Mixed emotions — Idaho football improves, still struggling
Running backs: A-
Offensive Line: B
Tight Ends: B
Wide receivers: B+
While the offense was by no means perfect, it was clearly the offense most envisioned when Dominique Blackman was named the starting quarterback. Blackman was stellar again, going 34 for 46 with 306 yards and three touchdowns, including an 8-yard touchdown pass to Mike Scott as regulation expired to send the game in to overtime. Still, Blackman turned the ball over twice on fumbles, including a fourth-quarter fumble on the goal line that led to Wyoming eventually tying the game instead of Idaho going up by 14.
The effectiveness of the running game stuck out as well. The Cowboys came into this match up as one of the worst rushing defenses in the country, which proved to be the case against Idaho. Ryan Bass averaged 6.4 yards-per-carry and James Baker averaged 7.5 yards-per-carry en route to Idaho totaling over 203 yards on the ground.
The offensive line played the best game they’ve played all season. It seems like continuity is starting to pay off a little for this unit. They hit the second level well to pave the way for the Idaho running backs.
The receivers are proving to be a deep and talented unit. Four different receivers caught at least four passes, including Najee Lovett and Mike Scott with eight a piece. Roman Runner showed big play ability with 14.0 yards-per-reception on the day.
Defensive Line: B-
The Vandal defense went on a roller coaster ride against Wyoming. It started the Monday afternoon before the game when Wyoming coach Dave Christensen was vague about who his starting quarterback would be, as starter Brett Smith missed the game prior due to a concussion. Turns out he was ready to go against the Vandals and was everything we’d expect him to be — in the second half, that is.
It was a turnover on Idaho’s opening possession that set up the Wyoming offense with a short field on their initial score, and a shot down the field beating Solomon Dixon that put Wyoming up 14-6 on Idaho in the first half. Brett Smith threw four of his five touchdown passes in the second half and overtime, abusing an Idaho pass defense and taking what was given to him, which includes multiple shots down the field. Dixon, linebacker Matt Willis and Trey Williams at the end were the victims of the Cowboy quarterback.
Pressure from the defense line was the best performance defensively for Idaho. Defensive tackle Quayshawne Buckley constantly made Smith have to work outside of the pocket and helped Idaho keep Wyoming to only 80 yards rushing.
Trey Farquhar: A+
Bobby Cowan: A
Justin Veltung – punt returner: A
Kick Returning: B
Farquhar was three for three on the day, including a 49-yarder in overtime that gave Idaho some life after a poor offensive possession.
Cowan punted three times for an average of 42 net yards a punt and pinned one inside the 20.
Justin Veltung returned four punts for an average of 10.3 yards per return. He clearly wasn’t 100 percent but we saw flashes of the big play ability that Veltung brings to the position
Idaho had three kick returns for an average of 21 yards. Todd Handley took two of those, big Michael LaGrone took the other off of a squib kick
Sean Kramer can be reached at email@example.com