The Louisiana State Tigers finally started playing like the second best team in the nation, crushing the potential upset after Idaho got off to a hot start Saturday in Death Valley.
While the final score of 63-14 was expected, the Vandals surprised a lot of people by playing tough in the first half. Before LSU scored at the end of the first half, a 22-yard pass from Dominique Blackman to Jahrie Level pulled Idaho to within a score, trailing 21-14.
Of course, the second half was a different story as turnovers, penalties and the inability to stop the Tiger ground game doomed the Vandals.
THINGS WEVE LEARNED
Speed to burn: Running back Todd Handley has wheels. The young speedster only finished with 20 yards rushing in Saturdays 63-14 loss at LSU, but had an impressive 14-yard dash. He will probably see more playing time as the season progresses.
Blitz: The defensive line can bring the heat. One of the things that kept the Vandals in the LSU game early was their ability to pressure quarterback Zach Mettenberger. Pressure from Benson Mayowa and Maxx Forde led to Gary Walkers 94-yard interception in the second quarter. Later, back-to-back sacks from Mayowa gave Idaho the ball back with a chance to tie.
THINGS WE KNEW
Idaho has a passer: Dominique Blackman is a good quarterback. Despite not having the best of games statistically, he showed poise and command in the pocket and moved the ball well in the first half at Death Valley.
MVP? In another impressive punting performance, Bobby Cowan booted the ball seven times for 316 yards, averaging 45.1 per kick.
Struggling: The offensive line still needs work. While it is tough to gauge the lines performance against a national powerhouse like LSU, the line struggled all day protecting the quarterback and opening up holes for the ground game.
Not all bad: Idaho should be able to come away from the LSU loss with some positives. If the Vandals can play as well as they did on Saturday against a lesser opponent (Wyoming on Saturday?), the Vandals could find success.
Hot potato: Lots of players will be involved in the offense against Wyoming. There is serious depth at wide receiver and Blackmans ability to complete the majority of his passes will continue to keep everyone involved in the game plan.
Changes: If Idaho cant win soon, there could be some big changes (personnel or a coach or two losing his job?).