Over the past few seasons, and even the last decade, home games for Idaho against ranked teams have been rare occurrences. This afternoon, Vandal fans will get to see 23rd-ranked Fresno State in action — and, something that's more common, they'll watch the UI defense go against another elite quarterback.
We have our game preview below.
KICKOFF: 2 p.m.; Kibbie Dome, Moscow, Idaho
RECORDS: Fresno State 4-0; Idaho 1-4
RADIO: 1080-AM (Only TV is Bulldog Sports Network in Fresno area)
OVERVIEW: Idaho has already squared off against some of the most productive quarterbacks in the nation – Wyoming's Brett Smith, Northern Illinois' Jordan Lynch and Washington State's Connor Halliday. And this afternoon, it will see Fresno State's Derek Carr, another accomplished QB.
“He is probably as good as any quarterback that is out there in college football,” Vandals coach Paul Petrino said of Carr, who's third in the nation in total offense (374.8 yards per game) and tied for third with 14 touchdown passes.
The 23rd-ranked Bulldogs are the first ranked team to play at the Kibbie Dome since 2010, when Boise State came to Moscow. They're also the first nonconference ranked team to play at Idaho since 2003 (also Boise State, when Idaho was in the Sun Belt and BSU was in the WAC).
Besides Carr and an explosive FSU offense, the Bulldogs' defense has amassed 13 sacks, which is good for 10th in the nation on a per-game basis. The Vandals, meanwhile, have allowed 28 sacks, seven more than any other FBS team.
LINE: Fresno State by 27.5
INJURY REPORT: After last week's win, Petrino said he was hopeful that defensive end Quinton Bradley (shoulder) would play against Fresno State. Bradley was not suited up during Tuesday's practice. In fact, he was running stairs in the Kibbie Dome while the team practiced. Offensive tackle Jesse Davis, who missed last week, did practice on Tuesday.
A STRING OF GOOD QBs: Brett Smith came into the week second in the nation in total offense. Derek Carr is third. Jordan Lynch is 13th. These are three of the first six opposing QBs for Idaho this season. And it only gets more challenging, with Florida State's Jameis Winston, Ole Miss' Bo Wallace and Arkansas State's Adam Kennedy coming up.
Petrino laughed when asked about this on Monday.
“Can we play against somebody that's a true freshman or something?” he said. “But you know, it's going to really pay off for next year, when we go through the schedule; there's no way we'll play against that many good quarterbacks and our defense will be used to playing all those good quarterbacks.
“The only way to get better is to play against the best.”