GAME SUMMARY: Idaho at Nevada

It's been a year since a Vandal defense gave up this many points on the road. Despite Idaho's injury woes this year, this kind of let down was thought to be in the rear-view mirror. Apparently not. The Vandals (1-2 WAC, 1-5) were shredded to the tune of 62-14 by the Nevada Wolf Pack (2-0 WAC, 3-2) on the road in Reno Saturday afternoon.

There isn't a single category in this game that Idaho won.

Well...ok. Junior kicker Mike Barrow, who now is also the team's starting punter again after a season-ending injury to freshman booter T.J. Conley a week ago, had a good outing. He had a whopping EIGHT punts in the game, had two in excess of 50 yards, landed 4 inside the Nevada 20-yard line, had a long of 55 yards, and in the kicking department had two of his three kickoffs go through the endzone, with the other being returned for just 12 yards.

He did, however, have a PAT blocked.

Par for the course this afternoon.

In front of a surprisingly sparse Nevada Homecoming crowd of just 11,500 and change, Idaho got run-over defensively and man-handled offensively.

Defensively Idaho was virtually helpless stopping UNR in the first, second and third quarters. The Wolf Pack put up 265 yards rushing, 272 yards passing, and 537 net yards on the afternoon. Nevada running back B.J. Mitchell had 149 yards on just 15 carries to lead all backs on the day (plus 4 TDs and a long of 56 yards).

As if the points and yards weren't enough, Idaho also lost starting defensive tackle Jeff Edwards, a 2-year starter out of Coeur d'Alene (ID) late in the first half. He would not return the rest of the game, and his current status is not known (he was on the sideline the second half with his shoulder pads off). In the fourth, when the Wolf Pack started subbing backups, the defense held.

Offensively, despite netting 313 yards of total offense (275 yards passing and a brutal 38 net yards rushing), Idaho couldn't get anything going all afternoon. Plus, in the fourth quarter, it became the offense's turn to hand points to the Pack. First the Vandal offense gave up a 90-yard fumble recovery for a TD. That's right, Idaho was going in for a touchdown when noseguard-turned-short-yardage-fullback Siua Musika fumbled inside the UNR 10. Starting Nevada free safety Nick Hawthorne recovered the ball and sprinted 90-yards to the house. Then later in the fourth Idaho QB Steve Wichman (25 of 49 for 275 yards, 2 TDs and 1 INT) threw his one pick of the day, which was of course returned 50-yards by DeAngelo Wilson for another Pack TD.

Sound ugly? That wasn't the half of it.

And this week, we won't go into detail.

As quoted in the Official Press Release following the game: "I don't know. We practiced well," Vandal head coach Nick Holt said. "We have to do a better job as coaches getting these guys coming out better. You can't go three-and-out, basically, the first half.

"Nothing was good today. We have a lot of work today. We regressed. We were not a good football team today."

Not necessarily the kind of note you want to have going into a bye week with Fresno State, who is flirting with a Top 25 appearance after starting the season ranked before losing by three at Oregon, rolling into the Kibbie Dome in two weeks.

The media picked Nevada to finish fourth in the WAC this year.

They picked Fresno to finish second.

Fresno plays extremely well on the road, they are a veteran, talented, and deep team, and they will be playing for a conference championship and a bowl bid (one of two WAC guarranteed bowl bids this year). They have one of the top running back duos in America, their QB is an NFL hopeful and a senior who's thrown for over 7500 yards, and they have a veteran offensive line.

One would expect them to be focused.

It will certainly be interesting to see how Idaho's young team rebounds after this loss. A lot was going right for the Vandals defensively through the first five games of this season. Offensively (discounting the endless array of injuries this year), it's been a bit more of a roller-coaster ride with new players constantly needing to be inserted week-after-week.

Plus, for the first time since the 2003 season, Idaho actually gets the "luxury" of a mid-season bye-week (they played 12 consecutive games last year without a bye). The Vandals now have two full weeks to get healthy and prepare for their date with Fresno, which should be played in front of a full-house in Moscow.

Will the team bounce back to give the Bulldogs a battle, or will this loss continue to linger?

Only time will tell.



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