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CFN Take: Idaho Loses In Battle With NMSU
Posted Nov 30, 2013

2013 Idaho Vandals ... Head Coach: Paul Petrino

Idaho Vandals

2013 Record: 1-11
8/31 at North Texas L 40-6
9/7 at Wyoming L 42-13
9/14 No Illinois L 45-35
9/21 at Wash State L 42-0
9/28 Temple W 26-24
10/5 Fresno State L 61-14
10/12 at Arkansas St L 48-24
10/26 at Ole Miss L 59-14
11/2 Texas State L 37-21
11/9 Old Dominion L 59-38
11/23 at Florida State W 80-14
11/30 at NMSU L 24-16
at New Mexico State 24, Idaho 16
Basically … New Mexico State’s Adam Shapiro ran for an eight-yard touchdown early in the fourth quarter, and that was it for the scoring as the Aggie defense held on allowing just a 25-yard Austin Rehkow field goal in the third quarter. Rehkow hit three field goals on the day, and Michael LaGrone caught a 56-yard touchdown pass on the way to a 13-7 lead, but NMSU took the lead for good on Austin Franklin’s second touchdown catch of the day from Andrew McDonald.
- New Mexico State RB Germi Morrison ran 17 times for 111 yards.
- Idaho QB Taylor Davis completed 21-of-41 passes for 250 yards and a score with a pick, and he ran 11 times for 24 yards.
- Idaho outgained NMSU 459 yards to 371, but committed eight penalties to NMSU’s one.
- NMSU WR Austin Franklin caught six passes for 64 yards and two scores.

at Florida State 80, Idaho 14
Basically … Florida State went through a light scrimmage scoring the first 35 points. Telvin Smith taking an interception 79 yards for a touchdown, Devonta Freeman running for a 60-yard score and Jameis Winston throwing two touchdown passes. Winston threw two more scoring passes, finding Kelvin Benjamin for his second scoring play of the game in the third quarter and hitting Kenny Shaw for a 20-yard touchdown late in the first half. Idaho got a 15-yard Richard Montgomery touchdown catch with 41 seconds left in the first half, but was down 80-7 when it scored again with 42 seconds to play.
- Florida State outgained Idaho 645 yards to 345
- Jameis Winston completed 14-of-25 passes for 225 yards and four touchdowns.
- Idaho QB Taylor Davis completed 16-of-38 passes for 220 yards and a score with three picks.
- Florida State RB Devonta Freeman ran 11 times for 129 yards and a score. Karlos Williams ran ten times for 114 yards and two touchdowns.

Old Dominion 59, at Idaho 38
Basically … ODU QB Taylor Heinicke threw for 533 yards and four scores to go along with a rushing touchdown, but Idaho hung around in the first half, tying it up at 31 on a 66-yard Dezmon Epps touchdown catch late in the first half and helped by a 73-yard James Baker scoring run in the first 19 seconds of the game. The Vandals pulled within seven late in the third on a 12-yard Richard Montgomery run, but ODU scored 14 unanswered points, finished off by a five-yard Colby Goodwyn run.
- Old Dominion QB Taylor Heinicke completed 40-of-56 passes for 533 yards and four touchdowns with a pick, and he ran nine times for 20 yards and a score.
- Idaho WR Dezmon Epps caught nine passes for 175 yards and a score.
- ODU Marquel Thomas caught seven passes for 137 yards and two touchdowns.
- Old Dominion outgained Idaho 621 yards to 505.

Texas State 37, at Idaho 21
Basically … Tyler Jones threw two touchdown passes and Robert Lowe ran for two short scores as Texas State became bowl eligible. Up 17-14 in the second quarter, TXST cranked out 21 straight points helped by a 20-yard run from Tim Gay and a 67-yard catch from Terrence Franks. Idaho got two touchdown passes from Taylor Davis and James Baker ran for a seven-yard touchdown.
- Texas State QB Tyler Jones completed 19-of-23 passes for 228 yards and two scores.
- Idaho QB Taylor Davis completed 20-of-35 passes for 181 yards and two scores.
- Texas State converted on all three of its fourth down chances. Idaho missed on two of its four fourth down tries, and the Bobcats took advantage.
- Idaho RB James Baker ran 24 times for 114 yards and a score.

at Ole Miss 59, Idaho 14
Basically … Ole Miss rolled up 17 first quarter points and got up 38-7 with Ja-Mes Logan scoring from 37 and 65 yards out and Jaylen Walton ripping off scoring runs from 40 yards out in the first and one yard away in the second. Idaho had a few nice moments with Dezmon Epps coming up with a 62-yard touchdown catch, but that was about it. I’Tavius Mathers answered the Epps score with a 64-yard touchdown run to spark a run of 21 unanswered points
- Idaho is simply going to be outclassed against any BCS team, and it lost to a slew of Ole Miss backups. Taylor Davis isn’t accurate enough, hitting just 12-of-30 passes, and there wasn’t any ground game to help out, finishing with just 87 yards. The Vandals were outgained 572 yards to 253.
- Decent at home, there’s hope for Idaho to come up with something interesting over the last month with Texas State and Old Dominion up next, and New Mexico State in a winnable road finale. Unfortunately, there’s another massive beatdown coming at Florida State.

at Arkansas State 48, Idaho 24
Basically … Arkansas State had a 31-7 lead in the third quarter thanks to four touchdown passes from Adam Kennedy, but Idaho came back to make it interesting with 17 straight points highlighted by a 15-yard Dezmon Epps touchdown catch. The Red Wolves took back control in the fourth quarter with 17 unanswered points with J.D. McKissic answering a one-yard James Baker touchdown run with a return for a score on the ensuing kickoff. David Oku put it away on a three-yard scoring run.
- Arkansas State got up big right away thanks to a red hot Adam Kennedy, and then it had to turn the intensity back on after losing a little bit of fight. The J.D. McKissic return for a score sparked the finishing kick, but it would’ve been nice if there wasn’t a need for a big run at the end. Kennedy’s 375 passing yards turned out to be enough. However, going forward, the penalties have to stop after getting nailed 14 times.
- Idaho has to find a way to stop getting bombed on in the first half. Fresno State blew up big a few weeks ago, and this week Arkansas State destroyed the Vandals right away. Taylor Davis and the passing game just aren’t strong enough to keep up the pace, but Idaho has to control the clock and move the chains early on so it can at least be in the game and not have to mount a furious comeback. Give credit to the team for fighting back, and James Baker did his part with 150 yards and two scores on the ground, but it was another blowout loss in a rough season.

Fresno State 61, at Idaho 14
Basically … Fresno State blew up with 47 first half points and a 54-0 lead after three quarters thanks to a huge performance from Derek Carr. The Heisman trophy candidate threw five touchdown passes with three to Davante Adams, all in the first half, and Marteze Waller added two scoring runs. Idaho got fourth quarter touchdown passes from Dezmon Epps and James Baker, but the Bulldog bench had been emptied.
- Derek Carr was unstoppable with one of the greatest first halves any quarterback has ever cranked out. He threw for close to 400 yards and five scores in one half, with Davante Adams operating at will catching 16 passes for 185 yards and a score. Carr was taking target practice.
- It wasn’t just the passing attack – Fresno State ran without a problem, too. Marteze Waller rumbled without a problem carrying the ball 19 times for 157 yards and two scores. The Bulldog O line did whatever it wanted.
- The Idaho defense was a complete and utter disaster, but at least some of the statistics look nice. Safety Bradley Njoku didn’t do anything when the ball was in the air, but he came up with 15 tackles.
- The Fresno State defensive line got into the Idaho backfield time and time again, and the quarterbacks didn’t have any time to work, but Chad Chalich has to be far more careful with the ball. He was sacked six times, completing 14-of-32 passes for 100 yards with a touchdown and three picks.

at Idaho 26, Temple 24
Basically … Idaho got up 17-3 in the first half helped by a 64-yard Richard Montgomery touchdown catch in the first, and a five-yard scoring run in the second. Down 23-10 in the fourth, Temple battled back with a 51-yard Ryan Alderman touchdown catch, and after Idaho pulled ahead with Austin Rehkow’s third field goal of the day, Kenneth Harper ran for a two-yard score to help pull the Owls within two. A few Hail Mary passes in the final moments didn’t click, and Idaho got by.
- The Vandals are playing better under Paul Petrino. It helps to play at home, but the defense is doing a better job and the passing game is starting to click better.
- Temple is having a disastrous time trying to consistently do anything right. There weren’t any turnovers, but the offense struggled to move the ball in key moments early. When needed late, the Owls made it very, very interesting.
- Chad Chalich is coming into his own. The Idaho quarterback ran for 106 yards with a few big dashes, and he threw for 310 yards with a touchdown. He was everything to the attack.
- After losing to Fordham and now Idaho, Temple is in big, big trouble. Diving into AAC play next week against Louisville, and following it up against Cincinnati, things are about to get a lot worse before they improve. If they improve. The O needs to be far more consistent to come up with any wins over the next several weeks.

at Washington State 42, Idaho 0
Basically … The Cougars took over from the start with the first of Connor Halliday’s four first half touchdown passes. Jeremiah Laufasa score from 13 and three yards out in the second half to turn the game into a blowout. Idaho sputtered with just 253 yards and too many mistakes.
- The Idaho offensive line can’t pass block. Washington State camped out in the backfield with five sacks and 14 tackles for loss. The Cougar defense has done a fantastic job all season long, and it stopped the Vandal offense cold allowing just 253 yards.
- Idaho quarterback Chad Chalich completed 17-of-23 passes, but the offense didn’t move enough. There were some decent big plays to open things up a bit, but they didn’t lead to points.
- Gabe Marks turned into the key target for the Cougar attack with 11 catches for 146 yards and two scores. Halliday spread the ball around well, but Marks was his main man.
- 12 penalties. Idaho isn’t good enough to get by without making a slew of big mistakes, and there were too many early that killed the any chance at some momentum. The Vandals seemed like they got something going with a fake punt, but it was squashed by a penalty. The team has to do the little things right.

Northern Illinois 45, at Idaho 35, Sept. 14
Basically … Northern Illinois got down 28-14 in the first half, but turned it on over the last 37 minutes with a 31-7 run helped by two of Jordan Lynch’s three touchdown passes and a 61-yard scoring dash. Idaho made it a fight early with two of James Baker’s three touchdowns, and Richard Montgomery caught a 27-yard touchdown pass, but Lynch caught fire and NIU pulled away late.
- The long plane ride must have given Northern Illinois some problems. The Huskies were sleepy out of the gate, but Jordan Lynch once again showed why he’s an elite talent, righting for 159 yards and two touchdowns while completing 17-of-29 passes for 152 yards and three touchdowns.
- Idaho played its best game of the year, but the defense couldn’t hold up. The three fumbles were a disaster – the Vandals aren’t good enough to make mistakes against a team like NIU. However, the passing game was explosive.
- This was an uncharacteristically unfocused effort from the Huskies. The two fumbles weren’t good, but the 11 penalties were the real problem. The defense turned up the intensity in the second half, but it was still too much of a fight.
- The Vandal defense simply couldn’t contain Jordan Lynch. It did a decent job against the NIU running backs, and it kept the long pass played to a minimum, but Lynch was Lynch on the move and Idaho’s linebackers couldn’t adjust.

at Wyoming 42, Idaho 10, Sept. 7
Basically … Brett Smith threw four touchdown passes and Dominic Rufran scored three times on the way to a 42-0 lead at the end of the third quarter. Idaho didn’t get on the board until late, and didn’t get into the end zone until James baker ran for a one-yard score with 18 seconds to play.
- Brett Smith is in a groove. The Cowboy quarterback followed up his great performance against Nebraska with a 295-yard, four touchdown day with a pick. He ran for 64 yards, too, second behind Shaun Wick and his 110 yards.
- Chad Chalich was effective on his short to midrange passes, but the Vandals just can’t get anything rolling down the field to break open a defense. It’s not like Wyoming is the 1985 Bears, but still, there wasn’t any production early.
- Dominic Rufran might have been the money player for UW with three touchdowns, but Robert Herron had a huge game with 123 yards on five catches, and Tanner Gentry led the team with six catches for 76 yards. Smith was spreading it around.
- How brutally ineffective was the Idaho defense? Wyoming came up with 564 yards in just 23:43.

at North Texas 40, Idaho 6, Aug. 31
Basically … Idaho scored first on a six-yard Jake Manley scoring grab on the opening drive, and then it was all North Texas with 40 unanswered points. Derek Thompson threw for 349 yards and two touchdowns including an 85-yarder to Brelan Chancellor in the second and a 30-yarder to Darius Terrell in the fourth. Brandin Byrd ran for two scores.
- It was a sloppy game, but it worked out well for the Mean Green. The two teams combined for 18 penalties and five turnovers, with Idaho making the biggest mistakes.
- Derek Thompson was nearly perfect. The UNT quarterback completed 23-of-27 passes for 349 yards and two touchdowns as he made every right read and every good decision. Idaho didn’t get to him enough, and he took advantage.
- Idaho had some success throwing the ball with Jake Manley hitting on his short-to-midrange plays, but the three fumbles and the 11 penalties were a killer to get anything going. The Vandals couldn’t come up with anything positive after the first quarter.
- The one bright spot for the Vandals was punter Austin Rehkow. The freshman bombed away averaging 47.3 yards per kick putting two inside the 20.

Spring Analysis

Why To Be Excited At least the drama about what was going to happen with the program after the WAC implosion is over. It’s now about life as an independent, and new head man Paul Petrino has plenty of experience and lots of options to play around with. Nine starters are back with right guard A.J. Jones and running back Ryan Bass the only losses. The defense might have been lousy, but three starters are back up front with some decent size to work around in nose tackle QuayShawne Buckley and guard Jesse Davis on the inside.

Why To Be Grouchy For a team that struggled so much offensively, it needs as much time as possible to work on figuring out how to put points on the board. However, the defense might need just as much work with a massive turnover of talent to deal with. It’s not like the D slowed anyone down, but it’s still a problem to lose veteran tacklers like linebackers Homer Mauga, Robert Siavii and Su’a Tuala along with end Benson Mayowa. Safety Gary Walker led the team in tackles, and now he’s gone along with sure-hitting corner Aaron Grymes.

What Needs Working On Offense, offense, offense. Idaho has rarely had a killer defense, but the offense was usually fun and exciting with lots of passing and plenty of fireworks. Last season, though, nothing worked with the nation’s worst scoring offense that averaged under 16 points per game with no running game and a mediocre passing attack. When the O was able to get moving, drive after drive was killed by a bad turnover. Over the final ten games, the Vandals gave up three turnovers or more eight times. The defense came up with its share of takeaways, but it didn’t generate enough of them to make up for the offensive issues.

Team Concerns For 2013: New head coach Paul Petrino has to get the offense and the running game working. The Vandals finished dead last in the nation in scoring, averaging just 15.8 points per game, burdened by a ground attack that didn't go anywhere, averaging just 89 yards per outing. The defense wasn't much better finishing with the third-worst scoring D while the special teams also needs more pop for the nation's worst punting game that averaged a yard per return. Everything has to start with the turnover margin after giving it up 39 times and only coming up with 22 takeaways.

The 2013 Class Is Heavy On ... JUCO linebackers. The running game is looking for some instant help with JUCO transfers Jerrel Brown and Kris Olugbode, but the prepsters Isaiah Saunders and Danny Wilson are the better prospects. JUCOer Anthony Neyer will get a look at quarterback, and Dezmon Epps out of City College of San Francisco will eventually be a No. 1 target. However, the defense that needs so much help is getting the biggest infusion early on with Marc Millan from Santa Ana JUCO, Juan Martinez from CC of San Francisco and Broc Westlake from Sierra College.

2012 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 90. That Class Was Heavy On ... The Vandals need to get the passing game going again, and fast. Last year’s class brought in a slew of receivers and quarterback prospects, and next year will be Round Two. The receivers should be one of the biggest strengths of the class, and more quarterbacks are coming in for developing by 2014 and beyond. The new-look WAC isn’t going to be like the old school shootout version, but Idaho is trying to become equipped to put more points on the board. 

2011 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 113. That Class Was Heavy On ... the passing game. The Idaho defense has been a mega-issue over the last several years, and after loading up on defensive tackles last year, more were brought in with JUCO transfers Aaron Lazaro and Dontae Scott providing two 300-pound rocks for the middle. Looking to get more pop to the passing game, the Vandals got a few strong prospects with 6-6, 250-pound JUCO transfer Dominique Blackman in to challenge for the starting job right away, and big MarQuan Major and speedy Cameron McKernan in to take over the receiving corps.

2010 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 102. That Class Was Heavy On ... Defensive tackles. Head coach Robb Akey brought in a varied, diverse class with a little something for all spots, including center with Sam Tupua possibly the next great Vandal lineman now that Mike Iupati is gone and Mike Marboe the anchor for the future. But the bulk stars are on the defensive front, especially at tackle with big, big bodies being brought in with 285-pound JUCO transfer Ben Swarts, and 290-pound JUCO star Aaron Strumski to fill in right away.

2009 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 114. That Class Was Heavy On ... Variety. What do you get for the team that needs everything? The class is spread out over all the positions with enough JUCO players here and there to provide a few more options, while the top position might be linebacker with Jared Heston and Conrad Scheidt arguably the team’s best recruits. The junior college players help boost this class, only because the team needs players. CB Kevin Williams and WR Michael Lindsey will almost certainly play right away.

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 -by  Dec 8, 2013

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