Dawg Blog - Idaho

About 40 minutes before kickoff: Hardly anyone in the stands except for the bands participating in Band Day. Very weird feeling, like being in a big, cavernous tomb. The teams are on the field, going through their warmups, but there's no electricity in the air. I'm watching the Virginia-Syracuse game on right now, the Orange just tied it up at 24 with 6:25 left.

About 37 minutes before kickoff: The skill guys meet up with the linemen at the base of the tunnel, their gold heads bobbing like crazy. They come out to the field, but hardly anyone around to give them a proper greeting. Went to the Long Beach Poly-Bellevue game last night, a great game again for Washington prep football. The Wolverines showed California football again that a great system, coupled with personnel to fit that system and team desire and heart can take you a long ways. With all the fantastic press for Steve Schilling, it showed everyone who was there or saw it on TV what I've seen for over a year - he's the best player on the west coast, hands down. When the opposition say that one lineman was the difference in the game at that level, that's very high praise. Also some props out to senior Anthony McQueen. That game was his coming-out party. I don't know if he'll be the next J.R. Hasty, but he's doing a pretty solid imitation so far. I taped the plays, so look for more from the game on Sunday. Just as I begin to wonder when the heat lamps overhead in the press box are going to come on - voila!

About 20 minutes left: Virginia pulls it out on a late FG. The Huskies meet again at the west end zone, this time with a much warmer greeting. It's a nice day, so everyone should be out. Louisville hung 63 on Oregon State...hope their fans are coping. ABC just put up a graphic that had OSU at 2-0 after the game...ooops. The Husky marching band is out there, doing their thing.

About 15 minutes left: Husky Stadium is still empty, especially now that all the other bands joining the Husky Marching Band are down on the field.

8 minutes before game time: Stadium is about one-quarter full. Say what you will about the Husky Band, but the National Anthem presentation with the big flag has always been something to watch...spectacular. Skyline's Jason Harris and Nathan Hale RB/LB Jason DeVos were seen on the sideline before the game.

4 minutes before gametime: Idaho comes cruising out of the tunnel. I look up to the visitor's section and surprisingly enough, the Vandals aren't represented nearly as well as I would have thought. Next come the Huskies through a tunnel made up by the band. People are still climbing into their seats, and the ones that are here on time are plenty vocal.

1 minute before gametime: UW captains are Evan Knudson, Scott White, Rob Meadow and Manase Hopoi. Huskies win toss and elect to receive. Noise is starting to be made, even though the place doesn't look very full. The die-hards are in full effect. Sampson and Fountaine back to receive. Fountaine? Chambers started.

12:34/1st: Okoebor redeemed with a pick. Wichman rattled? Good to see the Huskies sticking with the run early and the receivers are doing a nice job blocking on the edges and downfield. Have to say there isn't a ton of diversity in their run game yet early in the season; off-guard, off-tackle, sweep. One thing you can't fault the Huskies for this year is their ability to start off well. They are doing that again today. The breaks also seem to be going UW's way.

9:46/1st: Sims in the game...seems like they aren't thrilled with the idea of running Rankin by the goal-line. First poor play of the day by Stanback on the option...another poor decision in trying to force a ball into a space when he's going to be sacked...and Knudson can't capitalize on the chippy...it continues. With no TV, this game will go quickly. Thank God for small miracles.

7:27/1st: Baer mixing it up with some zone blitzing with his safeties. The old bugaboo (3rd and 15) happens and the Vandals try to take a play out of Cal's book with a shovel pass. The Huskies must've studied their game tape too, as the Vandals only gain 11 and have to punt.

5:03/1st: Shackelford right along the sideline with no one close to him and IS goes deep and gets picked in double-coverage. So much for taking what's given. The education of Isaiah Stanback continues...

4:55/1st: Scott White has to be snakebit as the guy who gets his hands on the quarterback the most without ever having a chance of making a play...the Huskies are making plays in the backfield, but they are shaky at best...the front four is not making even a dent in Idaho's OL...just as I write it, Rayford and Hopoi go nuts on Wichman.

1:45/1st: Not sure what's happened to Louis Rankin, but he doesn't look at all like the running back that played against Air Force up to this point. Seems like he's running OK, just doesn't seem to have that extra something. Stanback gets bailed out of a poor read with a Vandal PI. The Huskies have to take advantage of UI's generosity, and so far they haven't.

14:05/2nd: Good to see Shelton Sampson getting some carries, but on the next play it's easy to see why the coaches like Sims, as he goes for a career-long run.

11:35/2nd: Sims goes in basically untouched after pounding it three times with no luck...and for those thinking it was a fumble, once the ball crosses the plane, the play is over and it's a touchdown. Looks as if the coaches want Rankin to take it between the 20's and then give it up to the bigger backs...at some point they are going to have to let Louis eat some end zone.

10:00/2nd: Lobendahn is still a liability as far as tackling goes...C.J. Wallace is just the opposite and is having a heck of a day so far. The Vandals are going to be able to slant UW to death unless the Huskies can adjust.

7:14/2nd: The Huskies make one of those 'plays' that winners make, stopping a 4th down in their own territory. To be fair to the Vandals, I think they got totally shafted on their 3rd down spot, but Wichman definitely didn't do anything to definitely 'get' a first-down for UI. Big stop by the Huskies, something they have really struggled with the past 14 games. And with that stop, the sun comes out in it's full glory.

7:07/2nd: Now the Vandals are starting to implode with dumb mistakes. Stanback is starting to really show some patience when his number is called. Rankin must've heard me, because he decided the only way he was going to eat some end zone was by taking it the distance, and he did just that for his first career score. Good call against a back-side blitz by the cornerback...Holt guessed wrong on that one. Chances are good #9 will hit the century mark before halftime, as he only needs five more yards to do it. Knudson is doing all you'd want the kickoff guy to do, but the Vandals are finding creases. They should be getting stopped at the 20.

5:23/2nd: The defense needs to understand that Wichman is always looking to pass first! Benjamin got caught with his pants down instead of keeping to his man. Lobendahn just looks lost out there, making very poor reads and putting himself well out of position. If the defense has truly turned a corner and are making 'winning plays', they will hold the Vandals to three.

2:58: Donny Mateaki and Benjamin come up with that 'winning play', leaving the Vandals with three to show for their drive. We'll see if the offense has some two-minute magic in them. Idaho time out...interesting. The difference between Rankin now and the 1Q Rankin is pretty dramatic...perhaps he needs some time getting into the swing of things. No hold on the Stanback free-for-all?

:46 seconds: Craig Chambers sleeps with angels. The Idaho defender whiffs on the play, and the big-playmaker comes up with a 45-yard grab falling on his back. Stanback must be bunking with him, because he once again threw into double-coverage and came up with a positive.

:04 seconds: Big stop for Idaho. Guess Tyrone doesn't want to roll the dice when he can get something positive heading into halftime. Right now, the way their season is going, I don't blame him one bit. A field goal as time expires gives the Dawgs some good vibes as they run back up the tunnel, but it could have been a lot more...

Halftime: Band Day. Lots of noise. With a headache, not exactly the best combination. Quickly looking at the stats...-4 yards rushing for Idaho (including -29 for Wichman), let's hope the Huskies can keep that up...conversely 161 yards rushing for UW, led by Rankin with 105. Penalties are way down and turnovers are even. Not a bad start for the Huskies, now they need to finish the deal. Willingham talked about it all week and now his team gets to walk the walk...

Third-Quarter Kickoff: Ryan Campbell collapsed after making a tackle on special teams in the first half, but is OK. He was taken to the hospital for x-rays as a precaution.

12:21/3rd: Third down still killing the Huskies. Gunheim drops off in zone on a safety blitz, can't make the play. Wichman getting lots of time to pick apart Washington's secondary. The crowd just doesn't seem to be in the game. Mateaki and Gunheim make big plays on Wichman the statue, but pressure just isn't consistent. Hopefully it'll come. It's funny to watch the finger-pointing at the line of scrimmage on a false start...a BIG Special Teams play - Mapuolesega gets the block and the ball...it appears as if all the momentum is going Washington's way, and it's refreshing to see them make their own luck.

9:39/3rd: Holt is starting to show some signs of desperation with his blitz schemes...normally Stanback would have just taken off, but showed maturity in getting the ball to a wide-open Shackelford...Lappano really doing a nice job of keeping Stanback in the game and the ball in his hands...frankly I was expecting even more roll-outs today and maybe there will be more in the future...finally Barry Erickson has something to REALLY cheer about this year.

8:41/3rd: The Vandals haven't really made them pay for it, but Washington's tackling, while actually much-improved, still has a long ways to go, especially on kickoff coverage...just saw a record toss of a flag by the back judge, thing must've gone thirty yards in the air if it went a foot...Scott White laying the lumber and Lobendahn picks up his first air theft as a Dawg, crazy as that sounds. He's played in 500 games, it seems...

6:23/3rd: It's easy to see now why the coaches are reticent to have Rankin running in the red zone...he has zero inclination to put his helmet down and power for yardage...too much side-to-side garbage. Knudson, after getting drilled on the last kickoff, comes back with three more to push UW's advantage. The Huskies have been good about finishing in the red zone, but clearly can get better...baby steps.

5:30/3rd: Looks like the UW front four is hanging with Idaho's OL blow for blow...the image of Hopoi holding up a towel after a sack like he just scalped the QB is a vision the Huskies hope to see more of this year...even Wilson Afoa is getting into the act and the Vandals are clearly getting frustrated...and rattled. Too bad UW fans decided not to attend this game, progress has been made in a lot of areas.

4:11/3rd: Stanback has most decidedly taken what's been given this second half, in fact I'd say he has played a flawless third quarter so far. Lappano has spared no expense in getting Johnie Kirton into the ball game in a number of different formations, even getting him a touch out wide very early in the ball game. It's fun to watch the young guys get their first scores of their career. If Kirton is not the starting tight end against Notre Dame, I'd be shocked. At 34-3, is it time for Paus to get some action?

2:37/3rd: Vandals are just killing themselves now with needless penalties. The Vandal faithful are up and clapping, not sure why. Durrell Moss is now in the ballgame at corner after Fountaine gets dinged up. Now the rowdies are starting to make some noise...guess they finally smelled the blood in the water...and the defense makes another third-down stop, good on them.

:38/3rd: The old number switcheroo...who was 38? That wasn't Durrell Moss, it was Anthony Russo...Dave Williams is the Husky Legend for this week, a phenomenal receiver from the 60's.

14:00/4th: Willingham sure was watching those Michigan State-ND highlights pretty intently...seems to be always looking for that little edge, even something he might see during a throwaway highlight.

12:30/4th: The DL is definitely imposing it's will on Idaho and Baer is not letting off the gas...he's still throwing blitzes left and right at Wichman...they are playing with the kind of recklessness Willingham wanted to see...Lobendahn with a shoestring job to stifle another third-down shovel pass by the Vandals. Stanback coming back in. There is a full Vandalization of Idaho happening at Husky Stadium...and as soon as I say it, Shelton Sampson puts it on the ground.

10:51/4th: Erick Lobos, I thought he was going to do a full flip after barely missing out on the interception...if Caesar Rayford was 6-foot-9 instead of 6-foot-7, he would have gotten a tip on the first down by Greer...the next play was a microcosm for what went right against Idaho and what went wrong against Cal...the running tried to bump it outside after getting stuffed, Afoa comes up with the big shoestring stop. And the Huskies D doesn't even have to make stops anymore, the Vandal O does it all for them.

7:58/4th: It's the Casey Paus and Chris Singleton show now...and it's no surprise that the Casey Paus of old came out to play on Saturday...Douglas rips off a 58-yarder and a block in the back to boot - whatever field position Idaho thought they might have is toast.

6:14/4th: It's weird scouring the stands at Husky Stadium right now...it looks like it normally would during a blowout of old, but the funny thing is not that many people are leaving...Lobos and Afoa have really stepped up their games this Saturday, they will really have to bump it up another notch for the Huskies to stay with Notre Dame.

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