Kibbie Dome public address announcer Mike Nelson made it to Idaho’s football game vs. Nevada on Saturday.
His car wasn’t as fortunate.
Nelson, a UI grad who lives in Coeur d’Alene, was navigating treacherous U.S. Highway 95 - made more treacherous by an early morning snowfall - when his car hit a patch of ice eight miles outside of Moscow.
His ‘89 Jeep Cherokee rammed head-on into an oncoming car.
Nelson was OK, but the driver and the passenger in the other car were taken to a hospital. Nelson said he heard both were going to be fine, though one may have suffered a broken collarbone.
“It was just scary as heck,” said Nelson, whose car apparently was totaled. “I’m still kind of shaken by it.”
Nelson assisted the travelers in the other car then caught a ride with a Latah County sheriff’s officer to the Kibbie Dome. Nelson, also the P.A. announcer at Coeur d’Alene High School football and volleyball games, was en route to Moscow to help with the Vandals’ annual Stride For Gold fund-raiser.
He worked CdA High’s football game with Lewiston on Friday night and left CdA at 5 a.m.
“It was just one of those days,” said Nelson, who did the P.A. in UI’s 24-15 upset of Nevada and the Vandals’ volleyball match Saturday night.
Poor driving conditions may have trimmed 3,000-4,000 people from the football crowd at the Kibbie Dome.
Thomas’ taxi service
Joel Thomas, UI’s 5-foot-6 bowling-ball running back, put the final touch on the win.
Thomas had a 13-yard run late in the fourth quarter. So? Most of Nevada’s defense was being dragged on Thomas’ shoulders the final nine or so yards.
“He squats 750 pounds, bench (presses) 475 and his center of gravity is about a foot and a half off the ground,” UI defensive end Ryan Phillips said.
Tom Pace is the only true freshman to see playing time for Idaho this year. But Pace, a Junior Olympic weightlifting champion from Mesa, Ariz., leads the Big West in kick returns.
He had returns of 45 and 47 yards in the first half, the latter setting up a touchdown drive. Nevada finally wised up and pooch-kicked to a different receiver.
Pace has seen limited duty as a running back, but is averaging 8.1 yards on nine carries.
UI better enjoy Pace. It’s likely he’ll go on a Mormon mission before next season.
Idaho and Nevada fought to a statistical tie. Each team rushed for 89 yards, passed for 267 and totaled 356. The big difference: Nevada’s four turnovers to Idaho’s one. … “We control our own destiny,” UI coach Chris Tormey said of the 3-3 Vandals, who are 1-0 in the Big West. The champion plays in the Las Vegas Bowl against the Mid-American Conference winner… . Quarterback Ryan Fien’s efficiency soared in the second half when UI opted for controlled, shorter passes. Fien fired deep often in going 6 of 16 in the first half.
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