2011 Predictions & Game Story
Week 2 - North Dakota at Idaho
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Sept. 10 at Idaho 44 … North Dakota 14
CFN Analysis: That's the Brian Reader the coaching staff was hoping for. After an awful opener against Bowling Green, Reader settled down and connected on 27-of-39 passes for 299 yards and four touchdowns. There isn't much of a running game to count on, and the line needs to be more physical, but the Vandals needed and easy blowout win, and got it before having to deal with Texas A&M. The pass rush came up with just one TreShawn Robinson sack, and he was the star of the D with eight tackles getting all over the field against the run. He's about the only aggressive producer so far on a defense with just two sacks and six tackles for loss; the lines have to be far, far better.
(AP) MOSCOW, Idaho -- Idaho quarterback Brian Reader threw for 299 yards and four touchdowns Saturday as Idaho rebounded from its season-opening loss, defeating North Dakota 44-14.
Mike Scott was the top receiver for the Vandals (1-1) with eight catches for 99 yards, including a 17-yard touchdown pass. Reader also found Armauni Johnson, Marsel Posey and Michael LaGrone for scores as Idaho rolled up 424 yards of total offense to North Dakota's 197. Idaho's defense also returned two interceptions for touchdowns.
The Fighting Sioux (1-1) led early, going up 14-3 midway through the second quarter when Joey Bradley hit Greg Hardin with a 54-yard touchdown strike. Bradley finished the day 15 of 31 for 166 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Erik Mersereau returned a punt 79 yards for the other North Dakota score.
But Idaho, which lost 32-15 to Bowling Green on Sept. 1, scored the game's final 41 points.
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North Dakota (1-0) at Idaho (0-1) Sept. 10, 4:30, ESPN3
Here's The Deal … This is it for Idaho and this is the moment when the team has to come up with its blowout, easy win, because life doesn't get any easier with Texas A&M, Fresno State, and Virginia to follow. After losing a game it had to have – a home date with Bowling Green – the Vandals are in desperation mode and can't afford a home slip up the rest of the way. North Dakota is the perfect team to tune up against with an average offense and not enough defense to slow down a balanced attack. It'll be a battle for the Fighting Sioux to not finish in the Great West basement, and a win over an FBS team would be a season-maker.
Why North Dakota Might Win: Bowling Green's defense is average, to put it nicely, and the Idaho offense didn't work against it. Turnovers, no pass protection, and a spotty running game all contributed to the 32-15 loss, and while UND's win over Drake is hardly an indicator of an improved defense, the run D only allowed 43 tackles and generated decent pressure into the backfield. The key will be turnovers. If UND can be +3 in turnover margin, and takes advantage of all the mistakes, it'll have a real shot at coming up with the shocker.
Why Idaho Might Win: North Dakota doesn't have the offense do keep up any sort of pace. QB Joey Bradley threw for 137 yards last week in the 16-0 win, and that's about as much as the UND offense can do against a team with FBS athletes. The depth is lacking and the O isn't consistent. Idaho might have been awful against Bowling Green, but it has playmakers and it has the experience to be far, far better in a hurry against the mediocre teams.
What To Watch Out For: Idaho needs to find its groove in the receiving corps. Preston Davis, one of the team's top targets, was out for Week One with a foot injury, and he's going to be hobbling for the foreseeable future Justin Veltung, one of the team's other main receivers, is hobbling through a toe injury. The Vandals were able to spread the ball around with eight different receivers catching the ball, but new starting quarterback Brian Reader needs playmakers and he needs to be far more consistent after completing just 19-of-43 passes for 177 yards with two touchdowns and a pick.
What Will Happen: Idaho will explode. North Dakota will be blown out in the first quarter, but the Vandals will keep the heat on just to do what it can to get the offense in tune. Reader will be night-and-day better than he was last week.
CFN Prediction: Idaho 54 … North Dakota 17
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