Idaho's 2014 standouts

AS FRUSTRATING AS THE 2014 SEASON HAS BEEN, there have been several bright spots on this year's team with athletes that lead the Sun Belt Conference and the nation. Among the leaders is Idaho's tackle leader, junior outside linebacker MARC MILLAN, Ray Guy finalist sophomore punter Austin Rehkow, senior wide receiver Joshua McCain, and senior defensive tackle Quayshawne Buckley.

Joshua McCain - Few saw this coming from converted quarterback Joshua McCain in his first season at wide receiver for the Vandals. But what a year it has been. With just one game left, McCain has gained 1,123 yards receiving on the year. From a team standpoint, he is the first Vandal receiver to surpass 1,000 yards in a single season since Max Komar surpassed the mark 2009, Idaho Humanitarian Bowl season. McCain has the most receiving yards since Antonio Wilson went for 1,203 in 1996, and has moved into ninth on Idaho's single-season list. Nationally McCain is No.9 in the country in total receiving yards, he's also tied at No.11 with with nine receiving touchdowns (tied with Washington State's Vince Mayle, Missouri's Bud Sasser, Arizona State's Jaelan Strong, West Virginia's Kevin White, and Central Michigan's Titus Davis), and ranked No.9 in America with 112.3 yards receiving per game.

Austin Rehkow - Its only 2014, but Rehkow is considered the No.1 punter available for the 2017 NFL Draft. Nothing like looking ahead... For now, Rehkow is putting together a stellar sophomore season. Last week Rehkow took another step towards earning the ultimate honor for a punter when he was named one of three finalists for the Ray Guy Award. Rehkow is joined on the finalist list by J.K. Scott (freshman) at Alabama from the SEC, and Tom Hackett (junior) at Utah from the Pac-12. Rehkow leads the nation with 47.8 yards per per punt. Poised to become Idaho's career average leader as just a sophomore, Rehkow led the nation in 2013 and has proven that last year wasn't a fluke for the northwest standout.

Qayshawne Buckley - Idaho benefited greatly this off-season when Buckley was cleared by the NCAA for one more season. With NFL draft attention by several teams the last few weeks, the mark Buckley is leaving on the Idaho program continues to grow. It is extremely rare that a defensive tackle is among the team's leading tacklers, but that is the case with Buckley this fall. So far he has 68 tackles on the season, second only to linebacker Marc Millan. Buckley has accumulated 14.5 tackles for loss on the season, including four sacks. Nationally Buckley is tied with Baylor's Shawn Oakman with 1.5 tackles-for-loss per-game. Inconsistent at times, when Buckley is on he is difficult to stop.

Marc Millan - A stout foundation for the future of the program, outside linebacker Millan has been a leader since joining the program last fall as a junior college transfer. This season he is Idaho's leading tackler with 96 tackles on the season (tied for No.25 in the nation with Tyler Matakevich out of Temple). He's also ranked No.18 nationally with six solo tackles per game, tied with Chidobe Awuzie of Colorado, Mkie Hull of Penn State, and Qushaun Lee of Arkansas State). But behind the numbers, Millan has been adept at getting behind the line of scrimmage, tied nationally at No.18 with 14 tackles for loss on the season (tied with Markus Golden out of Missouri, and Adam Redden out of Buffalo).

Matt Linehan - Redshirt freshman quarterback Matt Linehan got his season off to a tremendous start, throwing for over 300 yards per game in each of his first three career starts. Through the first six games he was averaging over 312.3 yards passing per game (with nine TDs and 10 interceptions). On the first series of the New Mexico State game he had already thrown for 34 yards before being knocked out of the game on an illegal hit that sent NMSU's defender to the locker room and Linehan to the sideline with a concussion. For the next two games Linehan saw his playing time limited before playing a full game two weeks ago against Troy. Despite the setbacks and limited action, Linehan is ranked No.41 nationally with 232.6 passing yards per game heading into the season finale at Appalachian State.

Quinton Bradley - Junior defensive end Bradley leads the 2014 Vandal defense with six sacks on the season, and is the team's sixth leading tackler with 48 total tackles on the year (37 solo tackles, fifth on the team). He's also forced a fumble and broken up one pass from his defensive end position.

Elijhaa Penny - Junior college power runningback Elijhaa Penny, a junior college transfer who joined the program just this fall, saw limited playing time early in the season, but in just six games this season he leads Idaho's runningbacks with 10 rushing touchdowns on the season. A punishing north-south runner, he's second on the team with 498 yards rushing on the season, 4.3 yards per carry, and a long of 27 yards this year. Penny gained 121 yards against Arkansas State and scored two TDs, followed by 90 yards rushing against San Diego State and another rushing touchdown.


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