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Sports >  Idaho football

Crystal ball: Idaho should get plenty of postseason awards

Nov. 9, 2022 Updated Wed., Nov. 9, 2022 at 5:22 p.m.

Idaho Vandals wide receiver Hayden Hatten (80) makes a catch for a touchdown against the Eastern Washington Eagles in the first half at Kibbie Dome on Sat. Nov. 5 2022 in Moscow, Idaho.  (James Snook/FOR THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW)
Idaho Vandals wide receiver Hayden Hatten (80) makes a catch for a touchdown against the Eastern Washington Eagles in the first half at Kibbie Dome on Sat. Nov. 5 2022 in Moscow, Idaho. (James Snook/FOR THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW) Buy this photo
By Trevan Pixley Lewiston Tribune

LEWISTON – With only two regular-season games remaining in Idaho’s unforeseeable season, it’s time to do everyone’s favorite thing: speculate.

With the Vandals sitting in third place in the Big Sky with a 5-1 conference mark, and ranked No. 15 in the STATS Perform FCS Top 25, it’s not too early to look ahead to end-of-season conference awards.

The team ranks in the top five in total offense and defense, and it should yield several players spots on the all-conference team.

Here’s what to watch for:

Offensive player of the year: WR Hayden Hatten

Idaho should have a couple of guys in consideration for offensive player of the year. It’ll be hard to take it away from either Sacramento State quarterback Asher O’Hara or running back Cameron Skattebo.

The top guy for the Vandals clearly has been Hatten . The 6-foot-2, 205-pounder ranks sixth with 716 receiving yards and first with 12 touchdown receptions.

Newcomer of the year: LB Paul Moala

This one could be a shot in the dark, but Moala’s impact on Idaho’s defense since transferring from Notre Dame has been drastic.

He started his first game against Washington State on Sept. 3, racking up five tackles, including one for loss, and a forced fumble. Since then, he hasn’t missed a beat.

The 6-0, 220-pound redshirt junior has 45 tackles, six for loss, two sacks, four interceptions and a forced fumble through nine games.

Freshman of the year: QB Gevani McCoy

McCoy should have this locked up.

The 6-0, 175-pounder has thrown for 2,032 yards, fourth in the Big Sky. He’s also added 23 touchdown passes, tops in the conference.

First-team offense: WRs Jermaine Jackson, Hatten

There will only be three first-team all-conference receivers, meaning the best receiver duo in the conference ideally should make up 66% of the list.

Jackson has been the Tyreek Hill of the Big Sky with how electric he’s been with the ball in his hands. His 780 yards receiving ranks No. 2 in the Big Sky. He’s also third in yards per game at 86 (one spot behind Hatten).

Second-team offense: McCoy, RB Anthony Woods.

The quarterback spot will be tough to assess by the end of the year.

Sacramento State’s two quarterbacks (probably) will earn a spot on either the first, second or third team. UC Davis’ quarterback Miles Hastings also will be worthy of consideration, leaving McCoy in a bit of limbo.

He’s been exciting to watch considering he’s a freshman leading his team on a playoff push.

With the Big Sky having such talented quarterbacks, however, McCoy probably will not get a spot on the first team.

Woods, like McCoy, was somewhat of an afterthought coming into the season.

He had nine carries for 50 yards against the Cougars to open the year. After that, the 5-10, 175-pound freshman kept getting more carries, finding his way into Idaho’s starting lineup. He’s fifth in the conference in rushing with 648 yards.Third-team offense: OL Logan Floyd

Floyd considered not coming back this year and luckily for the Vandals, he did. He’s the best pass protector on Idaho’s offensive line.

He’s accomplished all of this after changing positions early in the year. Against Drake on Sept. 13, Idaho coach Jason Eck reshuffled the line, moving the 6-3, 300-pounder to center. He hasn’t allowed a sack since.

Second-team special teams: K Ricardo Chavez.

Chavez has made a Big Sky-high 14 field goals and is 14-of-17 on the year.

His field-goal percentage only trails Sacramento State kicker Kyle Sentkowski. His season-long also is longer than Chavez’s with a 53-yard boot compared to a 47.

First-team defense: MLB Fa’avae Fa’avae, DB Tommy McCormick.

Fa’avae is having a career year for Idaho.

The 5-11, 215-pound senior already broke his career high in tackles with 77, adding a fumble recovery and two sacks.

Last year, he was an honorable mention pick. This season, there’s no reason he shouldn’t be considered the head of the table.

McCormick has earned the nickname “Turnover Tommy.”

He’s had four interceptions, a forced fumble and a blocked extra point. Furthermore, he’s second on the team in tackles with 48.

Second-team defense: Moala

There will only be two outside linebacker spots available on the first team, making it difficult for Moala to get the nod. But there will be four spots on the second team, making him a shoo-in.

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