kelly Lyell of the hometown Fort Collins Coloradoan was gracious enough to answer our questions.

What’s the state of the Rams right now? CSU seemed to be off to a solid start before BYU pretty much took them to the cleaners last weekend. Was that simply a case of being overmatched talent-wise, or are there flaws that the near-upset by Weber State exposed and the Cougars exploited?

Three early mistakes that led to first-quarter touchdowns put CSU in an early 21-0 hole at BYU, yet they still made a game of it in the third quarter, cutting the lead to 28-17 at one point before a long BYU scoring drive did them in. The first two BYU touchdowns came on interceptions that bounced out of the hands of CSU’s leading receiver, Rashaun Greer, given the Cougars the ball deep in CSU territory each time, and then the Cougars blocked a punt, also deep in CSU territory.
It’s hard to say what the game might have been like had the Rams not fallen so far behind so early, because they did not appear to be overmatched too badly in the talent department.

Grant Stucker seems like a serviceable quarterback, but that 6-TD- to-5-INT stat is nagging. Were those fluky aberrations, or is he a pick-prone passer?

As I just noted, two of the interceptions were passes thrown right on the money that the team’s best receiver dropped. Stucker is a first-year starter and still shows it at times but appears to be maturing quickly as the season goes on. He was 31 of 51 for 372 yards and two TDs at BYU against a defense that knew he was going to have to pass frequently because of the big early deficit.

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Better Know a Foe: Northern Illinois

24 Sep

The Idaho Vandals head to DeKalb, Ill. this weekend, where they’ll face the Northern Illinois Huskies out of the MAC. Like the Vandals, the Huskies are 2-1 on the season, and are coming off a huge upset of the Big 10’s Purdue Boilermakers — only the program’s second win ever over a Big 10 team.

In 2007, the Huskies came to Moscow and left the Dome with a 42-35 victory — one of just two wins on the season.

To get the scoop on the 2009 version of the Huskies, we talked with Mike Breese, who writes at The Red and Black Attack.

How big is that win over Purdue?

The win at Purdue is definitely up there with the great all-time wins by Northern Illinois. Most importantly, it breathes a new life into these Huskies who don’t have to keep hearing about how great the 2003 season was anymore. It had been way too long since we beat a BCS team and this 2009 team wants to put their own mark on the program.

It seems like the Huskie offense is clicking on all cylinders, with 454 all-purpose yards vs. Purdue. What worked?

Running the ball and being efficient in the passing game. The Huskies ran the ball right at Purdue and were able to make some plays. The big guys in front really cleared some big holes. QB Chandler Harnish made all the necessary throws to keep drives going.

When the Huskies are on offense, what should we watch for and who are the key playmakers?

On offense, your eyes squarely should be on running backs Me’co Brown & Chad Spann. Me’co is the smaller, speedier guy that is our home-run threat. Spann is the guy that you will see if we need those short yards or if we are in redzone situations. At QB, Chandler Harnish throws a nice ball, can manage the game quite well and is a threat to run at any time. We throw the ball to any of the billion guys we have out there running routes. Our fullback is our leader in receiving yards.

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Better Know a Foe: San Diego State

18 Sep

In the third installment of our Better Know a Foe series, looking at the San Diego State Aztecs, we talked to Jeremy Mauss of the Mountain West Connection, an excellent blog which covers the whole MWC.

Vandal Nation: San Diego State has been stuck for many years at the bottom of the Mountain West. Their last winning record was in 1998, three coaches and a conference ago. Are they as much a drag on the MWC as we have been on the WAC?

Jeremy Mauss: Yes, they have been a drag on the Mountain West but they have a good quarterback with Ryan Lindley who started last year as a freshman and is very good. Brady Hoke looks to be getting the Aztecs in the right direction, but it will be next year before they challenge for a bowl game.

What’s been Brady Hoke’s impact on the Aztecs, and can he turn the program around?

It is hard to tell because all the practices have been closed to the media. However, he has put together a very good coaching staff with a former New Mexico head coach who is now the defensive coordinator, and then offensive coordinator Al Borges who came from Auburn. The team did not give up against UCLA and looks to be much improved from years past, but like I said before, it will be a year or two before they move up the MWC chain.

What can we expect from the Aztecs offense, and who are the key playmakers?

A lot of passing will be going on. Last year, Ryan Lindley was forced to pass a lot because the Aztecs were trailing, but he really is that good and completes passes for a high percentage. His favorite target is Vincent Brown, who has two touchdowns and 281 yards receving in only two games so far. Running back Brandon Sullivan was supposed to break out this year but so far he has been only average with just 136 yards in the two games, which includes an FCS opponent.  If Sullivan is able to get into a groove and have a good game running the ball then this Aztec offense has the possibility to be potent.

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Better Know a Foe: Washington

11 Sep

In this edition of Better Know a Foe, we asked longtime Seattle Post-Intelligencer sports journalist Jim Moore to tell us about the Washington Huskies.

Vandal Nation: After 15 straight losses, what’s the mindset of Huskies fans?

Jim Moore: Husky fans think the losing streak will end tomorrow. They don’t think Idaho will be much of a test. That’s the feeling I get around town. It’s pretty much based on the impressive performance they turned in during a 31-23 loss to LSU last week. People figure if they can hang with a team like that, they should be able to crush a team like the Vandals. I personally hope that’s not the case.

Is anyone on the Husky side predicting that it might be a close, hard-fought game, or is everyone dismissing the Vandals offhand?

I saw that a couple of guys at Dawgman.com, one of the main Husky fan websites, picked Washington to win but not cover the 21-point spread. And Bud Withers of the Seattle Times took Washington to win 38-20. I’m hoping for a 38-35 Idaho victory with Robb Akey leaving the field on his players’ shoulders but feeling like Washington will probably slop out a 14-point win.

How could the Huskies turn the game into a blowout?

They’ve got one of the best players in college football in my opinion in Jake Locker, who might throw for 300 yards and run for another 100 against the Vandals. He’s super fast for such a big kid. And James Johnson is a true freshman who’s an extraordinary receiver. The Huskies also have a game-breaker in RB Chris Polk. If the Vandals win, it’ll probably be in a high-scoring shootout.

How could the Huskies blow it?

I like answering this question better than the previous one. How can the Huskies blow it? It would be beautiful if they did, and it’s certainly possible. A team that has lost 15 in a row surely could lose 16 in a row. They haven’t proven that they know how to win.

I think a big key, and it’s probably cliche to say this but is really huge in this game, is for Idaho to win the toss, take the ball and score on its first drive to take the win-starved Husky fans out of the game a little bit. I tend to think that the atmosphere might be a little overwhelming for the Vandals unless that happens.

Then the Vandals need to just hang around. If they’re in the game in the fourth quarter, either within seven or tied or ahead by three, anything in that ballpark, the Huskies might start feeling like they’re going to blow it again. That would work to the Vandals’ advantage, and that’s what I’m hoping will happen.

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