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Week 13 vs. South Alabama

Discussion in 'Idaho Vandals' started by Cave_Johnson, Nov 26, 2016.

  1. Cave_Johnson

    Cave_Johnson #1 Bob Saget Fan

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    So this is a bit odd. It's the last week of November and Idaho still has two more home games left on the schedule. They'll have a home game in December for the first time in 6 years, and with a bowl game essentially wrapped up they'll have two games in December for the first time since I don't even know when. I'd guess you'd have to go back to the pre-Big West days for that.

    The bowl game is still a ways down the road though. Right now I'm more interested in seeing if the Vandals can:

    1. Guarantee a winning season for the first time since 2009
    2. Reach 9 wins for the first time since 1998

    That all starts with beating South Alabama this week. The Jaguars have been a real weird team this year. Their 5 wins have come against 2 FCS schools, Mississippi State, San Diego State, and Georgia State. You'll notice only one of those teams plays ball in the Sun Belt. For whatever reason the Jags just aren't having much success against in-conference competition. Another interesting note: Despite those two FCS wins, USA will be eligible for the post season if they manage go 6-6 on the year. They'd be considered for bowls after all other 6-6 teams, but they'd be eligible. That's fortunate for them considering one of those FCS games was originally supposed to be a match up with LSU. Or maybe it wouldn't have mattered. USA is undefeated against non-Sun Belt teams. Who knows what would have happened.

    Anyway the point is that this is a team that is highly inconsistent, but they're going to be highly motivated to win and likely secure a bowl game. The Jaguars bring back quite a bit of talent from a team that came back from a 24-0 first half deficit to beat Idaho in Mobile. The real weak point of the team last year was, IMO, QB play. Cody Clements just wasn't good, even if Idaho's porous defense made him look decent. USA has made some strides in that department with sophomore QB Dallas Davis who has at least looked serviceable this season. However, their biggest threats to score have been TE Gerald Everett and RB and return man Xavier Johnson who torched the Vandals for 150+ yards on the ground last year.

    Defensively the Jaguars have been fairly impressive most of the time. Other than a few bad games they've been one of the best defensive units in the Sun Belt. Currently they're a top 10 passing defense in the country in terms of yards per game. They do however give up over 200 ypg on the ground, which is something Idaho should look to exploit with the emergence of sophomore RB Isaiah Saunders.

    Speaking of Idaho, the Vandals will be entering their final home stretch coming off a bye and a 47-13 victory over Texas State. TSU is, of course, terrible. But with that win it's now been two straight weeks that the Vandal defense has shutout their opponents in the second half. Considering all the struggles Idaho had last year giving up huge leads in the second half, that's pretty impressive. Definitely have to credit Mike Breske for that. I was skeptical about that hire after he basically got run out of Pullman, but he's done a great job with this defense. He's had plenty of help from the great talent in the front 7, but the turn around the defensive unit has made this year is damn impressive.

    On offense Idaho has finally gotten back to being what we all thought they could be at the beginning of the year. They're running the ball a lot more than I would have thought, but you can do that when you have guys like Duckworth and Saunders who really dig in and fight for those extra yards. The true emergence of the running game the past few weeks has really opened up some space for Buck Cowan in the middle of the field. And damn, Linehan is finally looking sharp again. He's doing a lot of little things that don't show up on the stat sheet but his improvement since week one has been obvious.

    Prediction:

    Idaho off a bye, back at home for the first time in over a month, and playing a team that seems to struggle against conference competition. There are lots of things going in Idaho's favor here, but USA has the talent to win this game if they play to the best of their abilities. It's worth noting that none of the teams Idaho has beaten this year have registered more than 4 wins this season. If the Vandals can't run the ball then I expect the previous statement to hold true. However, I think special teams could end up being the difference in this one and I'll take Rehkow over anybody in the country right now.

    Final Score:

    Idaho 27
    USA 21

    Go Vandals
     



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  2. Cave_Johnson

    Cave_Johnson #1 Bob Saget Fan

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    Also, this game was originally going to be a normal U of I home game with a starting time of 2 pm PST. Got moved to 6 PST presumably to get more students there and it has now been moved back to 12:30 PST in order to get the game on like 2 additional TV channels or something. IDK man, weird choice. Crowd will definitely be sparse with the majority of students gone.
     
  3. Cave_Johnson

    Cave_Johnson #1 Bob Saget Fan

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    38-31 Idaho win. Definitely not their sharpest game of the season, but a good win over a solid team.
     
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  4. BoiseStateFan27

    BoiseStateFan27 Sir Member

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    Solid win for you guys. What bowl do you think you will end up in?
     
  5. Cave_Johnson

    Cave_Johnson #1 Bob Saget Fan

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    90% chance it's the Arizona Bowl. Sun Belt may end up getting 6 bowl eligible teams with App St., Troy, stAte, and Idaho already clinched and ULL and USA with very winnable games next week but Idaho will get one of the guaranteed bids since USA would have 2 FCS wins.

    They should play a MWC team in that game, but I've seen them projected to play North Texas as well. Most likely opponent is probably Air Force or Colorado State. One projection actually has them playing Boise State but I'm not sure what that guy is smoking. Seems like you guys are much more likely going to Vegas, Hawaii, or staying in Boise.
     
  6. BoiseStateFan27

    BoiseStateFan27 Sir Member

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    We're going to Vegas or going to the Cactus bowl! I'm holding my hopes out for the Cactus bowl because the Pac-12 failed to fill their Vegas slot.

    Mountain West is only putting 6 because other than us, New Mexico, Wyoming, Air Force, Colorado State and San Diego State everyone in the conference basically sucked a dick this year. Actually Hawai'i sucked but they're going to get a bowl because they played 13 games, they will probably be in their home bowl as well.

    New Mexico and Colorado State are probably lowest on the totem pole but it would be a surprise if New Mexico was anywhere but their home bowl.

    Bad news for you guys is Air Force and Colorado State are the teams playing the best football in the Mountain west right now

    Whoever projected us to play each other must be on something strong LOL, there's almost a 0% chance that happens.
     
  7. FaCe-LeE-uS

    FaCe-LeE-uS How's Business?

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    A little too close for comfort... Guess I underestimated South Alabama. A wins a win though! Movin on!
     
  8. Cave_Johnson

    Cave_Johnson #1 Bob Saget Fan

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    I'm still not sure how good South Bama really is. They will likely be bowling if they win next week though so they'd ain't terrible.