Vandals drop season finale at SJSU

Despite a career effort by senior middle linebacker Cole Snyder, on a day that included 17 tackles, an interception, a blocked field goal attempt and 4 points scored by the one-man-wrecking-crew (2 by safety, 2 by returning the field goal attempt that HE blocked), Idaho's offense could not get untracked. On the road at San Jose State (2-6 WAC, 3-8) the Vandals (2-6 WAC, 2-9) lost 26-18 to end their inaugural WAC season.

Idaho quarterback Steve Wichman has had a few cold starts this season, but would often find his rhythm and finish strong. In the weeks leading up to this game, the Vandals' ace had thrown for 489 yards against New Mexico State, 343 yards against Louisiana Tech, and 350 yards at Boise State. He was among the league leaders in passing yards going into the game, having thrown for 2600 yards through the first ten games of this season.

Those yards did not come without a price though as he also was among the league leaders in interceptions in this, his first season in Division 1-A football.

An offense in search of a running attack for much of this season, the Vandals relied heavily on the junior signal-caller to move the ball through the air. You put the ball up as much as Idaho was forced to this season, and picks will invariably happen (especially considering this was Wichman's first year at Idaho, and Idaho's first year in the much more competitive WAC).

Against one of the league's weaker pass defenses, Wichman struggled early with interceptions on each of Idaho's first three possessions, and the Vandal offense was grounded. In the end Wichman finished with 14 of 34 passing for 135 yards, no touchdowns, and four interceptions. He was sacked just once. If not for a stoic effort by Idaho's defense (yielding 343 total yards and few points while the offense repeatedly gave the Spartans outstanding field position), and a revived Idaho rushing attack (senior Antwaun Sherman rushed for 73 yards as Idaho gained more than 100 yards rushing for the first time this season), the game could have been a disaster.

But, as stated in a report by regarding the game, "Steven Wichman didn't have a good game, but the Vandals still had a shot at San Jose State late. If Wichman had been slightly on and didn't throw four interceptions, it might have been a different story."

This game rounds out Idaho's inaugural season as a full member of the Western Athletic Conference. As disappointing as this loss was to absorb, as well as the win-loss record for this season, the outlook for Vandal football in the years ahead is promising, and we will explore this outlook in the days and weeks ahead.

In the meantime, congratulations to middle linebacker Cole Snyder on a spectacular senior campaign. At the time this article was published, he ranked #2 in the nation in solo tackles on the year (93 total, 8.45 per game), was tied for sixth in total tackles (139 total, 12.64 per game), and 25th in tackles-for-loss (15.5 total, 1.41 per game).

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