Well, they did it. The Idaho Vandals are guaranteed their first winning season in 6 years after taking down South Alabama 38-31 last week in the Dome. It wasn't a particularly clean game, but it could have easily been a much bigger victory had Idaho capitalized more on turnovers. South Alabama put the ball on the ground 3 times and was fortunate enough to recover all three times. Luckily that didn't matter thanks to Isaiah Saunders who had another amazing performance going for 142 and 3 TDs on 23 carries. That was good enough to get him named Sun Belt offensive player of the week. And Idaho needed him to have that big game. Other than two huge TD plays Matt Linehan really did not have a great game. His second pick was just a crazy play involving a dropped pass that got tipped 4+ times before USA came down with the ball. But the other two were unadvised throws into coverage and across his body while rolling out of the pocket. He's going to need to clean that up this week against Georgia State's 9th ranked pass defense. There were of course a ton of positives from last week's game too. Tony Lashley having an amazing game with a huge punt block and a team leading 14 tackles, true freshman Ty Graham getting an INT and a sack, and Kaden Elliss coming up with yet another huge pick. The defense struggled against the pass overall, but still made some big plays and stops when they needed to, and that's a big step up from what they were doing last year. I'll move on to this week's game, and it's a pretty interesting one. It marks the first meeting between these two schools and it comes a week after the Panthers took out their rival Georgia Southern for the second straight year. That win was the first of interim coach Tim Lappano's career after he took over for the fired Trent Miles the week prior. If Lappano's name sounds familiar it's because he played running back for Idaho back in the late 70s and had a short stint as the RB coach under Dennis Erickson in the mid 80s. As far as I know this will be his first game in the Kibbie Dome where he's not wearing Silver and Gold. As far as the team itself goes though, this is not the best match up for Idaho. GSU plays great pass D and likes to throw the ball a lot. Idaho of course has been more of a passing team and has a pretty poor pass defense. The Panthers have a solid QB in Utah graduate transfer Conner Manning and a group of very talented WRs lead by Robert Davis but they have struggled to run the ball this year ranking nearly dead last in FBS in ypg. I don't expect them to get much going against a decent Idaho front 7 this week. I seem to always bring this point up, but it would serve Idaho well to control the ball with the running game and keep GSU off the field in this one. Saunders is playing too well right now to not feed him the ball 25 times today. If they can do that and limit turnovers there is no question in my mind they can win this game handily. If they can't, the match up dictates that Georgia State will be able to exploit Idaho's weaknesses. The Panthers are not as bad as their record indicates and Lappano has them playing better than they were at any point this season. Prediction: This one will probably be close. I can't see Petrino letting the team get complacent after clinching a bowl though. They'll be hungry for a win here and a chance to match Idaho's record for wins in an FBS season. Idaho comes out victorious in this one thanks in part to the Austin Rehkow factor but Georgia State fights until the end. Same score as last week. Idaho 38 GSU 31 Go Vandals.