ADVERTISEMENT
Advertise Here

SportsLink

Idaho-Nevada a juicy WAC matchup

Well, the moment has arrived for Idaho football. New Mexico State, San Jose State and Hawaii were nice appetizers, but now we’re going to really find out if the Vandals can hang with one of the WAC’s top-shelf programs.

Keep reading for more on the WAC’s primo matchup of the week.


**********
To start, here’s my blurb for the Spokesman:

Idaho at Nevada
Kickoff: 1:05 p.m., at Reno, Mackay Stadium
Records
: Idaho 6-1, 3-3 WAC; Nevada 3-3, 2-0
TV/Radio: SWX/1080-AM
Overview: This is the Vandals’ highest-stakes game in years – and it marks a dramatic step up in competition. Idaho is sitting atop the WAC standings, but it has beaten three conference foes with a combined record of 1-7 in league play. To stake a legitimate claim as a member of the WAC’s elite, the Vandals must pull off an upset as 15-point underdogs against a team they haven’t beaten since 1999. Nevada boasts the nation’s top rushing attack and rolled up 264 yards on the ground – while holding Idaho to 24 rushing yards – in last year’s 49-14 flattening of the Vandals. UI must account for elusive dual-threat quarterback Colin Kaepernick and productive running backs Vai Taua and Luke Lipincott, both of whom have nearly 500 rushing yards. The Vandals will counter with the WAC’s stingiest rush defense, led by a defensive line that’s surpassed expectations. But outside of Washington’s Jake Locker, UI hasn’t faced a multidimensional rushing attack like UNR’s. “You’ve got a guy (Kaepernick) who can hurt you very badly with his feet, and he can hurt you throwing the ball also,” Idaho coach Robb Akey. “As part of their rushing offense, he certainly leads that up — he’s the one that you’ve got to pay attention to first.”

********

I made mention of the Vandals’ defense going against Nevada’s vaunted rushing attack that’s averaging 292 yards per game. But another key is going to be how the secondary of both teams holds up against two capable quarterbacks. Kaepernick and Nathan Enderle are completing more than 61 percent of their passes — and Kaepernick was particularly accurate against UNLV and Louisian Tech (but not so much last week against Utah State).

When the Vandals went up against Jake Locker at Washington, they held the mobile QB to just 18 yards on six carries. But Locker was 17 of 25 in that game and sliced through UI’s secondary with ease. The goal today for Idaho is to hold Kaepernick in check on the ground like they didwith Locker — but also not to let him go wild through the air.

Another important factor today will be how Idaho’s defensive backfield and linebackers tackle in the open field. It’s been a big struggle — Hawai and Colorado State in particular got huge chunks of yardage after shaking free from Idaho defenders after making catches. Nevada has a very physical wideout in Brandon Wimberly, who could cause a few headaches. Wimberly, the Wolf Pack’s No. 1 receiver, has 433 recieving yards, four TDs and is averaging 16 yards a grab.

If the Vandals were to topple the Wolf Pack, it would be the biggest coup of Akey’s young coaching career. It would also give the Vandals a huge rush of momentum — not that they don’t already have lots — going into two straight home games against La Tech and Fresno State. In fact after today, Idaho finishes with three of four at the Kibbie Dome.


Please keep it civil. Don't post comments that are obscene, defamatory, threatening, off-topic, an infringement of copyright or an invasion of privacy. Read our forum standards and community guidelines.

You must be logged in to post comments. Please log in here or click the comment box below for options.

comments powered by Disqus
« Back to SportsLink

Get blog updates by email

About this blog

SportsLink is your portal into sports news around the Inland Northwest and beyond. You'll find updates, notes and opinions, and plenty of reader feedback.

Filter










Latest comments »

Read all the posts from recent conversations on SportsLink.

Contributors

Jim Allen Sports reporter Jim Allen's primary coverage areas are Eastern Washington University football and men's basketball, and college and high school soccer. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

Recent work by Jim

Jim Meehan Jim Meehan's coverage areas include Gonzaga University men's basketball, Spokane Shock football, golf and volleyball. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

Recent work by Jim

Chris Derrick Chris Derrick is a sports reporter. His primary coverage areas are the Spokane Chiefs, Spokane Indians, women's basketball and high school softball and volleyball. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

Recent work by Chris

Josh Wright Josh Wright is a freelance correspondent who covers the University of Idaho football team and men's basketball team.

Recent work by Josh

Vince Grippi is the online producer for SportsLink, a product of The Spokesman-Review.

Search this blog
Subscribe to this blog
ADVERTISEMENT
Advertise Here