MOSCOW, Idaho – It started with a decisive victory over San Diego State last September. Two weeks later, the Idaho Vandals hung on against Colorado State. And last week, they trampled UNLV.
Three consecutive wins over foes from the Mountain West Conference. It’s a short but notable streak for the Vandals (2-1), and they can extend it this afternoon when they meet Colorado State (0-3) at 1 p.m. PDT in Fort Collins, Colo.
But if Idaho wins, don’t expect coach Robb Akey to make too much out of the recent success against the Mountain West – even though a third of the Western Athletic Conference is set to jump to the MWC in the next two years.
“Every game we play is the most important game in the world anyway, regardless of who we’re playing,” Akey said. “So it can’t mean anything more to me.”
This is the second straight week the Vandals have faced a winless MWC team.
UNLV got off to a miserable start last week in its 30-7 loss to UI, but it’s hard to imagine the same thing happening to the Rams.
After a neutral-site opener with Colorado and road losses at Nevada and Miami (Ohio), CSU gets its first opportunity to play at its field, Hughes Stadium. The Rams, celebrating their homecoming, will also honor former star tight end Keli McGregor as part of the day’s festivities.
McGregor, a walk-on at CSU who became an All-American in the early 1980s, died suddenly in April – at the age of 48 – of a viral heart infection. He had been president of the Colorado Rockies since 2001.
CSU is on a 12-game losing streak and didn’t score its first touchdown of the season until last week. It has posted the fewest points (19) among FBS teams.
Despite his team’s anemic offense and starting a freshman quarterback in Pete Thomas, coach Steve Fairchild said this a “winnable” game for the Rams.
“We cannot take them for granted,” UI cornerback Isaac Butts said. “They’re like any other team – they’re going to want to win. They aren’t going to come out and let us roll over them.”
Idaho left tackle Matt Cleveland had his eye gouged during a drill in Tuesday’s practice. He’s expected to play but will have to wear a visor on his helmet. … Backup safety Quin Ashley has been ruled out with a leg injury.