It’s Gameday in Moscow for Idaho’s Homecoming! The 6-2 Idaho Vandals will look to use some home cooking to get back on the winning track against a 3-4 Louisiana Tech squad that has yet to win a road game. A victory this afternoon would seal a bowl berth for the Vandals — their first since 1998.
We’ll bring you all the action from the Kibbie Dome with our exclusive play-by-play liveblog, Vandal Nation Live, starting at 1:15 p.m. with the pregame show. Kickoff is scheduled for 2 p.m.
Today in the WAC
There are five games to be played involving WAC squads today, and here’s the lowdown on all of them. You’ll note that four of the five are likely to be ugh-ly. All times Pacific:
- New Mexico State (3-5, 1-3 WAC) at Ohio State (6-2, 4-1 Big Ten), 9 a.m.
Poor, poor Aggies. They were having a half-decent season going, but have hit a two-game slide in conference play. Now DeWayne Walker’s squad has to travel to the Horseshoe in Columbus for a body-bag game against Ohio State that will almost certainly leave New Mexico State crushed into the ground. Why they scheduled this game in the middle of the conference season is beyond fathoming. (Well, OK, they probably needed the money, but did it have to be the Buckeyes?)
The Aggies have shown a reasonably decent defensive posture, but they’re entirely unable to score points. There are 120 teams in the FBS — NMSU “boasts” the 120th-ranked offense and the 119th-ranked scoring offense, averaging fewer than 14 points per game. No question here, Buckeyes in a blowout. How many Aggie players will limp home wounded? Now that’s a good question.
- San Jose State (1-5, 0-2 WAC) at No. 6 Boise State (7-0, 2-0 WAC), noon
After getting a 54-9 win over Hawaii and still slipping a place in the polls last week, expect the Broncos to come out swinging on their home turf. Meanwhile, the floundering Spartans are looking for any note of salvation in what has been a disastrous season… but they’re unlikely to find it on the Smurf Turf of Bronco Stadium. Boise State has not lost a WAC game at home — ever.
For Boise State to have any hope of making a BCS bowl, they have to win out and do so in convincing fashion. Expect no quarter to be given — and with San Jose State’s awful running defense, Jeremy Avery and the rest of the Bronco tailbacks should have a field day. Is triple digits out of the realm of possibility? Maybe, but Boise State needs to find something that’ll impress the poll voters and the stat computers. With Nevada looming next week, the spectre of a 1-7 record is staring the Spartans in the face.
- Hawaii (2-5, 0-4 WAC) at Nevada (4-3, 3-0 WAC), 1 p.m.
Copy, paste, repeat. The injury-riddled Warriors have to fly across the Pacific for the privilege of being obliterated at home by Nevada. Last week, Hawaii was forced to go to its fourth-string quarterback (!) after third-stringer Bryant Moniz was knocked out of the game with a concussion. Reeling, disorganized and demoralized, the Warriors will be easy pickings for a Wolf Pack team whose powerful offense no WAC foe has yet stopped.
Nevada’s one weak point is its secondary, and Hawaii can still pass the football — the Warriors’ only hope would appear to be a high-scoring shootout. But outscoring the Wolf Pack is impossible if you can’t contain coach Chris Ault’s Pistol offense. Colin Kaepernick and Vai Taua made a mockery of their matchup with Idaho, putting 70 points up on the scoreboard. Even Idaho’s season-high tally of 45 wasn’t enough. Hawaii won’t even get that close.
- Utah State (2-5, 1-2 WAC) at Fresno State (4-3, 3-1 WAC), 2 p.m.
Poor, poor Aggies. (Noticing a theme here?) Utah State got its first win of the season over an FBS opponent with a win at home last week over Louisiana Tech. But the momentum from that victory will come to a crashing halt today in Bulldog Stadium, because Fresno State is ready to run all over the defenseless (literally) Aggies. Utah State’s rushing defense is one of the worst in the nation and the Bulldogs will unleash the nation’s leading rusher, Ryan Mathews, on that hapless front line.
After a disastrous (record-wise) 1-3 non-conference season, Fresno State is looking to contend in the conference race and seal itself up a bowl bid. Beating up on Utah State would all but assure the WAC’s Central Valley outpost of making it to the postseason. It shouldn’t be a particularly tough task, because the Aggies’ not-bad offensive package has struggled to put points on the board. Fresno State, which is seventh in the nation in scoring offense, has no such worries. The Bulldogs will roll.
- Louisiana Tech (3-4, 2-2 WAC) at Idaho (6-2, 3-1 WAC), 2 p.m.
Now here’s a game that’s likely to be a, well, game. The Vandals, who had a Cinderella five-game win streak snapped in brutal fashion in Reno last week, are hoping to take a measure of revenge on home turf, and in so doing, lock up the program’s first bowl bid since 1998. Louisiana Tech, meanwhile, needs to beat Idaho to have any hope at all of playing in December. The two squads match up reasonably well on paper, right?
Hold on a minute. Unfortunately for the WAC’s southern Bulldogs, this game is being played in Moscow and they haven’t won a game on the road all year. While it’s true that Louisiana Tech has a solid passing defense that could slow Nathan Enderle’s aerial assault, it’s also true that they can’t stop the run. Nor have the Bulldogs really been effective at moving the ball, via ground or air. They just don’t look able to keep up with the Vandals’ dynamic offense. Idaho’s Homecoming crowd will go nuts as the Vandals secure a winning season — and, likely, a trip to Boise.
- We’ll have more links in the morning.