MOSCOW, Idaho – In the visitor’s locker room last weekend at Lavell Edwards Stadium, head football coach Jason Gesser gave what he later termed a “heartfelt talk” to Idaho players moments after BYU had steamrolled the Vandals by 39 points.
The speech wasn’t about what Idaho had done – or not done – on a cold, dreary night in Provo, Utah. No, he wanted the team to quickly refocus its energy to the week ahead and the last home game for 19 seniors.
“Let’s finish this last one for them,” Gesser told his players.
The Vandals (1-9, 1-3 WAC) take on Texas-San Antonio (6-4, 1-3) today at 2 p.m. in the Vandals’ home finale at the Kibbie Dome. This is the first meeting between these schools and UI’s most realistic chance to win since it hosted and beat New Mexico State on Oct. 6.
More important to Gesser, this is the best opportunity left this season to brighten the spirits of the senior class and everyone surrounding the program. (Next week Idaho finishes the season at 8-2 Utah State.)
“With how much this program has gone through and how much everybody has gone through, just getting a win would mean so much for the department,” Gesser said. “It would mean so much for the players, the staff, the school, the university.”
Idaho hasn’t been competitive during a four-game skid, losing by an average of 35 points. And it has dropped 19 of 22 contests since the start of last season.
The downturn has been especially hard to swallow for a group of seniors who were underclassmen, or just coming to Moscow, when the program was riding high after a combined 14 wins in 2009 and 2010.
“I know we’ve gone through a lot of trials and tribulations, and there’s been a lot more downs than ups that go on with our team,” senior receiver and offensive captain Mike Scott said. “I just try to do my best and lead by example and show these guys that even though there’s so much going on, we can still persevere and still fight through this.”
UTSA, an FBS provisional team, started 5-0 before it, too, lost four consecutive games. UTSA, a 6.5-point favorite, would clinch a winning season with a victory today.