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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Look back at Vandals’ wild win

After having nearly 24 hours to digest what took place inside Bronco Stadium yesterday, I realized there’s a lot we weren’t able to touch on — stuff that simply got lost in the postgame melee.

Keep reading for extra quotes, thoughts and links on Idaho’s heart-stopping 43-42 win over Bowling Green.

To start, here’s John Blanchette’s column that sums up the craziness well, followed by my game story (the longer version is here) and our notebook.

It was such a wild scene after the Vandals’ touchdown and two-point conversion that there was no way to pack in all the details and interesting quotes. It wasn’t just Freddie Barnes’ crazy-good day (17 catches, 219 yards, three touchdowns) or De’Maundray Woolridge’s 126 rushing yards that were overshadowed.

There was also Nate Enderle’s decision to try to throw after clearly going past the line of scrimmage on Idaho’s second-to-last possesion. Facing third-and-four from BG’s 40 with about 2 minutes left, Enderle attempted to scramble, changed his mind and ended up flinging it to no one in particular. The play drew an illegal forward pass penalty and forced UI to punt the ball back to BG, which went on to score with 32 seconds left. If not for the miracle last-second finish, Enderle’s decision — which pushed UI out a manageable fourth down — would have been dissected by a lot of folks.

The Vandals’ defense couldn’t come through in the fourth quarter, but it played reasonably well at key moments. There was JoJo Dickson’s blocked field goal, Jeromy Jones’ interception early in the third quarter, a fourth-down stop also in the third on a somewhat strange play call by BG (Barnes lined up in the Wildcat and threw an ill-fated shovel pass to a tight end). Afterward, Akey acknowledged the defensive struggles but also focused on the bottom line. “The statistical numbers aren’t the ones that matter,” he said. “Everybody would love to be three-and-out on every possession and take the ball away all the time. What matters is you do what you need to do to win the ballgame.”

Maybe the best Akey quote came after a TV reporter asked him if the Vandals would stop eating out of bowls and move onto plates after this win. Akey made headlines through the offseason and preseason with his soundbites on forcing the team to use bowls during dinner to get the right mind-set embedded in their minds. After Wednesday's game, he said: “I kind of like the way the bowls are working. We’re just going to get bigger bowls and more of them. You can put more food in bigger bowls.”

Here are some other quotes of note:

Akey on what the win means: “It means a ton — for our entire university I do believe. … I think you (will) see Vandals all over the state, all over the country carry themselves a lot taller and prouder right now. … That momentum has been building over the course of the year. I bet you real large that we see a bump in enrollment this fall. I think there are a number of good things that will come from this, and it’s due to the hard work of these guys right here.”

Akey on his players: “I couldn’t be more proud of a group of kids. To take this from where we were — three wins in two years — and get to this point right now and be a bowl champion, I think that says a lot for the determination, the hard work, the perseverance of these right guys here.”

Shiloh Keo on Barnes’ 51-yard TD with 32 ticks left: “It was just a broken coverage by us. They executed better than us, basically.”

Jones on his interception: “Before the game, everybody been telling me, you’ve got to get a pick, you’ve got to get a pick. This is the biggest stage I’ve ever played on so if ball comes my way, I’m going to pick it.”

Preston Davis on his 50-yard grab: “We’ve ran that play every time at the end of the half, at the end of the game trying to get some extra points. We were confident in that play because we’ve succeeded in it before. It hasn’t necessarily gone to me, but I have faith in Nate that he’s going to get it to the right person. It was a little underthrown but he put me in the right spot for me to be able to get under it.”

Akey on Davis’ breakout game: “He came through and delivered a little bit today and I was very proud to see that.”

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