They say you can throw out the records in these rivalry games. Idaho and Boise State happily will oblige.
Broncos backers can’t believe BSU is 2-9, with perhaps the best quarterback, Tony Hilde, and receiver, Ryan Ikebe, in school history.
Vandals faithful stutter explaining a 5-5 record, with an offense that averages 477.4 yards per game and a defense with Ryan Phillips, Barry Mitchell and Jason Shelt.
This afternoon, however, these scuffling programs take their minds off their troubles and scuffle each other at 12:35 PST in front of an anticipated 23,000 fans at Bronco Stadium.
“We’re kind of dumbfounded as to what happened,” Phillips said. “We have a whole lot of talent. We just haven’t jelled this season.
“But the only thing we’re concerned about is Boise State. We don’t have anything after them.”
Phillips was so concerned, he was in the coaches’ offices Wednesday morning at 6:30 watching BSU game tape.
Defensive end Chris Wing, who will play despite a sprained knee ligament, put BSU’s previous 11 games in perspective.
“We’re definitely not where we should be,” he said. “We knew this was going to be a year where we’d see a lot of adversity. I didn’t think it would be to this extent.”
BSU has set numerous school records for futility, but enters this game with minor momentum. Cancer-stricken coach Pokey Allen returned last week from medical leave and the Broncos nipped New Mexico State.
Hilde, as tough as quarterbacks come, has thrown for 549 yards and six touchdowns the last two games, though his season stats are his worst since his freshman year.
“Idaho’s better; they’ve got more talent,” Allen said. “I’m not trying to blow smoke. It all starts with their defensive line. They kicked us last year. But we’ll come up with a good game plan and we’ll do everything we can.”
The Vandals are aiming for their 15th consecutive winning season. To do so, they’ll have to end a maddening five-game road losing streak (six counting last year’s playoff loss at McNeese State).
So are the Vandals walking into a buzzsaw?
“There’ll be some black and gold (UI colors) bees there, too,” UI coach Chris Tormey said.
Idaho’s offense was blown off course against North Texas at windy Fouts Field last week. The running game has been strong one week, absent the next.
“If we can rush for 150 on them, then the passing game is going to open up,” Tormey said.
“It (BSU) is one you want to win. It’s one you’ve got to win. Or you won’t stay around here for long.”
UI offensive lineman Dan Zeamer, who missed last week’s game with an injury, is expected to play. … The weather forecast is for temperatures in the 40s and possibly rain showers. … True story: BSU players showed up to a Wednesday morning practice to see the remains of a blocking sled, taken apart bolt by bolt. A message left nearby said: “The Vandals will dismantle the Broncos.”
, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Graphic: Vandals at Boise State
MEMO: Cut in the Spokane edition
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