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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Keys for Idaho vs. Arizona

    Guest Columnist

    Fans of the Idaho Vandals football program believe Arizona head coach Mike Stoops could be fired if his Wildcats don’t come out victorious on Saturday. The Vandals, 1-11 last season, were the only team in the NCAA last season that failed to defeat a Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly Division-IA) opponent. Their only win came against Cal-Poly, a Football Championship Subdivision program (formerly Division I-AA). At season’s end, ESPN.com had Idaho ranked last out of 118 programs. Idaho will enter its first game against Arizona as 27-point underdogs.

    Who to watch when the Vandals are on offense:

    QB Nathan Enderle, No. 10, SO – Enderle struggled at times during his freshman season as he only completed 44 percent of his passes. He tossed 10 touchdown passes and threw a Western Athletic Conference-leading 18 interceptions. A solid Enderle performance Saturday is crucial for the Idaho offense.

    C Adam Korby, No. 72, SR – Korby has started every game of his college career and has been named to the Rimington Award Watch List – an award given to the nation’s top offensive lineman – for the second consecutive season. Korby will anchor a line that hopes to open holes for the Idaho running attack.

    RB Deonte’ Jackson, No. 3, SO – Jackson is the nephew of NFL All-Pro running back Steven Jackson. He rushed for 99 yards against USC in his collegiate debut last season. Jackson tallied 1,175 yards as a freshman while averaging 4.9 yards per carry, despite nursing a high-ankle sprain for the better part of the season. He is the top playmaker on this offense and a candidate for WAC Offensive Player of the Year this season.

    Who to watch when the Vandals are on defense:

    S Shiloh Keo, No. 10, JR – Keo was voted team MVP last season and proved to be one of the top players in the WAC. He is considered to be the best player on the team. He earned second-team all-WAC honors as both a safety and punt returner in 2007 as a sophomore. As a true freshman in 2006, Keo was voted as an honorable mention to the Sporting News All-Freshman team. He possesses rare skills to play both the run and the pass and must play well for the Vandals to have a chance.

    S Virdell Larkins, No. 24, JR -Larkins is a junior college transfer who originally signed with California out of high school. He is considered to be the top newcomer to the roster this season and will play opposite of Keo to form one of the top safety tandems in the WAC. Larkins is also the cousin of NFL RB Marshawn Lynch.

    DE Taylor Rust, No. 57, SR -Rust is a returning starter who plays with a high-octane motor. He finished 2007 with three sacks, two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and six tackles for loss. His pass rush on Arizona QB Willie Tuitama will be crucial for the Vandals defense.

    Keys on Offense:

    1. Run the football effectively to control the clock and keep Arizona’s offense off the field.

    2. Keep pressure on the Wildcat offense by scoring early with touchdowns rather than field goals. For this to occur, the Vandals must be able to pick up key third down conversions through the air.

    3. Take advantage of experience. Idaho returns all 11 offensive starters from last year while the Arizona defense returns three.

    Keys on Defense:

    1. Idaho must find a way to get off the field after three downs and force the Wildcats to punt early and often.

    2. Stop the run on first down. Idaho can’t allow Arizona to continually be in second-and-short situations.

    3. Win the turnover battle with help from defensive playmakers Keo, Rust and Larkins.

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