It's been a long, LONG time since Idaho put together two consecutive wins. Since 2009 to be exact. But Saturday afternoon the Vandals (3-4, 2-2 Sun Belt) got it done with a 27-13 Homecoming victory over Louisiana-Monroe (1-6, 0-3 Sun Belt) in front of a boisterous Vandal crowd. It was also the fourth year in a row Idaho has won its Homecoming game.
For the complete story about what happened in this game, click the links below:
Some noteworthy performances:
- Matt Linehan: The sophomore quarterback looks to have completely recovered from the ankle injury that kept him out of one game and slowed in another. Saturday against ULM Linehan went 23-of-39 for 315 yards, three touchdowns and one pick.
- Elijhaa Penny: The senior tailback had his most complete game as a Vandal, as he put on the hard hat and went to work Saturday. The bruising back carried an impressive 36 times for 184 yards, a long of 15 yards and an average of 5.1 yards per carry.
- Deon Watson: The junior moved to TE during spring drills, but as this season progressed he found himself moving back out to the wideout. With so much attention being spent by opposing defenses to cover Dezmon Epps (9 receptions for 98 yards), Linehan and Watson found ways to exploit advantages in the Warhawk backfield. On Saturday Watson caught just three passes, but it was an efficient effort as two went for touchdowns of 34 and 20-yards.
- The Vandal Defense: It would be wrong to mention standout performances and not discuss the Vandal defense. This group has been much maligned this year ... make that for years. But things appear to be coming together on this side of the ball. Granted, ULM is no USC. But in years past teams like ULM and Troy would put up 30 or more points on Idaho (much like the 52 Troy put on New Mexico State yesterday). But the last two weeks the Idaho D has been stingy, giving up just 16 points at Troy last week and 13 points Saturday to ULM. Two weeks ago Idaho was giving up a staggering 47.0 points per game. But now, as the team begins to absorb first-year defensive coordinator Mike Breske's schemes, that average has dropped to 30.7 points per game. Its the turnaround the program needs as Idaho heads into the homestretch of the season.