Tag Archives: Colorado State Rams

Good Morning Vandal Nation: Dec. 2, 2009

2 Dec

The day breaks with some local and national props for Idaho’s comeback football season, as ESPN’s Pat Forde and the Idaho Statesman both name Robb Akey their WAC Coach of the Year.

The Vandal women opened a four-game homestand on the wrong foot last night, falling to Colorado State, 65-55. They’ll hit the Memorial Gym hardwood again tomorrow against undefeated Wyoming.

There were two WAC men’s games last night and the conference went oh-fer at home — NMSU folded up like a house of cards against arch-rival UTEP, while Pacific upended Fresno State. A year that started with such promise for WAC hoops is looking grimmer by the day.

Now for the links:

Basketball

Football

  • ESPN’s Pat Forde bestows his WAC Coach of the Year crown on Robb Akey, after the third-year leader of the Vandals brought as many wins to Moscow this year as in the previous three season combined, plus the team’s first bowl since 1998. He also calls the Vandals’ last-minute comeback win over Louisiana Tech the conference’s Game of the Year.
  • The Idaho Statesman gets in on the action, saying of the Vandals’ turnaround, “Anyone outside of Moscow who says they saw this coming is lying.” Robb Akey is the Statesman’s WAC Coach of the Year, while NFL-bound guard Mike Iupati and do-everything safety Shiloh Keo get spots on their All-WAC Team.

Vandals come close, but can’t recover from early deficit

1 Dec

Coming off a road win, Idaho women’s basketball coach Jon Newlee expected his team to continue their new-found scoring and defensive effort. Newlee got his wish, but only after a sloppy first period doomed the Vandals’ chances of victory. Idaho fell to Colorado State, 65-55, in Memorial Gym.

“We lost the game in the first ten minutes,” Newlee said. “It’s frustrating — we lost track of their shooters and played tired.”

Idaho’s offensive struggles were on display early in the first half, shooting for 32 percent. The Vandals (1-6) managed to take the lead in the first minutes of the game, but a defensive collapse led to turnovers and fast-breaks which Colorado State (5-2) took full advantage of.

The Rams shot a staggering 55 percent from the floor, including sinking seven 3-pointers to put them up 41-26 at the end of the first half.

“We didn’t find their shooters, we didn’t sprint back in transition, and they were hitting wide open 3’s,” Newlee said. “When you go down 18, it’s a big hole to come back from.”

Despite the deficit, the Vandals came out charged and ready in the second half. Led by Yinka Olorunnife — who set a career record in blocks with 5 and contributed 9 points as well as 6 rebounds — Idaho rattled CSU into shooting just 21 percent from the floor in the second half.

Olorunnife took charge in the second half with aggressive play on both ends of the court. On defense, Olorunnife blocked five CSU shots, including a spectacular rejection of a 3-pointer late in the second half with the Vandals trailing by just two, which was met with loud cheers and a standing ovation from the crowd.

With strong defensive pressure, the Vandals pulled within two points with five minutes remaining, but ran out of steam in the final minutes, giving up back-to-back 3-pointers to CSU.

“We got aggressive and found their shooters, and got all the way back — we were right there, but then we give up two 3-pointers,” Newlee said. “We can’t take plays off, everybody has to contribute and everyone has to come ready to play — until we do that we aren’t going to get many wins.”

Newlee was particularly happy with Olorunnife’s performance in the game. She showed flashes of her old game, Newlee said, but rolled her ankle right when she was playing her best.

Olorunnife said she has been off her game lately, but was happy to get back into the groove.

“The first few games, I’ve been having a hard time,” Olorunnife said. “Things just weren’t going my way, but I finally relaxed and started to play basketball without thinking too much.”

Newlee was also impressed with Charlotte Otero’s performance, as well as three-point extraordinaire Bianca Cheever, who nailed 4 of 8 3-point attempts during the game.

The Vandals held Mountain West Conference-leading scorer Kim Mestdagh to only 11 points, but CSU did what good teams do and fielded other players to pick up the slack. With double-coverage on Mestdagh, CSU’s Bonnie Barbee found room to maneuver and made Idaho pay by going a lights-out 6-of-8 from downtown and putting up 20 points to lead the team.

Idaho was led by Rachele Kloke, who found room in the second half and put up 16 points to lead the comeback.

The second half showed Idaho’s talent, but Newlee said it’s hard to dig a hole and expect to come back from it.

Newlee will have one full day to motivate the team to a strong start against Wyoming, which comes into Memorial Gym unbeaten. Wyoming’s multi-pronged attack, led by four scorers averaging double-digit points per game, will be a huge test for an Idaho defense which has been enigmatic at times. It will be the fifth game for Idaho in seven days. That contest tips off Thursday at 7 p.m.

Colorado State 65, Idaho 55

1 Dec

It’s become a recurring theme for the Idaho Vandals, and not a positive one. The women’s hoopsters dug a 15-point hole in the first half of their game tonight against Colorado State and, despite a stifling defensive effort in the second period, couldn’t close it all the way back up. The Vandals fell to the Rams, 65-55, to go to 1-6 on the season.

We’ll have a complete postgame story from Ilya Pinchuk tonight, but for now, here’s video interviews with Idaho coach Jon Newlee and junior post Yinka Olorunnife.

Vandal Nation Live: Idaho vs. Colorado State

1 Dec

Jon Newlee’s Idaho Vandals open up a four-game homestand tonight against the 4-2 Colorado State Rams. There’s a huge opportunity for the Vandal women to break their early-season slump and get on a winning track, as Idaho got its first victory over the weekend in tournament play against Louisiana-Lafayette.

Vandal Nation Live will bring you all the action from courtside, with pregame coverage at 6:30 p.m., tip-off at 7. Join us for commentary, analysis and chat!

Click here to join Vandal Nation Live: Idaho vs. Colorado State!

Good Morning Vandal Nation: Dec. 1, 2009

1 Dec

It’s yet another Vandal Gameday morning here in Moscow, as Idaho’s women are set to begin an epic four-game non-conference homestand with a contest against the Mountain West’s Colorado State Rams. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. in Memorial Gym, and we’ll have all the action for you on Vandal Nation Live, with pregame starting at 6:30.

It’s been officially announced: Sunday’s game between #25 Portland and our Idaho Vandals will be in Memorial Gym. We strongly urge students to pick up their hard tickets ASAP, because seating is very limited and they’ll go fast. Stop at the Kibbie Dome ticket office and show your card to get yours. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity — the last time a nationally-ranked non-conference team traveled to Idaho was in 1963.

Now for the links:

Basketball

  • The Spartans put up a valiant fight against WCC powerhouse Saint Mary’s, but couldn’t quite seal the deal. Still, it’s another sign of improvement in San Jose. Spartan Hoops has the story.

Football

Midseason musings at midnight

11 Oct

The Vandals are halfway through their 12-game regular season, and that means this week is time for midseason report cards — which we’ll have as the week progresses.

But while working on the Western Athletic Conference basketball preview (which starts tomorrow), a few tidbits came to mind that just can’t wait.

Has any quarterback’s stock ever plunged so fast as Nate Enderle’s?
  • After enduring two awful seasons in which he had few viable receivers and no pass protection, Vandals starting signal-caller Nate Enderle started off this year looking like an entirely different player. He engineered the Vandals’ potent aerial assault and received national attention on ESPN’s College GameDay prior to a career-best performance against Colorado State. With eight touchdowns for just three picks, Nate was looking for all the world like one of the WAC’s best quarterbacks.
    Then on Saturday, Enderle had an admittedly horrible outing, throwing three interceptions and getting benched in favor of backup Brian Reader on the final, game-saving drive. Now, after he’s led Idaho to its best start in 15 years, the fans are once again calling for Nate’s job? Nonsense. He’s had one bad game out of six. Is our memory so short that we’ve forgotten who brought us where we are? With the record he’s built this season, Enderle deserves the benefit of the doubt.
Trey Farquhar: the unsung hero of San Jose
  • Lost in the euphoria of Saturday’s comeback win was an amazing — and game-changing — performance by freshman kicker Trey Farquhar. After a JoJo Dickson interception gave Idaho the ball with one second left in the first half, Farquhar banged a 52-yard field goal straight through the uprights as time expired. The kick not only tied for the eighth-longest field goal in Vandal history, it proved a crucial margin in the game’s final seconds.
    When San Jose State got the ball with 1:10 on the clock and one timeout, they trailed by five points. Instead of being able to push just into field goal range, the Spartans were forced to go for a touchdown. A deep Farquhar kickoff made SJSU start the drive 87 yards away from the end zone. That kind of desperation, all-pass situation set up by Farquhar’s two huge boots undoubtedly helped lead to Kenneth Patten’s game-ending interception.
Idaho can haz bowl game?
  • There are six games remaining on the Vandals’ schedule. Idaho must win at least one to become bowl-eligible; two victories would seal a late-December berth. The most likely candidate for an Idaho bowl is the game closest to home: the Roady’s Humanitarian Bowl in Boise on Dec. 30. The WAC also has tie-ins with the Hawaii, New Mexico and Poinsettia bowls, so they’re all possibilities too. Given the Treasure Valley’s large alumni base, though, it seems a foregone conclusion that bowl eligibility for the Vandals means New Year’s on the blue turf.
    The only monkey-wrench in the system would be if Boise State were to win the WAC but not be invited to a BCS bowl; they would then theoretically have first dibs on the H-Bowl. But the Broncos spurned an H-Bowl invite last year, shunning their hometown game in favor of the Poinsettia Bowl in sunny San Diego. There’s not much reason to think they’d want to play in it this year, either.

Vandal Spotlight: Max Komar

8 Oct
Courtesy UI Athletics

Max Komar

From walk-on to stand-out, wide receiver Max Komar has exploded to the forefront of the Idaho Vandals’ receiving corps in 2009-10.

In the first five games of his senior season, Komar, who hails from Auburn, Wash., leads the Vandals with 25 receptions for 408 yards and two touchdowns — nearly matching his career best of 445 before the year is even half-finished. Add in a couple kick returns and Komar has racked up 510 all-purpose yards, the most of any Vandal.

In the Vandals’ victory over Colorado State last Saturday, a game where Idaho’s rushing attack was mostly blunted, Komar came up huge — “Mad Max in the Thunderdome” wouldn’t be much of an overstatement. He led all players with 12 catches for 152 yards and a touchdown, setting a career-high in yardage.

We sat down with Max to talk about his breakout performances this season, the changes he’s seen through a 5-year tenure with the Idaho program and what’s behind the team’s unexpected surge to the front of the Western Athletic Conference pack.

You put in a career performance against the Rams when the team needed it most.

Yeah, my coaches told me before the game that I needed to step up with Daniel Hardy being out from an injury — he’s one of our better players on the offensive side. Coming in to the game I had this feeling that it would be a career night. I had all my friends and family from back home and I wanted to put on a good show.

I just got into a groove with Nate (Enderle). He kept finding me because I kept getting open and he kept throwing me the ball. In the second half we went to that two-minute, no-huddle offense and that helped a lot because we threw the ball on almost every play. That gave me a lot of opportunities to make catches. It was an amazing feeling out there, I looked up at the end of the game and thought ‘Wow, I had 12 catches?’ It didn’t really feel like that many, I thought it was 7 or 8.

What did it mean to you to be able to step up in that situation?

Being a senior, for me it’s about continuing to be better throughout my whole career. During the season I’ve seen myself keep improving. Against Washington, I set a career record with 111 yards. Now I beat that with 152. It’s nice to see that hard work and the time I spent perfecting my routes and working with Nate, it’s all paying off.

What was it like walking into the Dome and seeing it totally packed to the gills?

Wow, that was an amazing feeling. I want to thank our fans for that, I haven’t seen it like that in here for the four years I’ve been here, except for maybe Boise State. Seeing that for a regular season game is so great. It definitely helps us, you know. Colorado State had two or three offsides on offense and we’d like to thank our fans for making that happen. It’s a great feeling to represent your university in front of all those fans and make them proud. They’ve been waiting for a team to start winning games.

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Daniel Hardy looking good

7 Oct

Vandal wide receiver Daniel Hardy, who sat out last Saturday’s game vs. Colorado State with an abdominal injury, was back out on the practice field today running drills, albeit in a “no-contact” red jersey.

He looked good and, in one of the final reps of the day, made a beautiful one-fingertip catch that drew applause from the sidelines.

Coach Robb Akey is hopeful that he’ll be ready to play this weekend against San Jose State.

Good Morning Vandal Nation: Oct. 6, 2009

6 Oct

The 4-1 Idaho Vandals are in the national spotlight today as we post up our morning batch of links.

But it’s not just the revenue sports that are making noise. Idaho cross-country runner Teegan Schoch was named WAC Women’s Cross-Country Athlete of the Week today after a dominant performance at the Charles Bowles Willamette Invitational.

Football

Men’s basketball

Idaho finds redemption in the Dome

5 Oct

Nick Groff/Argonaut
Under the venerable arch of the Kibbie Dome, thousands of Idaho fans flooded the field Saturday night, joining Vandal players and coaches in turning the turf black.

The scoreboard read Vandals 31, Rams 29 — and the brutal years of futility, frustration and failure were being erased in one spontaneous moment of collective catharsis. As Vandal Nation celebrated together, a whole generation of students were learning to be proud of Idaho football again.

A sellout crowd of 16,000 (and a national television audience on ESPNU) had just witnessed the Vandals methodically claw back from a 14-point first quarter deficit to edge a 3-1 Colorado State squad that had stomped Nevada and Colorado and fallen just short at nationally-ranked BYU.

All had looked lost early on, after junior quarterback Nathan Enderle threw an interception in the end zone to set up the Rams’ first score, and a long punt return minutes later gave Colorado State perfect field position to go up 14-0 at the end of the first quarter. After putting together a 3-1 start, the team’s best in its FBS history, the Vandals appeared to be reverting to form. The college football punditry would, no doubt, have had a field day. “Idaho was a fluke,” they’d say. “It’s going to be another awful season in Moscow.”

Their skepticism is understandable. As one forum wag wrote, last year’s Idaho team “folded like a tent” at the slightest sign of adversity. Small early deficits routinely became blowout losses as the Vandals would go into panic mode — fumbling, throwing interceptions and generally looking more like a high school junior varsity squad than a team competing at the highest level of collegiate sports.

But this isn’t last year’s Idaho team.

Continue reading

Good Morning Vandal Nation: Oct. 5, 2009

5 Oct

Another day breaks in Moscow, and the college football world is beginning to realize that Idaho football is no joke, no fluke and no pushover.

The Vandals pulled down two WAC Football Player of the Week awards for the first time ever — defensive back Shiloh Keo and kicker Trey Farquhar were named defensive and special teams Player of the Week, respectively.

Football

Women’s soccer

Good Afternoon Vandal Nation: Oct. 4, 2009

4 Oct

It was a night of redemption in the Kibbie Dome for the Idaho Vandals and their fans, who stormed the field to celebrate together in a moment of collective catharsis.

The Vandals (4-1, 1-0 WAC) charged back from a 14-point first-quarter deficit to defeat the Colorado State Rams, 31-29, in front of a sellout crowd of 16,000. It’s a program-defining win that firmly establishes Idaho as a contender in the Western Athletic Conference and brings within reach the team’s first bowl berth since 1998.

Click here to view a replay of our live play-by-play coverage.

It’s been a great weekend for Idaho sports — on Friday, the women’s soccer team handed Louisiana Tech its first defeat of the season in Ruston, La. and earlier Saturday, the volleyball team opened at home with a 5-set victory over Fresno State with 1,401 fans in Memorial Gym. Today, the soccer team plays New Mexico State. Live stats are available here.

We’ll have more thoughts and reactions throughout the day, but let’s get right to the day’s links:

Football

  • Sandra Kelly of the Moscow-Pullman Daily News has her take on the game, focusing on Shiloh Keo’s game-sealing defensive plays.

Men’s basketball

Women’s soccer

Volleyball

Enderle goes aerial as Vandals upend Rams, 31-29

3 Oct

A capacity crowd stormed the Kibbie Dome field tonight after junior quarterback Nathan Enderle led the Idaho Vandals to a stirring comeback victory over Colorado State, 31-29. With the win, Idaho improved to 4-1 on the season — its best start since 1994.

The Vandals fell behind the Rams 14-0 after Enderle threw an interception in the end zone on the Vandals’ first drive. Idaho went into the locker room trailing by 10. But on the opening drive of the second half, Enderle engineered a length-of-the-field drive in just 90 seconds, finishing with a 45-yard touchdown strike to wide receiver Eric Greenwood. That brought Idaho within a field goal, and swung the game momentum for good.

“It really shows growth as a team for us to come back from behind like that,” Enderle said.

On the game, Enderle threw for 333 yards on 25-for-38 passing, three touchdowns and one interception.

Safety Shiloh Keo sealed the game by intercepting Ram quarterback Grant Stucker with 1:04 left to play. Keo also made two key special teams plays — stopping a two-point conversion try which would have tied the game and downing a Colorado State onside kick attempt.

“The first half was a struggle, but in the second half we decided to let loose and just rip on their secondary,” Greenwood said. “(The interception) wasn’t the best way to start a game, but we weren’t feeling too down because we saw that we could drive down on them.”

Greenwood, who hauled in six catches for 130 yards and two touchdowns, said the victory is a signal to the college football world, and to the 16,000 Vandal fans who packed the Dome: Idaho is for real.

“I’m tired of hearing about nothing but Boise State,” he said. “The fans deserve this. They came out, they have a lot of faith in us and we wanted to reward them.”

Wideout Max Komar pulled down a touchdown of his own, to go with a career-high 152 yards on 12 catches.

We’ll have much more in the morning. Check back!

Vandal Football Gameday: Colorado State

3 Oct

It’s Vandal Gameday for a 3-1 Idaho Vandals team. The last time that could be said? 1994!

Today, the Vandals square off against the 3-1 Colorado State Rams out of the Mountain West, in a nationally-televised prime-time showdown. The winner will be a shoo-in for a bowl bid — something the Vandals haven’t had since 1998.

Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. Pacific time in the Kibbie Dome. The game is aired live on ESPNU.

Click here to join us for live, play-by-play commentary and chat beginning at 6:45 p.m.

We’ll also have regular scoring updates on the Vandal Nation Twitter.

Pregame Roundup

In a blow to the Vandals’ receiving corps, tight end Daniel Hardy will sit out today’s game with a lacerated kidney he suffered in the win over Northern Illinois last week.

ESPN’s Lee Corso named Idaho QB Nathan Enderle his “Game Changer of the Week” on ESPN College GameDay. When’s the last time Idaho got props on College GameDay?

Here’s the Idaho official pregame notes and the Colorado State official pregame notes.

GoVandals.net has a comprehensive game preview and a handy depth chart.

The Argonaut also has a game preview and a commentary on this game’s key matchups.

We’ve got a Better Know a Foe on the Rams with The Coloradoan’s Kelly Lyell and spoke with the Mountain West Connection for Five Questions on the Vandals.

We also previewed every one of the WAC’s games today.

Lyell files from Moscow, reporting in The Coloradoan that the Rams need to take control early.

Saturday Sound-offs makes this game one of their upset specials for the week.

As we suspected, Utah State made a game of it early on, but the conference’s worst defense couldn’t stop the nationally-ranked Cougars. The Aggies fell to #20 BYU, 35-17.

WAC Football Preview: Oct. 2-3

2 Oct

There’s a full slate of Western Athletic Conference games today and tomorrow, so let’s get right to the previews. Hawaii opened its conference season with a blowout loss at Louisiana Tech on Wednesday night. All the other WAC teams are in non-conference action.

Today’s game (all times Pacific):

Utah State (1-2) at #20 BYU (3-1), 6 p.m.

You’ve got to hand it to the Aggies — they don’t lack for strength of schedule. Their non-conference slate: at Utah, at Texas A&M, vs. Southern Utah, at BYU. Unfortunately for Utah State fans, that gumption is likely to mean the Aggies open their season with a 1-3 record.

The Cougars are just too big, too fast and too talented for Utah State to handle. The Aggies’ only hope is for BYU’s senior quarterback, Max Hall, to have a meltdown and start tossing picks left and right. That’s not as forlorn a hope as one might think, though — Hall has thrown 8 TDs and 8 INTs on the season.

Even so, the Cougars are still sore from an ugly loss to Florida State that may have erased any hopes they had of bidding for the national title game. They slipped even further in the national standings after a less-than-impressive (but still big) win over Colorado State last week. The Aggies are visiting Provo at perhaps the worst possible moment. BYU will be intent on taking control from the opening kickoff and never letting go.

There’s no such thing as an Aggie team that doesn’t fight, though, and Utah State certainly has the weapons to make a game of it. Running back Robert Turbin has sprinted for more than 100 yards in each of the season’s first three games, while quarterback Diondre Borel has tossed for nearly 800 yards with just one pick. Unfortunately, the Aggie defense has been awful, with a conference-worst 38 points allowed per game. The Cougars are likely to exploit that at will.

Saturday’s games (all times Pacific):

UNLV (2-2) at Nevada (0-3), 1:05 p.m.

It’s been a dreadful start to the season for the Wolf Pack — picked to contend for the conference title, they’ve instead lost three straight to open the season for the first time since 1999. Now Nevada has a home rivalry game that could either turn the season around or send it into an unrecoverable tailspin. The Rebels, on the other hand, are chasing their first winning season since 2002 and a win over the Pack on enemy territory would be an enormous boost to those hopes.

Chris Ault’s once-vaunted “pistol” offense has looked more like a popgun so far, scoring just 41 points in three games — second-worst in the WAC, barely ahead of woeful San Jose State. The Pack have been blanked by Notre Dame, 35-0, handled by Colorado State, 35-20, and stopped by Missouri, 31-21. Colin Kaepernick has thrown four picks and just two touchdowns.

The good news, if one can call it that, is that Nevada has looked better with each game and UNLV is probably their weakest opponent yet. The Rebels’ only FBS win so far was a squeaker over Hawaii, and after Louisiana Tech dismantled the Warriors on Wednesday night, that victory doesn’t impress much. But at the same time, UNLV’s two losses have come by a combined five points to quality programs and quarterback Omar Clayton is just 17 short of 1,000 yards passing in only four games.

Next week, Nevada faces a tough test against that same ground-pounding Louisiana Tech team. If the Wolf Pack can’t take down the Rebels, just getting to bowl eligibility will begin to look like a longshot — and Ault’s job will look tenuous, at best.

New Mexico State (2-2) at San Diego State (1-3), 5 p.m.

The WAC’s other Aggies mercifully escaped national Pillow Fight of the Week status this time around, but only just. Both teams have lost to Idaho (when’s the last time that could be said about an FBS game?) and the Aztecs in particular need some home cooking. SDSU’s only win came over FCS Southern Utah, and they’ve been dominated by all three FBS opponents — losing by 19, 14 and 12 points to UCLA, Idaho and Air Force, respectively.

Aztec quarterback Ryan Lindley has been awful, throwing 8 interceptions for just 7 touchdowns, and he has just one reliable target — Vincent Brown. Hauling in nearly half of San Diego State’s catches, Brown has 547 yards and 5 touchdowns and could be playing on Sundays down the road, but if he’s shut down by the Aggie secondary, Lindley doesn’t have many other options.

New Mexico State, on the other hand, is looking to build momentum after beating in-state rival New Mexico on the road for their first victory over an FBS squad. Admittedly, the Lobos are one of the worst teams in the FBS — but San Diego State isn’t much better. A win for the Aggies could cement the bottom of the WAC as better than the bottom of the MWC.

With what BleedCrimson.net blogger Samuel Wasson called “the reverse air raid,” the Aggies have gone to a rush-rush-rush offensive set powered by breakout sophomore Seth Smith. He’s rushed for 379 yards but no touchdowns — and not surprisingly, as a result NMSU has one of the WAC’s poorer red zone offensive records. If he can finally punch into the end zone a couple times this week, New Mexico State should be looking good for its third win.

UC Davis (1-2) at #5 Boise State (4-0), 5 p.m.

There’s really nothing to say about this game, a throwaway creampuff the Broncos tacked on their schedule to take advantage of the Hawaii exemption. The only drama will revolve around how early Chris Peterson will pull his starters, or the not insubstantial chance that a key Boise State player gets hurt. If starting quarterback Kellen Moore pops his ACL and goes down for the season, the decision to play this cash-grab game will be second-guessed around the nation.

Colorado State (3-1) at Idaho (3-1), 7:30 p.m.

The most interesting game of the day involving a WAC team, hands-down. The Rams and the Vandals are each 3-1 teams, each are looking to solidify potential bowl eligibility and each have something to prove. After upsetting heavily-favored Northern Illinois on the road last week, Idaho is looking to use this nationally-televised showcase to firmly establish itself as a WAC contender. Colorado State, coming off its first loss of the season to nationally-ranked BYU, could use the momentum heading into the meat of its Mountain West schedule.

The Vandals’ remarkable start has been powered by a balanced offensive attack and backed up by the WAC’s best rushing defense. Quarterback Nathan Enderle has silenced his critics with a series of strong and smart performances — he hasn’t thrown a pick since Week 2, and last week at Northern Illinois he tossed 18-of-23 for 270 yards and three touchdowns. On the ground, DeMaundray Woolridge has been a revelation — dubbed a “bowling ball,” Woolridge simply will not go down on the first touch. He’s smashed his way down the field for 295 yards and five touchdowns — an average of 7 yards per carry.

Colorado State’s three wins look impressive (and they’re a strong team, no doubt) but underneath there’s cause for concern. FCS Weber State took the Rams to the wall in a 24-23 squeaker that Colorado State only pulled out with a fourth-quarter desperation drive. Quarterback Grant Stucker is capable of heaving the long-bomb but has also tossed five picks to go with six touchdowns. Then again, two of those weren’t really his fault — they came after tips by receiver Rashaun Greer.

But those mistakes are the kind of plays that can break a team, and Idaho has been remarkably mistake-free so far. The Vandals have given up just two interceptions and haven’t yet lost a fumble, ranking them among the best teams in Division I in the turnover department. If the Vandals can keep playing clean, keep Stucker’s big-play ability in check and force Colorado State into coughing up the football, it might be partytime in Moscow.

Vandal Nation will have a play-by-play liveblog from the Kibbie Dome beginning at 6:45 p.m.

Wednesday’s game: Louisiana Tech 27, Hawaii 6

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