Tag Archives: Shiloh Keo

Keeping the dream alive

21 Nov

Logan, UT — Neither rain, nor sleet, nor snow nor sideways rain could put a damper on the University of Idaho Vandal football team, which fought off not only the inclement weather but also the Utah State Aggies to keep their bowl hopes alive in a 28-6 victory on enemy turf.

“We’ve got a football team that had a lot of fun playing the game again and that means a lot,” Akey said. “We’re a wildcard playoff team, we need three, we’ve got one down and two to go.”

Akey took the field in a warm parka, and gas heaters were positioned by both benches to keep the gnawing cold away, as the weather turned progressively worse in Logan. The game kicked off with 40 mile-per-hour gusting winds, which turned quickly to horizontal rain and finally to a blizzard that covered the Merlin-Olson Field.

Idaho wide receiver Eric Greenwood said he was excited to play in such weather, saying he was used to playing in rain and sleet, but football in a full blizzard was new to him.

“When we first came out is started to drizzle, and I’m used to playing in that from western Washington,” Greenwood said. “The snow was kinda different though, I’d never played in snow — I enjoyed it.”

Through it all, the Vandals held tough in a must win game. The Vandals need to win their final three games to become bowl eligible, and  Idaho took steps in the right direction, displaying the kinds of things that have been missing from their game of late.

“That was one of the better defensive performances we’ve had,” said Idaho senior defensive end Aaron Lavarias. “It was a tough stretch we had these past few weeks and I thought (today) we played pretty dang good.”

The Vandals forced turnovers, put pressure on Utah State quarterback Diondre Borel, causing two interceptions and recording one sack, and the Vandals limited the Aggies to 242 total offensive yards.

“That was our game plan going in,” Lavarias said. “We thought he (Borel) was the key to their offense and I thought he get much going tonight — we really executed out game plan well.”

The Vandals got off to a slow start, as the Aggies, playing at home for the last time this year, as well as having a chance to clinch a season-best five-game winning season, brought a fearless effort that overwhelmed the Vandals. Continue reading

Photo Gallery double-feature: Football and Basketball

7 Nov

Oh boy, was it a rough night for Vandal fans yesterday. We’ve been wracking our brain to spin some sort of positive on Idaho’s embarrassing blow-out loss to Nevada on home, but when you give up an astounding 844 yards of total offense…well, it’s slim pickings. At least quarterback Nathan Enderle didn’t throw any interceptions, and had a sweet 75-yard bomb to Justin Veltung for an Idaho touchdown, but beyond that it was all downhill.

Some more quick stats and facts:

  • Idaho returned the ball down the length of the field twice, compiling 155 yards, but each return was followed by a last-second fumble, which Nevada recovered nullifying Idaho’s drive.
  • The 844 offensive yards are a school record for Nevada. The sad part? It could have been worse, as Nevada chose to ease off the gas in the final quarter. No joke, from the sidelines, it could have easily been 100-17.
  • Nevada had three rushers with 100+ yards….and one of them wasn’t Kaepernick!
  • Speaking of the talented QB, Kaepernick went 20-30 with five touchdown passes. With 20 completions and five touchdown passes, our intricate knowledge of basic arithmetic tells us that every four passes Kaepernick threw a touchdown. W…O…W
  • Idaho’s running game averaged a laughable 3.6 yards per carry.
  • Idaho dropped to below .500, they are now 4-5, for the first time since 2008.

We’ll have a broader overview of Idaho’s loss Monday after we chat with Akey and the team has some time to review the film. For now, however, our resident photographer Kate Kucharzyk snapped some shots of the Vandals loss.

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Fans hoping for a post-game bummer cure were sorely disappointed if they followed the men’s basketball team’s game against LCSC. The Vandals had trouble closing out the NANI school, missing shots and assignments all night and leaving the game in doubt until the final buzzer. Idaho won, but it wasn’t a pretty win by any standard. As much as it pains us to say it, should the Vandals, who shot 34 percent in the second half and finished the game with less than a 45 percent success rate from the floor against a team which it was expected to dominate, are looking at a long season if they continue this style of play heading into the season opener against Easter Oregon.

A sloppy game didn’t stop Kate from snapping some nice-looking shots of the men in action, which we share with you. Enjoy.

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Injury to JoJo Dickson mars Vandal victory

25 Oct

The thunderous crowd at the Kibbie Dome had fallen silent and on the field, all that could be heard were the anguished cries of senior safety Shiloh Keo and junior linebacker Robert Siavii and a stream of verbal outbursts from Vandal defenders.

In the middle of it all lay senior Jo Jo Dickson, writhing in pain, clutching his fractured left leg.

On the previous play, Dickson had made a block for Idaho before being side-swiped by New Mexico State’s Kenny Turner on a late hit that sent Dickson to the turf.

Turner was whistled for a personal foul, but the damage had been done. Dickson was quickly attended by medical staff, put on a stretcher and rushed to Gritman Medical Hospital for surgery on an injury that will likely end the senior’s career as a Vandal.

Dickson’s final gesture in Vandal uniform – a wave to his teammates and the crowd in the Kibbie Dome, which erupted in cheers of ‘Jo Jo, Jo Jo’.

The single play overshadowed a huge night that saw Idaho’s offense build a 31-0 lead early on and, in large part due to the stifling play of Idaho’s defense, defeat the NMSU Aggies 37-14.

“It feels good, but it feels bad at the same time — it’s really hard to swallow,” said a visibly shaken Siavii, who is Dickson’s roommate. “He’s like my older brother. I’ve lived with him for two years. To see him out of the field really hurts me and just gave me an extra push to be even stronger.”

Following the play, Idaho coach Robb Akey knew of the dire situation of his teammates, calling them together and consoling Keo and Siavii.

“I saw some rage and a lot of hurt,” Akey said. “They lost one of their brothers during the course of the game today. You have no idea what kind of an impact that had. The guys overcame that and played hard and played well for the remainder of the game.”

The loss of Dickson is a staggering blow for Idaho. Not only did Dickson provide steady senior leadership on the field, he was Idaho’s fourth-leading defensemen, recording 34 total tackles and one interception in seven games.

“It’s really disheartening,” Siavii said. “But the whole defense — we’re strong. We have strong backup and we feel we are going to get our team back together again.”

For the third time this season, Idaho used strong-arm defense to clamp down on the opposition. The Vandals forced numerous three-and-out situations against the Aggies, who were looking for their first WAC win after entering the game with a woeful 1-5 record, and didn’t let the Aggies get on the board until the game was well out of reach.

“I think we got to comfortable,” said receiver Maurice Shaw. “We came out strong, but didn’t come out with the same desire and intensity after the half.”

NMSU got their first touchdown with seven second in the half on a 17-yard passing play, and struck late once again with 19 second remaining in the game.

“Defensively, I thought our guys continued to play pretty well,” Akey said. “I don’t like the score we gave up there at the end. We learned a lesson from that, but it’s an inexpensive one, ‘cause all it cost us was points on the board.”

Idaho’s offense was, once again, powered by Nate Enderle, who threw for 291 yards and three touchdowns. The Aggies came into the game being in the WAC cellar in regards to defense, and Idaho capitalized.

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Idaho’s offensive cause was helped greatly by the return of Maurice Shaw, who returned from a one-game suspension and led the Vandal receivers with 73 yards and a touchdown reception. Shaw made the most of his six catches, including a Randy Moss impersonation in the end zone, as Shaw reached out and pulled in a one-handed pass for the score.

Idaho’s rushing game, however, is still lagging. Idaho brought up 88 rushing yards on 27 carries against New Mexico State. Several lapse in defense also cost the Vandals, who gave up a big NMSU touchdown pass that was waved off on an illegal formation on the part of the Aggies.

Akey said the squad will need to overcome the loss of Jo Jo and prepare for next weekend, when the Vandals travel to Hawaii to take on the Warriors.

Hawaii has been the surprise in the WAC, and are unbeaten in WAC play with a 4-0 record. Akey aknoladged it will be a tough battle, but said his squad will be ready for it when the time comes. For now, the focus is on another victory at home.

“We got our first WAC win today, and we are still undefeated in the Dome,” Akey said. “We’ve got another winning streak started.”

 

 

Photo Gallery: Idaho Vandals vs. UNLV Rebels

21 Sep

In case you missed Idaho’s victory over the University of Nevada-Las Vegas Rebels, Argonaut photographer Kate Kucharzyk and Nick Groff were on hand to capture all the big plays. They were kind enough to share what they saw through the lens with us.

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Money, injuries and good defense

14 Sep

Idaho takes away the good, the bad and the ugly from Nebraska game

With a 38-17 loss to Nebraska and Idaho’s 21st consecutive loss to a BCS team behind them, Idaho coach Robb Akey said the team is ready to move on to the next game.
Akey was adamant about defending the chance to test the team’s mettle against high-calibur opponents.

“It’s great for our football team when we do it one time (a season),” Akey said. “To play a BCS opponent is an important thing for us. Having an opponent like this is a damn good thing because we are going to play somebody like that when we get to the bowl — you play one of the better teams in the country in bowl games.”

The $800,000 paycheck the university collected from visiting Nebraska doesn’t put a damper on the situation either.

Idaho received the largest payout in school history this weekend, dwarfing the previous $600,000 payout for traveling to the University of Southern California and the University of Arizona. Idaho schedules one big away game per year, with the funds propping up the athletic department’s $15 million budget.

Akey said the team can take away positives — mainly a defensive stand that limited No. 6 Nebraska to one touchdown in the second half — as learning points from the game moving forward.

“We had four goal line stands against that outfit, and two of them were in sudden change senarios — that’s big,” Akey said. “That is something that we can build from. If we can have goal line stands against those guys, I think we have a chance to turn this into a decent outfit.” Continue reading

Vandals blank North Dakota, snap 13-year shutout drought

2 Sep

The last time Idaho and North Dakota met in college football was in 1954, when the Vandals handed the Fighting Sioux a 45-0 loss in old Neale Stadium.

Tonight in the Kibbie Dome, Idaho proved that history does repeat itself.

Backed by the Vandals’ best defensive performance in more than a decade, Idaho knocked out the Fighting Sioux, 45-0 — a score identical to the mark set 56 years ago.

Apart from a busted drive to open the game, the Vandals (1-0) pretty much had their way with North Dakota (0-1), a Football Championship Subdivision team from the Great West Football Conference. Seven of 14 Idaho drives led to scores, six of them touchdowns.

Senior quarterback Nate Enderle shook off a string of early sacks to throw for 311 yards and two scores on 24-of-37 passing, while backup Brian Reader racked up another 88 yards and one touchdown. Just under 12,000 fans cheered the Vandals’ first home-opening win since 1998.

Probably more important than the Vandals’ big offensive numbers, however, was the absence of any points on the other side of the scoreboard. After a bowl-winning 2009 season that was marred by an unending string of defensive lapses, senior safety Shiloh Keo said his unit was determined to redeem itself this year. In coming up with Idaho’s first shutout since 1997 — albeit against an FCS team — he felt a corner has been turned.

“It’s taken five years but we finally threw out a goose egg,” Keo said. “We have a long way to go and there were mistakes made out there, but we believe this can be a great defense. We were able to show a glimpse of that tonight.”

Continue reading

Good Afternoon Vandal Nation: Morning-After-H-Bowl Edition

31 Dec

BOISE — The snow is falling again on the Treasure Valley, and we’re at the Boise Airport waiting for our flight home after a wonderful weekend for Vandal sports.

To recap:

There’s news and notes aplenty, so let’s get right to them.

  • Reporters and pundits across the country are calling the Humanitarian Bowl one of the best games of the year. As CNATI.com’s C. Trent Rosecrans wrote, “The Humanitarian Bowl: exactly why I’ll never complain about too many bowl games.”

Idaho’s ‘Cardiac Kids’ find gold on Humanitarian Bowl’s blue turf

30 Dec

BOISE — For Idaho, the calculus was simple: 28 seconds to go 66 yards for a Humanitarian Bowl-tying seven points. Either that, or make the long drive back to Moscow as losers.

But the Vandals, who were picked last in the Western Athletic Conference but stunned the football world by making their first bowl in a decade, redid the math.

The result is destined to be remembered as one of the greatest games in Idaho football history.

With just eight seconds to play, quarterback Nathan Enderle found Max Komar in the end zone from 16 yards out, and the Vandals’ leading wideout made a diving catch — his first of the night — for the score. Bring out Trey Farquhar, kick the extra point to tie and head for overtime, right?

Wrong.

Coach Robb Akey asked his players what they wanted to do. The unanimous decision? Go for two.

“If my players have confidence in the play, they’re going to make it work,” Akey said. “Why make everybody wait for overtime? Let’s get it done.”

They did.

Enderle took the snap, rolled left and spotted Preston Davis back by the goalpost. The veteran shot-caller heaved a strike across the middle, straight at the sophomore wideout.

Catch. Score. Wild celebration. Penalty flags. A streaker. Pandemonium.

Four seconds and a stuffed kickoff return later, a Vandal team dubbed the “Cardiac Kids” for their last-minute heroics became the 2009 Roady’s Humanitarian Bowl champions, defeating Bowling Green by the final score of 43-42. Idaho finishes the 2009 season with an 8-5 record.

The triumph is only the second bowl win in the history of the University of Idaho, following a 1998 victory over Southern Mississippi — also in the Humanitarian Bowl.

Many of the 26,726 fans in attendance — a heavily partisan Idaho crowd — charged the Bronco Stadium field to celebrate a comeback victory capping a comeback season. Defensive end Aaron Lavarias summed up the feeling for a team, a university and the long-suffering Vandal Nation.

“This is destiny,” he said. “Playing in our state’s capital in a stadium filled with Vandals, we were born to win this game.”

But they almost didn’t.

Continue reading

Humanitarian Bowl postgame interviews

30 Dec

BOISE — We’ll consolidate our many, many Humanitarian Bowl postgame interviews with Idaho Vandals players and coaches in this post. This will be frequently updated as the night progresses and more get uploaded.

Robb Akey:

Max Komar:

Brian Reader:

Aaron Lavarias:

Shiloh Keo, Jeromy Jones and Preston Davis:

Nathan Enderle, Shiloh Keo, Mike Iupati and JoJo Dickson:

JoJo Dickson:

Good Afternoon Vandal Nation: Dec. 7, 2009

7 Dec

History was made last night in Memorial Gym, as the Vandal men knocked off #25 Portland and football coach Robb Akey stepped to the floor at halftime and announced Idaho’s acceptance of a berth in the 2009 Humanitarian Bowl. It’s been a banner year for Idaho sports already, and we’re just at the halfway mark.

Here’s the links for today:

Basketball

  • The New Mexico State Aggies are having an awful season, just 1-5 against Division I opponents and staring down the barrel of two tough road games. Jason Groves of the Las Cruces Sun-News looks at the Aggies’ total lack of offense.

Football

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.

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.

Continue reading

Idaho Vandals Midseason Report Card: Defense/Special Teams

22 Oct

We’ve got the second half of our midseason report card — looking at the Vandals’ defensive and special teams units. The first half, covering the offense, can be found here.

Defense

Defensive line: A-

The Vandals’ defensive front has bullied teams all season, and that’s why Idaho has the WAC’s #1 rushing defense. Giving up just 95.6 yards per game on the ground, this unit has absolutely dominated the line of scrimmage against most every opponent. This was particularly noticeable against Northern Illinois. The Huskies had piled up 280 yards on the ground the week before against the Big 10’s Purdue, and were expecting to run all over the Vandals. But nothing doing — Northern Illinois was able to net just 128 yards against Idaho.

Bruising defensive ends Aaron Lavarias (23 tackles, 2 sacks, 3 TFLs) and Michael Cosgrove (21 tackles, 2 sacks, 3 TFLs) and nose tackle Jonah Sataraka (21 tackles 3 sacks, 4 TFLs) have not only plugged up the front, they’ve harried opposing quarterbacks and, once again, made big clutch plays. Notably, Lavarias’ sack and forced fumble on Hawaii quarterback Bryant Moniz was a game-changer, putting the Vandal offense back on the field for the clinching drive.

Linebackers: B+

This crew is getting the job done. JoJo Dickson is the Vandals’ second-leading tackler with 39 and has two picks and a sack to boot. Robert Siavii and Paul Senescall aren’t far down the list with 31 apiece and both have generally stayed remarkably healthy despite being in for a ton of plays. The only reason the grade isn’t higher? As we’ll talk about in the secondary section, Idaho hasn’t done a great job defending the pass, and the linebackers certainly share in some of the blame.

The surprise of the season on this unit has to be sophomore Tre’Shawn Robinson, who hasn’t started a game yet but leads the team in tackles for loss, with six for 26 yards, including a quarterback sack. He only has 18 total tackles — so fully one-third of them have set back the offense.

Secondary: C+

Idaho’s secondary has been blasted apart all season long. That’s one reason the Vandals sit 8th in the WAC in passing defense, giving up nearly 270 yards per game through the air. It’s not so much that our guys are getting burned; rather, to keep from being burned they’re giving up big cushions to receivers. Safeties Shiloh Keo and Jeromy Jones are playing for tackles rather than preventing catches. Idaho has allowed opponents to connect on 65% of their passes. That’s simply not going to get it done as the Vandals move deeper into the conference season.

That being said, the secondary has also found ways to come up with big plays just when they’re needed. The Vandals have clinched three consecutive games with interceptions: Keo against Colorado State and Hawaii, defensive back Kenneth Patten against San Jose State. Of note: Idaho’s fourth-leading tackler is true freshman defensive back Aaron Grymes, whose career with the Vandals is off to a stellar start.

Defense overall: B-

Like the offense, Idaho’s defense is a work in progress. It’s a little further behind than the O, particularly when it comes to passing. Hawaii showed the world how to hang with Idaho — just chuck up the ball, because we simply can’t stop the aerial game. Big passing teams should scare the daylights out of us.

But again like the offense, the unit’s defining characteristic has been its performance in the clutch. Time after time, Idaho’s defenders have come up big when the game is on the line, making key stops, huge sacks or timely interceptions just when things are looking grim for the Silver and Gold. OK, so they’re not exactly the Wrecking Crew, but the record says 6-1, and that says the defense has done just enough. To get to where Idaho wants to be, however, will require the defense to do even more.

Read on for our special teams grades.

Continue reading

Good Morning Vandal Nation: Oct. 22, 2009

22 Oct

Palouse weather can be so schizophrenic. It’s a bright sunny morning, though in coach Robb Akey’s office we’re sure there’s a few more storm clouds.

There’s Vandal volleyball tonight — Idaho’s spikers will take on the Nevada Wolf Pack in Memorial Gymnasium at 7 p.m. The Vandals are third in the WAC, and will look to solidify a berth in the six-team conference tournament with their sixth conference victory.

Let’s get to the links:

Football

Basketball

Vandal safety Shiloh Keo arrested on battery charge

21 Oct

And then there were two.

On the heels of Vandal freshman tight end Clayton Homme being arrested for DUI, starting safety (and defensive standout) Shiloh Keo has been arrested for misdemeanor battery.

The Idaho Statesman and the Moscow-Pullman Daily News are reporting that Keo was allegedly involved in a fight at an apartment complex on Saturday night after the game. He was cited and released Tuesday night, and is scheduled to appear in court in two weeks.

Update, 7:30 p.m.: We’ve received a written statement from coach Robb Akey:

I am aware of the situation and am very disappointed that Shiloh made a poor choice off the field. I have dealt with this situation with Shiloh and he will have to pay a price. I am confident that he will learn from this situation. As well as dealing with the repercussions within our program, he will also have to make things right with the court of law.

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