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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