Vandals make first-ever trip to ACC territory
Idaho will venture into the ACC this week when the Vandals travel across the country to play Virginia.
The three-hour time difference won't be too much of a factor, however, as the game kicks off at 12:30 p.m. PDT. That's only 90 minutes before the Vandals usually play their home games.
"We're going to work to get our bodies on the local time," Idaho coach Robb Akey said.
The Vandals will be trying to snap a 22-game losing streak against teams from BCS conferences. It also will be the first time that Idaho has played Virginia or any school from the ACC. The Vandals have played teams from the other five BCS leagues -- the Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-10, Big East and SEC -- since becoming a member of the Football Bowl Subdivision in 1996.
Idaho hasn't defeated a team from a BCS conference since taking down Washington State in 2000.
The game against Virginia also is the Vandals' second-to-last nonconference game of the season. Later, Idaho will travel to BYU.
In the past two seasons, Idaho amassed a 7-3 record in nonconference games. This season, Idaho is 1-2 in such contests.
--Idaho had three different tight ends make receptions against Fresno State; Mike LaGrone, Clayton Homme and Taylor Elmo.
--Idaho leads the WAC in turnover margin at plus-.50 per game.
--Brian Reader, Tyrone Novikoff (offense), Treshawn Robinson, Michael Cosgrove (defense), and Tyler Brooks (special teams) are Idaho's captains this season.
SERIES HISTORY: First meeting with Virginia.
SCOUTING THE OFFENSE: Idaho ranks 117th (out of 120 FBS teams) in rushing and is tied for 105th in sacks allowed. Those are sure signs that the Vandals need to get better play on the offensive line in both run blocking and pass protection. One positive: Idaho has done a good job of taking care of the football having lost three fumbles and one interception in four games.
SCOUTING THE DEFENSE: The lack of a pass rush has been troubling as Idaho has only two sacks in four games. That has made life tough on the cornerbacks who are forced to maintain coverage for longer periods of time. Idaho does have five interceptions in four games this season.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "The best benefit that can come from this game would be us going out there and playing well and get a win against a BCS opponent. That would bring a lot of charge and a lot of energy to our team and to our fan base, also." -- Idaho coach Robb Akey on having to travel to Virginia this week.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
THIS WEEK'S GAME: Idaho at Virginia, Oct. 1. -- The Vandals will try to snap a 22-game losing streak against teams from BCS conferences. The Vandals will be playing a Cavalier team that lost at home to Southern Miss last week.
KEYS TO THE GAME: The Vandals will need to be balanced on offense, something they showed signs of in the first half at Fresno State when they put up 17 points. Defensively, Idaho needs to generate a pass rush. The Vandals haven't had a sack in two weeks, which has made them vulnerable to the deep ball. On special teams, Idaho needs to get a boost in terms of field position from its coverage and return units.
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
TE Mike LaGrone -- The sophomore had a career-high five receptions in the loss to Fresno State despite playing with a leg contusion.
RB Princeton McCarty -- The senior led the Vandals in rushing for the second game in a row, amassing 33 yards on nine carries against Fresno State.
LB Tre'Shawn Robinson -- The senior captain registered a team-high 10 tackles and had two tackles for losses against Fresno State.
--RB Ryan Bass (undisclosed injury) is questionable for the game at Virginia
--G Jordan Johnson (ankle) is questionable for the game at Virginia
--WR Preston Davis (foot) is doubtful for the game at Virginia
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