Idaho senior guard Landon Tatum talks about this weekend’s road trip to Fresno State and Nevada. The Vandals split these two games at home to start the WAC season and will look for two wins to boost them near the top of the conference.
The once crowded, electrifyingly-loud Kibbie Dome had fallen mostly silent as the sounds of spectators filing out filled the void of the thousands of empty seats left by disappointed fans.
And the game wasn’t even over yet.
It was a afternoon to forget for the Idaho Vandal football squad, once masters of their home domain, as they gave up an astounding 844 total offensive yards to the Nevada Wolf Pack in a 63-17 loss.
As the team left the field at the end of the fourth quarter, it was with their heads down and in complete silence. For the first time since 2008, 23 consecutive weeks, the Vandals are the owners of a losing 4-5 record.
“Heartbroken,” said senior safety Shiloh Keo, fighting back tears as he was asked to describe his feelings of the game. “I’ve been here for five years and this game meant a lot to me, because this is a team I’ve never been able to beat. Every time I play these guys I feel a big rivalry ’cause there is a talented guy on the other side of the field sharing the same number as I do.”
The talented player wearing No. 10 on the other side of the field was multi-versatile quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who put his whole array of skill on display in turning Idaho’s defense into Swiss cheese with needle-point precision passing.
“It just hurts,” Keo said, “because they did better than we did.” Continue reading
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.
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.
Idaho continues its three-game gauntlet this week, coming home after a disappointing loss to Hawaii on enemy turf while hoping to reverse their fortunes against the Nevada Wolf Pack this Saturday.
The month of November hasn’t been kind to the Vandals. Idaho has lost 17 straight games in November, dating back to a Nov. 6 victory over Arkansas State in Pullman.
Have trouble remembering the last time Idaho defeated Arkansas State? It was in 2004, when Idaho was still a member of the Sun Belt Conference.
Saturday’s game is also a crossroad for the Vandals in the sense that Idaho hasn’t dipped below .500 since 2008, a record coach Robb Akey is proud of.
“I take pride in that and our players take pride in that,” Akey said. “We need to win this game to keep us above there.”
Not helping Idaho’s cause are the upcoming games in November. The Vandals host No. 25 Nevada and No. 2 Boise State, as well as traveling to Utah State and Fresno State. The Vandals lost to all four teams last year while going 8-5, but Akey isn’t getting too hung up on the past.
“I’m glad that the expectations of our football program are back to being strong once again — I didn’t like it when we were expected to not to be able to do anything,” Akey said. “There is no way, nobody out there anywhere in the world that can have stronger goals, desires and expectations for us than we do.
Nobody else knows what we are capable of.”
With two weeks to go before college football kicks off, the sudden disintegration of the Western Athletic Conference has woken up sportswriters and bloggers from their fall camp reverie. We’ve got a compilation of the best (and bizarrest) writing on the WACsplosion.
- The latest-breaking development? Utah State confirms it, too, was approached by the MWC and offered membership — before either Fresno State or Nevada. But with honor and commitment, the Aggies refused to betray the WAC. Everyone left in the conference should consider USU their heroes. They rejected self-interested sabotage, and I hope they, and we, come out ahead for it.
- Sam Wasson’s BleedCrimson.net has a great rundown of this morning’s press conference with Karl Benson.
- SWX has a story on Idaho Athletic Director Rob Spear’s press conference this afternoon. In short, Idaho is “committed” to staying with the WAC, come hell and high water. KXLY’s Ben Kaplan provides his take, too.
- ESPN’s Pat Forde examines the brutal history of the MWC and WAC’s “conference cannibalism.” Ray Ratto has similar thoughts at CBSSports.com.
- San Jose State is left in limbo, Jon Wilner writes in the Mercury News. Join the club, says Louisiana Tech — most damningly, the Bulldogs’ AD all but invites his program to be poached by another conference, preferably C-USA. Stephen Tsai of the Honolulu Star-Advertiser says Hawaii should quit the WAC and go independent.
- Whither BYU? Good question, as Cougar AD Tom Holmoe provides only cryptic answers to the Deseret News. “Things are playing out” indeed.
- Could Sacramento State and UC Davis save the WAC? That’s what the Sacramento Bee’s John Schumacher is wondering. The more Aggies the merrier, I suppose.
- Nevada got an offer it couldn’t refuse, or so says Scott Sonner. Yet Utah State did refuse it. Hmm.
- Silver and Blue Sports has a report on Nevada’s move up to the MWC. The Reno Gazette-Journal’s Chris Murray examines how the move might affect Wolf Pack programs.
- The Fresno Bee’s Dan Lyght and Bryant-Jon Anteola have a whole slew of stories on the Bulldogs’ jump to the MWC.
With the defections of Fresno State and Nevada to the Mountain West Conference effective in 2012, the future of the Western Athletic Conference is now in doubt — no matter how much WAC commish Karl Benson might try to deny it.
In an 80-minute marathon teleconference this morning, Benson spun like a top, talking about the “selfish” betrayal of the Bulldogs and the Wolf Pack on the eve of what could have been the conference’s grandest coup: recapturing BYU.
Yes, the WAC will get $10 million in buyout money and no, the latest defectors can’t leave for two years.
But the words WAC fans most needed to hear — solid commitments from new members — were conspicuously missing. Lots of what-ifs, possibilities and conversations, with Benson mentioning teams from Texas to California as being potentially interested in joining.
Unfortunately, the WAC can’t afford what-ifs, possibilities and conversations right now. The conference, and its six remaining members, need fresh blood to remain a viable league. If new members aren’t found by 2012, and the WAC drops to six teams for even a single season, we’re essentially talking about a dead league walking.
Already Benson admitted that Louisiana Tech is looking to bolt for Conference USA. Who else is thinking about finding an escape hatch? More to the point, who isn’t looking for an escape hatch at this point?
Imagine one of those ticking 24 clocks. Benson and the six WAC presidents realistically have only a few months to find a savior or two. Otherwise, it’s going to be every man for himself and the Western Athletic Conference will join the Pacific Coast Conference, the Metro Conference and the Southwest Conference, among others, in the annals of NCAA history.
For the Vandals’ part, we’ll have more thoughts after athletic director Rob Spear talks at 2 p.m. Pacific. The upshot? Idaho is in a horrible situation, yet there’s really no better alternative. It’s either ride out the WAC storm, go down with the ship or limp back to the Big Sky and FCS. If anyone has a better idea, let me know.