VANDAL GAMEDAY: Idaho at BYU

THE UNIVERSITY OF IDAHO VANDALS dug deep last weekend on the road at San Jose State for their second win of the season. Saturday night the Vandals continue their road swing as they take on Brigham Young at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo, Utah (6:15 PM PST kickoff, airing live on ESPN 2). Idaho leads the all-time series 2-1, but hasn't faced BYU since 1955.

The 6-3 Cougars are coming off a bye last weekend, and Head Coach Bronco Mendenhall should have his Brigham Young team ready for whatever the Vandals throw at them. But with more snaps under his belt, reshirt sophomore quarterback Taylor Davis and the revitalized Vandals could have a little momentum after coming back from twenty points down to beat SJSU last weekend in San Jose.

And as every Vandal fan knows, Coach Rob Akey will also have his team ready to play.

In just his second start under center, Davis went 13-of-20 for 162 yards and a touchdown, but most importantly he made fewer mistakes in guiding Idaho to an explosive 22-point fourth quarter. As the game went on, Davis seemed to settle in, and early in the fourth quarter hit Mike Scott for the longest passing play for Idaho since the first play of the season. Later he threaded the needle to hit H-Back Mike Lagrone in the end zone for what would become Idaho's first lead of the game.

But the hero of the day was runningback Kama Bailey. Bailey took the team on his shoulders with 163 yards rushing on 19 carries. He ran with extraordinary toughness and heart. That's not to say that this wasn't a team effort. The offensive line obviously did their part, while Lagrone and Michael Scott made the air attack effective. Scott has been the most reliable of all receivers this year -- not bad for a newcomer to the team. What stood out most was the play calling, as the rushing numbers out-numbered the passing once again, and the Vandals were victorious.

The last two games, the Vandals have found their offensive identity.

On defense, Idaho continues to get better. The strength of the defense is the linebackers. Tre'Shawn Robinson, Conrad Scheidt and Korey Toomer are a wrecking crew. With every game this group grows stronger. That's not meant to take anything away from the stellar job the defensive line and backfield is doing. Safeties Gary Walker and Quin Ashley provide great support in the run and pass defense, while the emergence of defensive lineman Quayshawne Buckley and Karel Kearney have made running the ball more of a challenge for opposing offenses. Aaron Grymes is one of the better cornerbacks in the WAC. His ability to shut down a receiver, as well as open field tackle has been key for the defense this year. The last few games have shown the defense is capable of shutting down some powerful offenses, so if could be that BYU is in for more of a surprise than anticipated.


THE COUGAR OFFENSE

The Cougar offense is led by junior Riley Nelson (6-0, 196). Nelson is an effective pocket passer who can also take off and gain yardage on the ground. Rounding out the passing attack are go- to receivers Cody Hoffman and McKay Jacobson, and tightends Austin Holt and Marcus Mathews. The leading rusher for BYU is J.J. Di Luigi (5'9, 185 Sr.), with 415 yards and 3 touchdowns. Luigi is also a threat catching the ball out of the backfield. The second back in this one/two punch combo is Bryan Kariya at 6'0, 217 pounds.

Cougar Offensive Line – LT Matt Reynolds (6-6, 305 Sr.), Houston Reynolds (6-2, 296 So.), Center Terence Brown (6-4, 318 Sr.), RG Braden Hansen (6-6 313 Jr.) RT Braden Brown (6-6, 301 Jr).


THE COUGAR DEFENSE

The Cougar defense is led by linebacker Brandon Ogletree (5-11, 228 Jr). BYU has plenty of depth and will get good rotation throughout their whole 3 / 4 defense, especially their defensive line. They count on the bulk up front to clog the running lanes and the support of their four linebackers to fill any remaining lanes. Jordan Pendleton (6-3 238 Sr.), Uona Kaveinga (5-11, 236 Jr.), Ogletree and Jadon Wagner (6-4, 245 Sr.) all have good size and speed as well as plenty of experience. BYU can also pick the ball off with 11 interceptions on the season. Senior free safety Travis Uale has 3 on the year.

Cougar Defensive Line - LE Hebron Fangupo (6-1, 331 Sr.), NT Romney Fuga (6-2, 321 Jr.) RE Eathyn Manumaleuna (6-2, 294 Jr.)


THE FINAL WORD

Vandal fans can officially hope to go into Provo and come out with a win after last week's game. If they stick to a similar game plan, and allow the defense to flex its muscle, there could be a Vandal victory that shocks the entire football world.

Stranger things have happened.

The Vandals proven there was no quit in this team and could easily build off their momentum. A win against BYU could go a very long way for the entire program.

So let's go Vandal fans! Put on the silver and gold and prove to the Cougars that the Tribe from the North is for real.


Go Vandals!




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