NEXT UP: Idaho vs. Fresno State

One of the most anticipated home games in years, the University of Idaho welcomes Fresno State University and a Bulldog football team currently ranked 24th in the nation to the Palouse this Saturday afternoon. The matchup will be one of the toughest tests yet for Idaho's rebuilding football team, played in the friendly confines of the Kibbie Dome.

Idaho vs. Fresno State
AT A GLANCE
KICKOFF:
2 p.m. Pacific Time


WHERE:
ASUI Kibbie Dome


TELEVISION:
None


RADIO:
The "Go Vandals" Network covers much of the inland Northwest. Click here for listings.


THE LINE:
Fresno State by 28 1/2


THE SERIES:
Idaho leads 4-3
Last meeting ('79) UI lost 30-10

From a fan's point of view, this is what membership in the Western Athletic Conference is all about. At last, Idaho fans are treated to a schedule that is exciting and meaningful. Granted, it would be nice to be a little further along in the rebuilding process. But this year's schedule makes the past four years feel like almost an eternity ago. Earlier this season Idaho fans welcomed Hawaii to Moscow for the first time ever in a nationally televised ESPN-U football game, and three weeks ago continued their regional matchup with Utah State (an impressive 27-13 Homecoming victory).

This week it's a matchup with one of the premier teams in the WAC...a matchup Vandal fans have been looking forward to for four years. The Western Athletic Conference annually has at least one team that works its way into the AP and/or USA/Today Coaches Polls, and this week's opponent, Fresno State, typically is among the WAC's elite.

When the Bulldogs take the field this Saturday night, they will be the highest ranking Division 1-A team to ever take on Idaho in The Dome. Fresno State (2-0 WAC, 4-1 overall) head coach Pat Hill will be bringing in a team ranked No. 24 in the latest Associated Press poll, and will be riding a 3-game winning streak including a 53-21 dismantling of Utah State in Fresno (CA) last weekend. Their lone loss on the year was to Oregon by 3-points at Autzen Stadium.

Yes, the Vandals are HEAVY home underdogs to Fresno, with the latest line being 28 1/2 in favor of the 'Dogs. And yes, Coach Hill has nine years logged at Fresno and a deep, talented team that he has assembled during that span.

But this is exactly the level of competition that Idaho head coach Nick Holt is rebuilding this Vandal team to compete against. This is the western regional conference Idaho fans looked forward to getting back into for four long years. This is why state-of-the-art weight rooms, locker rooms, and practice facilities have been built. And this type of matchup is what has sparked an increase in season ticket sales and a sharp increase in student interest on campus, despite the team struggling through some growing pains and a ton of injuries this fall.

Billed as a "Black Out The Dome" game, fans will be sporting black Vandal gear from head to toe for this matchup. For more details, check out the link below:

LINK: Click here for MORE INFO


FSU PLAYERS TO WATCH:

Paul Pinegar, QB: He's the WAC's #1 rated passer as far as passing efficiency is concerned (164.68), has thrown for 926 yards, 11 touchdowns, 2 interceptions, and has been sacked just 4 times. His efficiency rating ranks him 7th in the NCAA. He leads the fifth-highest scoring team in the nation.


AP Photo /
Greg Wahl-Stephens
Wendell Mathis, RB, Sr
Wendell Mathis, RB: He is #2 in the WAC in scoring (48 points), and is #4 with 376 rushing yards on the year. He splits time with Bryson Sumlin (343 yards rushing, 2 TD). The Bulldogs have a physical front line and like to assert their presence on the ground.

Clint Stitser, K: Currently the scoring leader for the WAC with 53 points on the year. He has connected on 9 of 11 field goal attempts (81.8%), with his only miss an attempt of 50+ yards in the season opener. He's 2-2 from 40-49, and 2-2 from 30-39. He's missed just one PAT on the year.

Adam Jennings, KOR/PR/WR: Currently ranked #2 in the NCAA in kickoff return average (34.9) and No. 16 in punt return average (14.0).

THE BULLDOG DEFENSE: We'll make it simple. They lead the WAC in just about every TEAM defensive statistic, allowing 19.2 points per game (rank 27th in the NCAA this week). Keep a particular eye out for CB Richard Marshall (tied with Idaho's D.J. Dykes with 2 INTs on the year) and safety Tyrone Culver.



FOR THE RECORD...

Not to be outdone in the statistics game, Idaho boasts it's own solid group among WAC stat leaders going into Saturday's matchup:

Cole Snyder (#2 in WAC, #9 NCAA in tackles, averaging 12.3/gm)
Josh Bousman (#4 in WAC among sack leaders, and #10 tackler in WAC)
Mike Barrow (#2 field goal pct of 77.8% and FG/gm at 1.17)
Daniel Smith (#2 in WAC with 86.8 receiving yards per game)
Steve Wichman (#3 in WAC with 224 passing yards per game)
D.J. Dykes (#4 in WAC with 6 passes defended, tied #2 with 2 INT)
Wesley Williams (#5 in WAC in punt return yards at 6.2 yards per return)




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