MOSCOW, Idaho – Another game in a budding rivalry with Bowling Green makes for a nice subplot. What matters to Idaho coach Robb Akey is showing last week’s flat performance was an aberration.
Not more of the same from last season.
“Making sure that we go out and perform the way we’re capable of,” Akey said, “that’s something that means a lot to our football team.”
The Vandals are in Bowling Green, Ohio, today for a 4 p.m. nonconference game with the Falcons. This will be the third time in four years these teams have met.
After last week’s 20-3 home loss to Eastern Washington – combined with the meek offense it showcased in 2011 – Idaho could use a jolt from quarterback Dominique Blackman. The 6-foot-5 junior transfer will make his debut after sitting out last week for an undisclosed reason.
A setback today would send UI to 0-2 going into next week’s game at third-ranked LSU. Bowling Green has already traveled to a vaunted SEC stadium and nearly pulled a stunner.
Last week it lost 27-14 at Florida after being tied with the Gators in the second half.
The Falcons have a talented junior quarterback in Matt Schilz and have reloaded at wide receiver. But it was their strength at the line of scrimmage that impressed Akey in Week 1.
“One of things that stood out to me is they held up in the (offensive and defensive) lines,” Akey said. “That’s where a lot of times you see a difference is when you’re playing an SEC opponent like that.”
Idaho and BG opened the season last year in Moscow, with the Falcons rolling to a 32-15 win. Two season before that, the Vandals pulled off a comeback victory in the Humanitarian Bowl.
The teams have played enough the last few years that Falcons coach Dave Clawson said he almost considers the Vandals another Mid-American Conference opponent.
“For both of us, not a lot has changed since ’09,” Clawson said. “They have a different offensive coordinator, but they’re running the same offensive system. It’s the same head coach. It’s the same defensive system. … There’s a familiarity with them.”