QB spot up for grabs for Senior Day game

Senior Brian Reader gets the starting nod

The Idaho Vandals hope to send out their seniors on a winning note for the second year in a row. Idaho (2-8 overall, 1-4 WAC) plays host to Utah State on Saturday (2pm PST kickoff, live on ESPN3), the team's final home game. The Vandals, which had lost six Senior Day games in a row before finally breaking through last season, hope to make it two in a row for 20 Idaho seniors.

INSIDE SLANT

The Vandals only can play spoiler this season. Utah State is trying to secure bowl eligibility, and a loss to Idaho would be a critical blow to the Aggies' bowl hopes.

Once again, Idaho coach Robb Akey has opened up the quarterback competition this week between sophomore Taylor Davis and senior Brian Reader. Davis started the past three weeks, but he passed for minus-six yards against BYU, prompting Akey to use Reader in relief. The coach said whichever signal-caller has the better week in practice will start against Utah State.

The Vandals then have an open week before closing the season at Nevada.


NOTES, QUOTES

--With its eighth loss last week, the Vandals have lost at least that many games in seven of the past nine seasons.

--Idaho ranks 116 out of 120 teams in total offense at 286.2 yards per game.

--Idaho has 20 seniors who will be playing their final home game on Nov. 19 against Utah State.

SERIES HISTORY: Utah State leads 18-17-2 (last meeting, 2010, 28-16 Idaho)

SCOUTING THE OFFENSE: The root of Idaho's struggles has been at the quarterback position. The Vandals' quarterback efficiency rating is 99.32 this season, ranking 117th out of 120 Football Bowl Subdivision teams.

SCOUTING THE DEFENSE: Idaho's defense, which had played well in recent weeks, allowed 42 points at BYU. It was only the second time the Vandals yielded more than 40 points this season.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "Our (punt team) gunners played well." -- Idaho coach Robb Akey when asked if anything went right in Idaho's 42-7 loss at BYU on Nov. 12.


STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

THIS WEEK'S GAME: Utah State at Idaho, Nov. 19 -- It's the final home game at the famed Kibbie Dome for 20 Idaho seniors.

KEYS TO THE GAME: The Vandals must find a way to contain Utah State running back Robert Turbin and also figure out how to be more productive on offense against an Aggie defense that has been susceptible to allowing a lot of points and yards this season.

PLAYERS TO WATCH:

LB Treshawn Robinson -- The senior middle linebacker took over the team lead in tackles when he made 10 against BYU. He now has 88 tackles this season.

RB Princeton McCarty -- The senior running back rushed for 125 yards in the loss to BYU. That was more than half of Idaho's total offense in the game.

P Bobby Cowan -- He ranks first in the nation in punting with an average of 47.0 yards per punt.


ROSTER REPORT

--RB Troy Vital (foot) is questionable for the Utah State game.

--WR Armauni Johnson (broken arm) is out for the rest of the season.

--DE Jesse Davis (leg) is doubtful for the Utah State game.



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