|Vandals want to maintain momentum|
The best thing that could happen for the University of Idaho Vandals Saturday would be to play as if the first quarter at Brigham Young University simply were a continuation of their sterling second half at San Jose State last week.
Kickoff for the non-conference game between the Western Athletic Conference Vandals and the FBS independent Cougars is 7:15 p.m. MT/6:15 p.m. PT at LaVell Edward Stadium at Provo, Utah. The game is live on ESPN2.
“I’d like to see our offense grow from where we left things,” coach Robb Akey said. “I’d like to think the spark that has been ignited will give us some momentum.”
The ignition to the spark was provided by an offense that had its best game since Sept. 10 and a defense that did what it has all season – held firm in the face of adversity. Quarterback Taylor Davis – in his second start under center, was 13 of 20 with one interception (which was batted around like a volleyball before coming down in the hands of a SJSU defender). Some of the biggest punch, though, was provided by senior running back Kama Bailey, who churned for 163 rushing yards to go with one reception for 11 and his best day as a Vandal.
“Our offensive line did a nice job of battling through and finishing blocks,” Akey said. “Our running backs did a nice job and made some good cuts and made some things happen.
“We’ve worked very hard in the last several ballgames to be able to build off of this.”
In the Cougars, Akey said the Vandals take on a time with some similarities to Hawai`i, but the Cougars certainly aren’t a carbon copy. BYU quarterback Riley Nelson is a dual pass-run threat with 1048 yards passing to go with 368 yards rushing. He throws to nine receivers with 11 or more receptions on the season with Cody Hoffman the leader with 37 catches for 558 yards. On the ground, only J.J. Di Luigi has more yards than Nelson with his 415 on 81 carries.
Idaho’s defense was tested mightily last week with turnovers putting the Vandals deep in their own territory and SJSU taking advantage to the tune of a 20-0 lead at the end of the first quarter. They played through it and rode the momentum of the offense by limiting SJSU to just 163 yards until the Spartans’ final 76-yard scoring drive late in the game.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re thrown out there on our five-yard line or their five-yard line,” Akey said, “you job is to keep points off the board.
“We overcame quite an obstacle. That says a lot.”