IDAHO INSIGHT: Aim to close 2010 with win

Idaho safety SHILOH KEO

THE VANDALS CAME OH SO CLOSE LAST WEEKEND TO KEEPING THEIR GOAL OF A SECOND CONSECUTIVE BOWL GAME ALIVE, but lost a four point lead over Fresno State with less than 15 seconds left in the game, falling 23-20 to the Bulldogs in Fresno. This weekend Idaho looks to rebound against San Jose State (2pm PST kickoff) to close out the 2010 season with a win in the Kibbie Dome on Senior Day.

INSIDE SLANT

There will be no bowl game for Idaho this season, thanks to a last-second loss at Fresno State on Saturday.

But that doesn't mean the Vandals (5-7 overall, 2-5 WAC) don't have anything to play for this week when they line up against San Jose State in the season-finale at the Kibbie Dome.

Idaho hasn't won a Senior Day game since 2003, which was the final game of coach Tom Cable's tenure. Nick Holt (0-2), Dennis Erickson (0-1) and Robb Akey (0-3) have yet to send out the seniors on a high note.

The Vandals have 16 seniors on their roster who were recruited by three different head coaches and will be looking for their second straight victory over the Spartans, who enter on a nine-game losing streak.

A win by Idaho also would give the Vandals six victories, a number they've reached only four times since becoming a Football Bowl Subdivision competitor in 1996.


NOTES, QUOTES

--The Vandals recovered four fumbles in their loss to Fresno State to recapture the national lead in fumbles recovered with 19.

--Two of Idaho's seven losses this season have come in the final 15 seconds of play. Colorado State kicked a field goal on the final play of the game to beat the Vandals, and Fresno State scored a touchdown with 14 seconds left to spoil Idaho's own comeback bid.

SCOUTING THE OFFENSE: Idaho's offensive line has struggled massively this season. The Vandals have allowed 43 sacks in 12 games, ranking 117th out of 120 FBS teams. And the line has failed to generate much of a ground game. Idaho ranks 118th out of 120 FBS teams at 81.3 yards per game. On the flip side, Idaho ranks 10th nationally in passing offense at 302.7 yards per game.

SCOUTING THE DEFENSE: Idaho leads the nation in fumbles recovered with 19. The Vandals are coming off a five-sack performance at Fresno State, giving Idaho 28 on the season. The Vandals had a streak of eight quarters without yielding an offensive touchdown end in the final seconds against Fresno State.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I'm very disappointed in the outcome of this game. I'm sick to my stomach for these seniors - that we couldn't get them another bowl game." -- Idaho coach Robb Akey on his team's last-second loss at Fresno State.


STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL:

THIS WEEK'S GAME: San Jose State at Idaho, Dec. 4 -- Both teams are playing for pride as neither is bowl eligible. The Spartans have lost nine games in a row and Idaho will endure its ninth losing season in 10 years.

SERIES HISTORY: San Jose State leads Idaho, 12-8-1 (Idaho won 27-22 in 2009).

KEYS TO THE GAME: Idaho has played well against teams it was supposed to beat this season with the exception of a loss at Colorado State that cost the Vandals a chance at a winning season. Expect Idaho to be aggressive on defense and to look for a mix on offense in the final game for 16 seniors.


PLAYERS TO WATCH:

--DT Michael Cosgrove is coming off a two-sack performance against Fresno State.

--RB Deonte Jackson scored his third touchdown in two games when he crashed in from 4 yards out against Fresno State.

--QB Nathan Enderle went over the 3,000-yard mark for the season when he passed for 197 yards against Fresno State. He now has 3,064 yards this season.

ROSTER REPORT:

--RB Deonte Jackson (ankle) is probable for Saturday's game against San Jose State.

--WR Preston Davis (knee) is doubtful for the season-finale against San Jose State.

--LB John McKinley (leg) is questionable for the season-finale against San Jose State.


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