Dennis Erickson Post-Game (UI vs ISU)

The Vandals survived a late fourth quarter charge by the Idaho State University Bengals to hang on for a 27-24 "must" win in front of 15,162 boistrous (at times) Idaho fans. Idaho had several opportunities to "put the game away" but didn't, as the Bengals scored a touchdown in the waning seconds of the second quarter, then put up two TDs in last 6 minutes of the game to draw within 3 points.

OVERVIEW… I thought in the second half we did better defensively then we did in the first. The problem we have on defense is we're giving up the big plays. We gave up a big play just before the half. I mean, its 17-3 and they've got the ball with a minute some left and I'm thinking we'll try to get the ball and try to make it 24-3, and they go down and score a touchdown and now its 17-10. And then at the end of the game we have a stupid penalty and they go down and score a touchdown, and they have a chance to at least tie the game if they recover the onside kick.

It's a win. Its 27-24…it's a win and I'm not going to give it back to anyone. I thought Idaho State hung in there and played well; you've got to give them credit. They've got some skill, I've said that all week. They've got some skill on offense. Their quarterback is a good player. Am I satisfied with winning? Yes. I love winning. Am I satisfied totally with how we played? No. The thing I told our players in the locker room is it's great, you've worked your rear ends off. It's a great win, we haven't won a lot of games here in the past, and a win's a win. Enjoy it, but lets come in here with an open mind here tomorrow because we did make a lot of mistakes, and in order for us to get better we have got to look at that and improve.

There was some improvement, there's no question about that. There were some guys that made some big plays for us in the passing game, which is what we were looking for. I thought Brian Flowers stepped up and did some good things…he got better as the game went on. We need a guy like him to energize us; he makes a big run and then a big run for a touchdown. He's got that kind of speed to do it. Wendell [Octave] had a great day. I thought Marlon Haynes made some big plays, particularly early in the game.

Developing a "killer" instinct… We could have put the game away a couple of times in my opinion. We could have put it away in the third quarter when we were playing good defense and couldn't get it in the endzone. Could have jumped up on them at halftime and didn't…we let them score. That's what I'm disappointed in more than anything. You've got to give them [ISU] credit too…they made plays.

About the last drive… We were able to open it up a little bit, and we were able to complete some passes. [We] made some big plays, Wendell made some big plays, Flowers made some big runs. It's hard to say why all of a sudden that happened. I wish I knew or else it would have happened in the third quarter. It was right down to the nitty-gritty and I thought our offensive front stepped up and we made some big plays.

Regarding what happened in the third quarter with the Idaho offense (Idaho went silent in the third)... I wish I knew. We just lost our momentum. We didn't run the ball probably as much as we should have or probably as successfully as we needed to in the third quarter. That's probably part of it.

About passing to Ryan Heacock on the critical third and seven play in the fourth quarter on Idaho's last scoring drive to keep the drive alive… He probably runs that play better than anyone else on our team. There are times we talk about who you want in this particular situation on this particular play, and that particular play Ryan Heacock is the guy you want to go to. He didn't play a lot, but it's an option route for the flanker, and he does that really well. We called that play - who to throw it to - and Steve found him and it was a huge play for us.

About David Vobora and the rest of the defenders who stood up today… He [David] has been outstanding every game that we've played. He was all over the place again…that's just how he plays. He's that kind of player. He's the catalyst of our defense, and he's the guy that's going to run around and make plays. JoArtis Ratti played a lot in that game, and he's going to be a tremendous addition to us defensively. Kiel McDonald came in and played for Reggie Jones, and did an awfully good job for us in his place. They were trying to pick on him, and he made some critical plays for us.

Regarding the running game in general today... I thought we got something out of it. We got 160 yards rushing, that's a pretty good days work. That's about 4 yards a carry. We were consistent. There were times we got bogged down; I thought we ran pretty well, particularly in the first half.

About Bird and Flowers… We'll split it, they both have things that they do really well. Brian's a little quicker, Jayson runs inside, so it's a pretty good 1-2 punch that we can alternate in there.

About the locker room following the game… I told them, ‘enjoy the moment, because when I see you tomorrow the moment's going to change.' So, we've just got to get better. They deserve it. They've been through a lot, they've been through what happened to them last year and they've been through a coaching change…they've been through a lot, this group, and they deserve some time to celebrate.

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