Vandals Down Falcons in H-Bowl Thriller

WE SHOULD HAVE EXPECTED THIS. After a 2009 season in which Idaho (8-5, 4-4 WAC) came back to win in thrilling fashion on numerous occasions, we should have expected it in today's Humanitarian Bowl. But apparently these resilient Vandals saved their best heart-stopping comeback for last, beating Bowling Green 43-42 on an improbable 66-yard drive in the final 26 seconds, capped by a 2-point play.

The Vandals saved their most stunning come-from-behind victory of the 2009 season (a season full of them) for the biggest stage of the year, in front of 26,276 fans at the 2009 Roady's Humanitarian Bowl, and on ESPN's national stage with no other games in the same time slot. The gut-wrenching changes in momentum in the final 60-seconds were a microcosm of the emotional roller-coaster that this game - and in fact this season - had been.

The University of Idaho Vandals (8-5, 4-4 WAC) delivered the Western Athletic Conference's first bowl victory of the 2009 bowl season, giving the WAC a 1-2 overall bowl record with one opportunity remaining (Boise State taking on TCU in the Fiesta Bowl) for the conference to achieve a .500 bowl mark.

As a team, the Vandals won eight games for the first time since the 1998 season, and improved to 2-0 all-time in bowl appearances (both Humanitarian Bowl wins). And according to ESPN, Idaho's "six-win improvement from last season (2-10 in 2008) is the second best turnaround this season (SMU had a seven-game improvement)."

The Vandals came into this game as 1.5 point underdogs (a role they've played all season long), and walked away as 1 point victors.

Along the way they delivered one of the most exciting games of the 2009 bowl season.

Below are stats, notes, post-game video clips of Robb Akey, and LINKS to media press releases from around the country chronicling Idaho's 2009 Humanitarian Bowl triumph.


RB DeMaundray Woolridge - Humanitarian Bowl MVP
In front of a huge partisan Vandal crowd The Diesel looked phenominal in Wednesday's Humanitarian Bowl, rolling to 126 yards on 22 punishing carries. He bowled over, ran around, and bulled his way through the Falcon defense for 5.7 yards per carry and two touchdowns. For his efforts (and the efforts of the Vandal offensive line clearing a path), Woolridge was honored as the 2009 Humanitarian Bowl MVP.

QB Nathan Enderle
The third year starter for the Vandals proved to be the cool head under crushing pressure that the team needed most. Junior signal caller Nathan Enderle completed 15 of 28 passes for 240 yards, four touchdowns, and not a single turnover. But it was his powerful arm that launched Idaho's furious comeback in the final 26 seconds of the game, beginning with a 50-yard bomb to Preston Davis to the Bowling Green 16 yard line, then a 16-yard TD strike to Max Komar with 4 seconds left in the game, and then the touch pass to Davis in the back of the endzone for the 2-point conversion and 43-42 victory. It doesn't get much better than that folks.

WR Preston Davis
Idaho sophomore receiver PRESTON DAVIS had just four catches on the afternoon, but they amounted to 119 yards and included two of the biggest receptions in the game -- the 50 yard reception to setup the final touchdown, and the go ahead 2-point conversion in the back of the endzone to give Idaho the final 43-42 lead with 4-seconds left in the game.

WR Max Komar - Redemption play of the year
Idaho star senior wide receiver MAX KOMAR struggled all game, dropping numerous sure catches in uncharacteristic fashion. But as with the entire Vandal team, his resilience paid off, with his heroics coming on Idaho's final game-winning drive. First Komar gave the Vandals excellent field position with a return out to the Idaho 34. Then Komar made his first and only catch of the game, a sliding 16-yard touchdown reception with 4-seconds left in the game that setup Idaho's dramatic 2-point conversion.

Larry Johnson was in Boise for this game, shooting the photos on the front page of this site and the video clips below. More video clips will be published later tomorrow (Thursday).

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Many thanks to VandalBacon from our message boards for creating a thread compiling the 2009 Humanitarian Bowl game summary articles listed below.

LINK: Idaho Official Site GAME SUMMARY and STATS

LINK: VandalNation (Argonaut) Game Summary, Blog, Videos

LINK: H-Bowl Blog: What an incredible game!

LINK: Photo Gallery and AP Story

LINK: Idaho Statesman - Nick Jezierny

LINK: Idaho Statesman - Brian Murphy Report

LINK: Sports News and Scores 2009 Humanitarian Bowl Summary

LINK: ESPN Instant Analysis

LINK: ESPN Recap and Stats

LINK: ESPN Highlight Video

LINK: CBS Sportsline Game Recap

LINK: CBS Sportsline Game Recap

LINK: CBS Sportsline Game Stats and Summary

LINK: Sports Illustrated Game Summary

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