Last Saturday against Fresno State, in a game with few bright spots for a reeling Idaho team (4-7, 3-4 WAC) that lost 34-0 to the Bulldogs, junior cornerback STANLEY FRANKS tied a 38-year-old Idaho record with his 9th interception on the season. He is ranked #1 in the nation in interceptions on the year, and all of us at VV.com salute the first year Vandal.
Junior cornerback Stanley Franks
's starting right cornerback all season (he's played both right and left corner this season), has climbed to the top of the national rankings in interceptions on the season. With his 9th pick last Saturday, Franks also tied a 38-year-old record at Idaho for interceptions in a single season, joining Ken Dotson (1968) and Jim Norton (1958) in the Idaho record books. Franks also has recorded the most interceptions at Idaho since Charlie Oliver picked 6 in 1990. Nationally, Franks has the most interceptions on the season, leads the nation in interceptions per game (.82), is tied for 10th in the country in pass breakups on the season (tied with Jonathan Wade
), and has almost twice as many return yards (220) as anyone in the country. Ironically, this week the Vandals take on San Jose State
, and Spartan Dwight Lowery
is second in the country with 8 picks in 10 games (Daymeion Hughes of Cal is third in the country with 8 interceptions). It will be an interesting showdown between two of the better corners in the league, as Franks takes his shot at setting the all-time single season record at Idaho this Saturday.
He can't do it all for Idaho, but junior inside linebacker David Vobora
is giving it his all. This season remains among the top ten tacklers in the nation with 123 tackles on the year (ranking him seventh nationally). He is also tied for THIRD in the country in solo tackles with 80 on the year. As far as the Vandal record-books are concerned, he's five tackles short of joining the Top-10 list for tackles in a season at Idaho. Tom Hennessey's staggering record of 180 tackles (1986) isn't likely to be broken anytime soon. He's five tackles short of bumping Jason Shelt (128, 1996) from the list. If Vobora hits his season average of 11 tackles per game, he would move ahead of Ryan Skinner (132, 1997) at 8th on the all-time list.
THE CENTURY MARK...
Junior tailback Brian Flowers
eclipsed the 100-yard mark in a game for the first time this season, and did it in an efficient (and impressive) 16 carries on the afternoon. He averaged 7.1 yards per carry, including a long of 25 yards. The explosive former JC Gridwire All-American has had a solid season in his first year at the Division 1-A level, netting 552 yards so far on the season with 4 touchdowns and averaging a team best 4.6 yards per carry. He will be key to a Vandal victory Saturday as the offense works to get out of the funk that has limited them to just 17 points in the last three games.
AND ONE MORE THING ABOUT STATS...
Here's an interesting stat: Against Utah State
, New Mexico State
, Boise State
, and Louisiana Tech, Idaho was averaging 30 points per game. 30 POINTS!! For a school that was accustomed to scoring points like that throughout out the 80s and 90s (like Idaho was famous for during that stretch), it might not be that big a deal. But given the scoring drought the last five years, this is off-the-charts! However, since the fourth quarter of the Boise State game, when Idaho was down 28-26 mid-way through the quarter, Idaho has posted a grand total of 17 points in their last three games combined. Or, about five points per game for those keeping count. What gives? Sure, Fresno State
, and Nevada
are tough competitors and WAC veterans, but just five points per game? A shutout (34-0 at Fresno), a seven point performance (45-7 against Nevada), and an utter blowout on the islands (68-10 against Hawaii) is what has transpired. The drop-off in production is epic...and surprising. We will hold out hope that the offense will figure out whatever is holding them back this week, and go out with a W against a solid SJSU team. It's a home game, a chance to go out with a .500 conference record, an opportunity to set the stage for next season, and a prime time to recover from whatever has happened in the last few weeks. And we aren't pinning things on the offense either. In the last three weeks, the D has been giving up an eye-popping number of points per game; 49-points per game to be exact. That rate is staggering no matter how it's sliced, and no matter who is to blame. Hopefully both sides of the ball will pull it together this Saturday for one final game and end the season - one that got off to such a fantastic 3-0 WAC start - on a long-overdue positive note.
It's a cliche, but it's the truth; Football games are won in the trenches. If there is a game where a dominating performance up front is needed, it is this game this week. The top six linemen for Idaho (LT Nate VanderPol
, LG Jade Tadvick
, C Adam Korby
, RG Adam Juratovac
and Marcis Fennell
, and RT Kris Anderson
) have played in virtually every game this season. Idaho will lose two to graduation (VanderPol and Tadvick), and will have four returning with significant experience next fall (Fennell started at LG for a few games while Tadvick was out with an injury, and has earned the starting nod a couple times at RG this season as well). The unit has at times been dominant up front (including part of Saturday's performance in which they paved the way for 158 yards rushing against the Bulldogs, most in the first half). A complete game - four full quarters - from these six athletes Saturday is absolutely critical for a season finale victory for Idaho.
Junior tailback Brian Flowers gained 114 yards Saturday on just 16 carries in the game.
Redshirt sophomore center ADAM KORBY has started every game the last two years for Idaho. He was named to the preseason Rimington Trophy Watch List this fall.
True freshman defensive end Steve Cameron has seen significant playing time this fall. A linebacker in high school, Cameron made the move to defensive end this fall and plays the game with intensity.
Redshirt senior left tackle NATE VANDERPOL (68), a 4-year starter on the Vandal offensive line, will wrap up his career at Idaho this Saturday against San Jose State.
Senior quarterback Steve Wichman this season has completed 49.5% of his passes for 2027 yards, with 8 TDs against 12 INTs. Wichman will look to rebound from last Saturday's struggles at Fresno State, where he completed just 9 of 27 attempts for 81 yards, one interception and no TDs.