I am rock hard. Let me just lead with that. In fact, I'm having a difficult time sitting at this desk. I'll pull through though, so let's jump into it. This last offseason was the worst I can remember. Really, it about made me sick. As a result I was a lot less enthusiastic than most heading into this year. I predicted a pretty mediocre season, and after the first 3 games it sure looked like I was going to be right. A nail biter against one of the worst teams in the Big Sky, an ass pounding by UW, and then another ass pounding by then winless WSU. Idaho looked like shit on both sides of the ball. Since that rough start the Vandals have looked....well....pretty solid. Sure they were out-matched against the two best teams in the Sun Belt. But every other game has resulted in an Idaho W, and for the most part this was due to strong performances in all three phases of the game. Last week was probably the best all-around game they've played all year. They won the time of possession battle, out-gained ULL, and held Elijah McGuire in check. Austin Rehkow....well he was Austin Rehkow. Three FGs (including a 50 yarder) and three instances of pinning the opposing team inside their own 10 ( not including another one that landed inside the 5 and bounced around 3 Idaho coverage men and into the endzone) is about as much as you could ask from your punter/kicker. As long as we're on the subject, it's worth mentioning that Idaho's improvement as a team the last few years has actually hurt Rehkow's punting stats quite a bit. He's not getting the chance to blast the ball downfield from his own 20 anywhere near as much. But he is getting more opportunities to clean up with manageable field goals. He's currently only behind ASU's Zane Gonzalez in terms of FG's made, and that's only because Gonzalez played on Thursday night. Why am I going this in depth on the kicking game? Mostly because today the Ray Guy semifinalist list was announced and Rehkow's name wasn't on it. Probably because he ranks outside the top 40 in yards per punt, and yes that's likely the only reason he was left off the list. It's a shame. Hard to watch last week's game and not come out knowing that this kid is at least in the top ten in the country. Oddly enough Rehkow did make the Lou Groza semifinalist list for the first time in his career. And don't get me wrong, he deserves that. But he won't win the award. ASU's Gonzalaz in the best kicker in the country. Rehkow is probably the best punter and he's being left out. That is some A&M over Washington level tomfoolery right there. Anyway, a few points about last week's game: - Isaiah Saunders may have just grabbed the lead job in the backfield. 26 touches for 141 yards and the go-ahead TD for the sophomore RB. This kid has the potential to be a DeMaundray Woolridge type of player, only with a bit more of an upside in the passing game. -Linehan's stats were nothing spectacular last week, but he made some huge plays in key situations. His pocket presence and awareness are finally where we all thought they'd be at the beginning of the season. He forced a few against App. St. that resulted in turnovers. Against ULL he was taking what the defense gave him and it worked to perfection. -The offensive line held strong despite the loss of Jordan Rose. Rose will likely be out again this week. - The defense did not force any turnovers last week but Lashley and Elliss were all over the field and Aikeem Coleman put on a show with 2 sacks and 3 TFL. Ellis also had two sacks but they were both him finishing the job started by Coleman and Tueni Lupeamanu. - Finally, ULL just won in convincing fashion against a banged up Georgia Southern squad. Kind of ended up being a perfect storm for the Cajuns, but it goes to show that they are not exactly a push over squad. On to this week's game against the Texas State Bobcats, a team that has played Idaho every year since they officially moved to the FBS level. TSU is 3-1 in those games by the way with their only loss coming last year in the Kibbie Dome courtesy of Deon Watson. The Bobcats have had a bit of a rough go of it this year with only one FBS win that came in the first week of the season. And after scoring only 13 combined points in their last two games you'd think I'd be pretty confident Idaho walks out with a W here. Well, I guess I fooled you bitch. I've had this one marked down as an L since the start of the season. It's the last leg of a 3 game road trip for Idaho and the Bobcats have had a ton of success against the Vandal defense in the past. Texas State has averaged nearly 300 yards per game on the ground in the last two meetings. Senior QB Tyler Jones reached the end zone 6 times combined in those contests. Yes, this one had "trap game" written all over it. Wait.....Idaho can have a trap game? Yeah, turns out they can. Now, that said Idaho has also had their fair share of success against the TSU defense. Matt Linehan has gone for over 300 yards both times he has faced the Bobcats. Deon Watson and Callen Hightower both went for over 100 yards in last year's win while now Arizona Cardinal Elijaah Penny bulldozed the Bobcat D for 150 yards and two scores. This game has the potential for a shootout. Idaho's vastly improved defense may have something to say about that though. The play of the front 7 was fantastic last week. Texas State struggles to run as it is however so this is going to come down to the Idaho secondary's ability to keep Tyler Jones in check. Whether or not a shoot out plays into TSU's hands is another story. Idaho has had some experience getting W's in close, back-and-forth games this year. Prediction: Idaho's losses this year have all come to teams with at least 7 wins. They are beating the teams they should thus far and I do like this match up. Vegas has Idaho by 8 here which for college football is not really THAT big of line. Some are expecting a blow out but I just don't see it. The Vandals should be able to keep the Bobcat O off the field by utilizing their newly discovered weapon in Isaiah Saunders. But if not, I still like their chances in a track meet type game. There is some pressure on Idaho to get the W here and essentially guarantee a bowl game for the first time in 7 years. If their mental toughness has improved as much as I'd like to believe this won't be an issue. On paper Idaho is the better team but Texas State will keep this one real close and it's certainly a possibility they pull one out if Idaho folds a bit at the end of this long road trip. Final Score: Idaho 34 TSU 27 Go Vandals.