Not after last week. The Vandals actually showed some life and took down New Mexico State in a battle for the ages, shocking the college football world!
San Jose State Coach, Dick Tormey, once again, has the Spartans near the top of the WAC with a stout defense and a running attack led by senior running back Jonus Davis. This marks the 20th meeting between these two teams, with San Jose State leading the series 11-7-1. The Spartans have won five of the last six meetings, including a 28-20 decision in San Jose a year ago. This is only the second time ever that these teams have played in the Kibbie Dome.
Spartans On Offense
|Senior tailback Yonus Davis|
Spartan's Nasty D
Unfortunately for the Spartans, and fortunately for the Vandals, the Spartans defense is missing two of its stars that have played significant roles in their success. Defensive ends Carl Ihenacho (6-3, 245, Jr.) and Jeff Schweiger (6-5, 276, Sr.) will most likely sit out of this game. Still, the Spartans have plenty of play makers on defense. Mohamed Marah (6-0, 245, Jr.) has started the past three games in place of Schweiger. Linebacker hybrid Justin Cole (6-3, 240, Jr.) has emerged as a playmaker for the Spartans, returning an interception 62 yards for a touchdown last week, and linebacker Duke Ihenacho (6-1,200, SO.) is a one man wrecking crew, while defensive tackle Jarron Gilbert (6-6, 280, Sr.) has proven unstoppable in his senior campaign. This unit averages 8 tackles for loss per game. The Spartans have picked the ball off 14 times this season. Every player in their defensive backfield has picked the ball at least once, with senior cornerback Coye Francies (6-1, 185, Sr.) and senior safety Kyle Flynn (6-2, 205) doing their part to make this Spartan defense the class of the WAC. They have playmakers from top to bottom, and even with two of their best players out, there should be little drop off in performance.
What the Vandals Have to do to Win
After logging their first conference win last week, the Vandals need to believe they can do it again. The Vandals played solid defense, and rammed the ball down the throat of NMSU to finally prove they can play with the teams in their conference.
|Sophomore CB Isaac Butts returns last week's game ending interception against NMSU.|
The SJSU offense continues to play sporadically, so this should allow the Idaho defense to continue to shine if they can mount the pressure. Senior defensive end Josh Shaw (6-5, 253) garnered WAC Player of the Week honors with his breakout performance against NMSU, and Vandal fans are hoping he can do more of the same. Sophomore linebackers Jonathan Fariamo (5-11, 245) and Justin Allen (5-11, 218) have also come on, showing that the Vandal defense can, in fact, stop opposing offenses. Kyle Reed isn't the most dangerous passer the Vandals will face, so this should allow the defense to come up and play the line of scrimmage. The Vandals need sophomore cornerback Isaac Butts (6-0, 171) to lock down David Richman and pick the ball off.
Vandal QB Nathan Enderle (6-5, 223, SO.) will have his hands full with the SJSU defense. Enderle is notorious for holding onto the ball too long, and this defense will make him pay dearly if he doesn't get rid of it. Bottom line; Enderle needs to get rid of the ball. Other than that, the Vandals need the one-two-three punch of Deonte Jackson ( 5-8, 191, SO), Princeton McCarty (5-8, 171, Fr.) and Troy Vital (6-0, 207, Fr.) to continue plowing the way for the offense. If the offense can run the ball against this defense, it will score. It goes without saying that the Vandals also need their senior star Eddie Williams (6-2, 240) to resurface after two weeks of ambiguity.
Lastly, Vandal fans know how good senior kicker Tino Amancio is, and anytime he misses it sends a shockwave through the Vandal fanbase. The Vandals cannot afford any missed field goals against the Spartans, as they are likely to give very little scoring opportunities to the Vandals. Tino has to hit.
As always, it's great to be a Vandal, even if senior punter TJ Conley was snubbed for the Ray Guy award while currently leading the nation in punting average.
Homecoming was an outstanding choice for the football team to play their hearts out and give their fans a win. The electricity in the air was indescribable as time ran out and fans rushed the field. In all the years of Vandal football, the relationship between student body and football player has never shown itself in this kind of light. It was a true team effort; an effort put forth by everyone in the Dome wearing silver and gold on that October day. It was one of those "you had to be there' moments that will go down in Vandal football history.
It's why Vandal football is so important.
That win has translated into hope for this weekend as the Vandals host the stingy Spartans in a WAC football clash. With the "750,000-ton gorilla" off the back of Coach Akey and the Vandal football team, they can concentrate on what needs to be done in order to beat San Jose State. But Coach Akey would also be the first to tell you that the 12th man in the Kibbie Dome is needed more than ever, and Vandal fans also need to have a repeat performance.
Vandal fans; get your butts in the Dome, cheer for your team, and show them you believe!