VANDAL PREGAME: Idaho hosts Utah State

Devon Sturdivant, Special Teams Captain

This Saturday the Vandals will host the Utah State Aggies in the finale of what has turned out to be a season to remember for Idaho fans. Coach Akey and crew have delivered on promises made three years ago when they took over the Idaho program, making the Vandals the surprise of the WAC in 2009. Twelve seniors will play their last home game in Moscow Saturday, as the team battles for a bowl bid.

After going 3-21 in his first two seasons in Moscow, Idaho head coach Robb Akey's third season has taken the WAC by storm. The Vandals have put together an impressive 7-4 season this year despite frustrating setbacks against Fresno State, Nevada, and Boise State. In out of conference competition the Vandals were a rugged, well rounded team that went a stellar 3-1 this fall with wins over Northern Illinois (currently 7-4 and battling for a bowl), Colorado State, and San Diego State.

Special Ticket Prices for the Utah State Game

Call the UI Ticket Office at
(208) 885-6466 and ask about the "Student Section Special!"

The University of Idaho is currently on fall recess, creating an opportunity for the public to purchase general admission tickets in the UI student section. Adult tickets are just $12 and tickets for children 12 & under are only $5 when they're accompanied by an adult.

See you at the game this Saturday!
In Western Athletic Competition the Vandals logged their first victories against Hawaii and San Jose State since joining the WAC. Rising in the ranks of the WAC, the Vandals are poised to position themselves at the top of the WAC for years to come. Vandals fans can't help but think they have the real deal in Coach Akey after this year's campaign.

Vandal Pride is back.

You have a 7-4 football team looking to go bowling, Akey's Army showing up in full force, and an Athletic Director who is more than willing to take a early-morning-couple-of-hour Palouse drive to avoid a ride on an airplane baring the color scheme and logos of the football school from the South.

Talk about Vandal!

It's Senior Day, and this class will be sorely missed next year! Of the twelve seniors, seven are starters. All of them have contributed in every game at their positions and on special teams. Needless to say, all were instrumental in this year's turn around. Their impact was great and they must be filled with pride knowing they helped turn the corner. They persevered through some challenging times in Moscow, paid their dues, and in their last season achieved more than any Vandal fan thought possible.

Most of these seniors are on the offensive side of the ball. Here's a look at the seniors and how they line up for the Vandals.

Peter Bjorvik (TE)
A team leader and starter, Bjorvik is a three year letterman. As the Vandals switched their focus to the running game, Bjorvik's physical blocking style was a natural fit and key in the running game especially in short yardage situations.

Faleaoga (Oga) Faumui (DT)
JC Transfer Oga Faumui was exactly what the Vandals needed in the interior defensive line. Big and strong, Faumui has been a constant in the defensive line rotation each of the last two seasons, and has showed over and over that he could dominate the interior.

Mike Iupati (LG)
An Outland Trophy finalist - no small feat - Mike "Big Mike" Iupati will forever stand out in the minds of Vandal fans for his physical and dominant play in the trenches. Iupati is a daunting 6-6, 330-pound mountain of an athlete, ranked the No.1 offensive guard in the nation by Scout.com, and projected as a first day NFL draft pick this spring. Most commendable is Iupati's journey to becoming an Outland Trophy finalist. It's truly inspirational.

Jeromy Jones (S)
Jeromy Jones was a nice surprise in 2008. He showed up and provided much needed depth at safety, eventually winning the starting nod by the end of the season. He has been a force in 2009, earning the starting role all season until suffering an injury on the first play of the Fresno State game. Jones' hitting ability has been over shadowed by Shiloh Keo, but there is little doubt Jones brings the wood, a trait every safety needs to turn heads. His return to the starting lineup this weekend would boost the Vandal defensive backfield against the Aggies.

Adam Juratovac (RG)
Starting all of 2009, Juratovac saw significant playing time the previous two years, but didn't solidify his spot on the line until his senior season. Juratovac is exactly what you want in a guard; big, mean and quick on his feet. Juratovac was the first in the transformation from a smallish offensive line into the current offensive line that dominated in the trenches.

Max Komar (WR)
At the end of this season, the Vandals will lose their number one offensive weapon of 2009. Komar had an exceptional career for the Vandals, being an intregal part of the turnaround since his redshirt freshman season. Komar survived the coaching changes, and kept his starting position throughout it all. Komar is the walk on story for the Vandals. By his redshirt sophomore season he had earned a scholarship and continued to lock down his starting position. Saving his best for last, Komar's senior season has been spectacular, and is currently ranked No.22 in the nation and No.2 in the WAC in receiving yards per game (84.18) and total receiving yards (926).

Bryce Sinclair (RT)
Nicknamed "Big Nasty" by Vandal fans, Sinclair has been another lineman whose veteran play and leadership will be missed. Along side his fellow senior linemen, Sinclair helped make the offensive line one of the most feared in WAC. His size, strength and nasty demeanor helped transform the offense into a formidable force, and has paved the way for a Vandal offense ranked No.17 in the country in passing, No.50 in rushing, No. 14 in total yards, and No. 38 in scoring (30.27 points per game).

Kevin Small (HB)
Small was another JC Transfer that added depth and talent on offense and on special teams. Never shying from an assignment, Small's production on Special Teams as well as his blocking on offense, made his contributions notable on all facets of his game.

Irvin Stevens III (C)
For four years Stevens had possibly the most frustrating job on the team: Backing up 4-year starter and All-WAC center Adam Korby. But he stuck with the program and his goal to start for the Vandals, and last year as a junior earned his most significant playing time of his career, starting three games at right guard for Idaho. This season Stevens has been stellar, starting all 11 games for the Vandals in 2009, and he may have worked his way into All-WAC honors with his play at Center.

Devon Sturdivant (RB)
Special Teams Captain, Sturdivant stands for sturdy and steady. Devon was around for Holt, Erickson and the great Coach Akey. Enduring coaching changes and injury setbacks, Sturdivant bled silver and gold his entire career, and his leadership, out of all the seniors, will be missed the most.

Chris Williams (CB)
A JC Transfer, Williams never realized his potential in a Vandal uniform due to injury, but as any coach will tell you, a player's contributions go far beyond the game day playing field. Williams saw playing time in 2008, but his 2009 campaign was cut short. Nevertheless, the competition level he brought to the defensive backfield was important to the growth of the team.

DeMaundray Woolridge (RB)
What a pleasant surprise Woolridge has been for Vandal fans this season, as the WAZZU transfer spent his senior season bulldozing opponents for the Silver and Gold. Woolridge provided highlights throughout the season with his power running and surprising speed, making the Vandal rushing attack one of the most punishing in division one football. For the season Woolridge is No. 14 in the nation and No.3 in the WAC in scoring (8.73 points per game).
This matchup is as even as it gets. Regardless of Utah State's record, they have been playing some inspired football, and in reality, have played "like" opponents better than the Vandals. This should be reason for concern. Another reason for concern is Diondre Borel. The multi-talented quarterback will once again test the Vandal defense. The good news for Vandal fans is that they've faced a similar offensive threat with Nevada, and the Vandals are coming off a much needed BYE week. This should have allowed plenty of preparation for this final match of the season.

On offense, the Aggies' star is the previously mentioned Diondre Borel. No doubt he will be his usual dual threat self, running and throwing all over the field. The Vandals have had trouble with running quarterbacks all year, and Borel will look to exploit the Vandal D with his legs first, and then his arm. The Vandals should expect to see the option, as well. Borel is that hybrid quarterback that gives opposing defenses fits. Containing him is easier said than done. Having this kind of leader behind center frees up more of the field for the other play makers to shine.

At runningback, Robert Turbin is one of the nation's best. Turbin is an excellent option back, and an even better receiver. He is second to Borel in offensive production so the Vandals will need to keep a close eye on him. Michael Smith is a nice compliment to running game, making the most of his carries when he is in to spell Turbin. Stanley Morrison and Eric Moats lead the team in receiving, and Omar Sawyer is another Aggie receiving threat. All are athletic and can fine the open spaces for Borel. By this time in the season, it's safe to assume that all are on the same page when it comes to the passing game and moving the ball down the field.

On defense, the Aggies have had trouble stopping opposing offenses. Sound familiar? Both of these programs are in very similar situations in turning things around. The last unit to show improvement is always the defense, so this game will boil down to defensive stops. Can the Aggies get the stops? Or will it be the Vandals? The key to this win will be on the defensive side of the ball. Which team gets the stops, the turnovers and the game changing plays on the defensive side of the ball; that's who will win this game.


2009 Football Banquet

Join the 2009 University of Idaho Football Vandals for their annual banquet Dec. 12 at the Student Union Ballroom. The $35 meal includes prime rib, shrimp, pasta and dessert.

Make your reservations by
Dec. 9 by contacting Shelley McLam at 208-885-0275 or smclam@uidaho.edu, or by downloading the official flier by clicking HERE.
But outside the regular matchup write up, there is much more going on with this game. It seems to beg for recognition. This game represents so much when it comes to the Vandal football program. Can the Vandals end this 2009 season with a win, pushing them to 8 wins on the season?

This is an opportunity to show the WAC that Idaho football is back, and that they deserve a bowl bid. This game can be the final touch on a season so many felt was impossible. It represents the final game for twelve seniors that committed to the Vandals, giving their blood sweat and tears to turn the program around. It's the season that puts the past in the review mirror for good.

Vandal fans need to come out in force for this finale. The coaches and players have done their part. It's time for the Vandal Nation to do theirs. After years of cellar dwelling, the 2009 Vandals gave their fans plenty to cheer about. They gave them their Vandal Pride back. Now the team faces Utah State on a Saturday in a vital WAC matchup.

The problem is the students are on break.

It's test time for the Vandal Nation. More than ever, the team needs its fans. Come out in force and help cheer on the team that has given so much to cheer about in 2009. Send the seniors off in fashion. Show them that their hard work and dedication didn't go unnoticed. Show the coaches your appreciation by wearing your Vandal colors and cheering their team off into the horizon of Bowl invites! Show everyone what the Tribe from the North is capable of! Never has it been so crucial for the Vandal Nation to show itself.

The team deserves it.

Go Vandals!


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