Tag Archives: Humanitarian Bowl

Idaho 71, Lewis-Clark State 52

29 Dec

BOISE — The Vandals got the Humanitarian Bowl week off to a winning start tonight with a dominating 71-52 victory over Lewis-Clark State in Qwest Arena. Idaho, which improves to 7-4 on the season, never trailed in the game and was powered by a solid defensive effort, holding the NAIA Warriors to 30 percent shooting in the first half and 35 percent overall.

Idaho was led by 15 points from senior point guard Mac Hopson, who also grabbed 11 rebounds to post his first double-double of the season. He was joined in double figures by senior guard Steffan Johnson who had 11 points, and the best performance of the year from reserve 3-point specialist Luciano de Souza, who had 10 points on 4-of-8 shooting.

Perhaps the most promising sign of improvement came in the ball-handling department, as Idaho posted 17 assists to just 7 turnovers — by far their cleanest showing of the season.

We’ve got raw video interviews with Johnson and coach Don Verlin.

We’ll have a complete postgame report tonight.

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.

Continue reading

Good Morning Van-Bowl Nation: Dec. 29, 2009

29 Dec

SAN FRANCISCO — It’s Humanitarian Bowl Week in Boise and we’re staring out at N771SK, the SkyWest CRJ-700 that’ll take us on up to the Treasure Valley, so this will be a quicky. We’ll have Better Know a Foe with FalconBlog posted up this afternoon, along with a complete game preview.

Tonight at 6 p.m. Pacific, 7 Mountain, we’ll have live play-by-play coverage of Idaho hoops, as the Vandals take on Lewis-Clark State in Qwest Arena.

Then, be sure to join us tomorrow at 1 p.m. Pacific, 2 Mountain for Vandal Nation Live at the Humanitarian Bowl — Akey’s Army has one last battle to fight, against the Bowling Green Falcons out of the Mid-American Conference.


  • Donald Emmons of the Toledo Blade takes a look at how the Vandals hope to stop NCAA-leading receiver Freddie Barnes.
  • ESPN.com’s Graham Watson predicts a Falcons victory, albeit by only a touchdown — 45-38. She predicts an exciting, fun-to-watch shootout between two of the nation’s top offenses.

Men’s basketball

Women’s basketball

  • Idaho’s women finally got their second win of the season last night with a stifling defensive performance at home, shutting down UC Santa Barbara for a 47-40 victory. The Vandals missed their first 20 shots from the floor but capitalized on 29 Gaucho turnovers.

It’s Bowl Week on Vandal Nation!

27 Dec

We hope our readers have had a wonderful holiday season — we certainly have.

But the break ends now, because it’s time for Idaho Vandals sports to kick back into high gear — on Tuesday, the men’s hoops team takes on Lewis-Clark State and on Wednesday, it’s Idaho’s second-ever bowl game — the Roady’s Humanitarian Bowl against Bowling Green.

On the hardwood, the Vandals need to rebound from a three-game stretch of ugly and prepare for the beginning of Western Athletic Conference play. Playing LCSC would seem to be a gimme, but Merlin Verlin’s bunch nearly lost to another NAIA squad, Eastern Oregon, so there is nothing guaranteed about the neutral-court showdown.

On the Smurf Turf of Bronco Stadium, coach Robb Akey and his can-do Idaho squad can complete a miracle comeback season with a victory over Bowling Green — but to do it, the Vandals will have to dig deep defensively and get some stops against the pass, or else all-world receiver Freddie Barnes will run the Silver and Gold right out of Boise.

It’s a double dose of Vandal excitement and we’ll have all the action for you live, right here on Vandal Nation. Thanks for joining us!

Twas the night before the H-Bowl: Idaho vs. LCSC in Boise

12 Dec

The Vandal faithful will converge on Boise in a couple weeks to watch Idaho’s gridiron warriors take on Bowling Green in the Humanitarian Bowl on Dec. 30 — and now they’ll be able to catch the best Vandal hoops team in decades, too.

In a brilliant move, Idaho’s exhibition game with Lewis-Clark State, originally scheduled for Dec. 30 in Moscow, has been moved to Dec. 29 in Qwest Arena in Boise. Tip will be at 7 p.m. In the process, the game has been converted to a full-counting game for the Vandals.

Tickets are available from the Qwest Arena box office for $10-20, and season tickets will be honored. Student tickets are $8.

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:


  • 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.


Pilots left stunned as Idaho’s defense crushes #25 Portland

6 Dec

The Portland Pilots, the No. 25 team in the country, came to Moscow tonight for Idaho’s first-ever home showdown with a nationally-ranked non-conference opponent — and were promptly blown right back out the doors of historic Memorial Gym.

To the thundering cheers of a sellout crowd in the venerable home of Idaho basketball, the Vandals made history by destroying #25 Portland, 68-48, for Idaho’s first victory over a nationally-ranked team since 1982.

Idaho improved to 5-2, the team’s best start since the 1989-90 season, while the Pilots fell to 5-3.

The victory came in an unorthodox — and for coach Don Verlin, heartening — way: with punishing lockdown defense. The Pilots, who came into this game as one of the nation’s top shooting teams, were comprehensively shut down, making just 19 of 59 shots from the field — an abysmal .322 performance.

“That’s as good defensively as we’ve played all year for that length of time,” Verlin said. “It’s a credit to our guys.”

The stat lines are stunning: guard T.J. Campbell, the Pilots’ leading scorer with 16.7 points on .554 shooting, was held to an awful 1-for-11 shooting for 3 points. Big man Robin Smeulders, a 63.3-percent shooter averaging 13.3 points, was just 1-for-6 with 2 points while turning the ball over 3 times. A team that came in shooting 42 percent from downtown made just 6 of 22 3-point attempts — 27.3 percent.

“We’re happy about this win because we did it on the defensive end and that’s where we were lacking,” Idaho point guard Mac Hopson said. “Coach said that’s what he wanted from us, was to shut them down, and we just listened this time. We stopped their top threats and got the W.”

Right from the opening tip-off, it was clear the Vandals wanted to establish dominance early. Idaho made its first three shots in a row — including a crowd-pleasing dunk by center Marvin Jefferson — while the Pilots missed their first six attempts from the floor.

The real damage was done midway through the first half. With 10 minutes to play in the opening period, a 4-0 run from the Pilots cut Idaho’s lead to 3 points, and the momentum seemed to be all on the visitors’ side. But reserve point guard Marcus Lawrence stepped up and canned a wide-open trey from the corner, and the rout was on.

Idaho would go on to score 10 more points in the next 5 minutes — while Portland combined to go 1-for-6 with 5 turnovers and a bench technical foul. Ethan Niedermeyer snapped the run with a 3-pointer, but Luciano de Souza ignited the gym by returning the favor from downtown. That would be the game’s theme — every time the Pilots looked to have something going, the Vandals struck back and reignited the crowd.

Continue reading