Forde, Idaho defensive line looking to rebound against Arkansas State

dsouthorn@idahostatesman.comOctober 12, 2013 

If Idaho wanted to upset Fresno State last Saturday, its defensive line had to get to quarterback Derek Carr.

The Vandals didn’t come close.

“We wouldn’t have got him if it was flag,” coach Paul Petrino said.

Carr was not sacked, and no Vandal was credited with even a pressure on the senior, who threw for 390 yards and five touchdowns in the first half of a 61-14 rout. As the Vandals travel to Arkansas State, they’re bringing a fired up defensive line.

“It enhances our hunger a little bit — we haven’t eaten in a while,” junior defensive end Maxx Forde said.

Idaho has eight sacks, tied for 100th nationally (1.33 per game). Arkansas State is tied for 110th, allowing 3.2 sacks per game, and has given up 12 in its past two games.

Saturday seems like a good of a time to get better.

“Hopefully,” Petrino said. “That’s kind of the key … that’s what it comes down to, usually, is whatever team hits the other team’s quarterback the most. We’ve got to come back this week and get pressure on their quarterback.”

Forde is tied for team-highs in sacks (two) and fumble recoveries (two), and leads the team with four quarterback hurries. He made perhaps the defensive line’s only great play against Carr, leaping to bat down a pass early in the first quarter to force a third down.

“Maxx has been the most consistent player, probably on the whole defense,” Petrino said. “He’s played with good effort, he’s played hard and made a lot of plays for us. He didn’t get to the quarterback last week like he’s been doing all year, but I look for Maxx to bounce back and play real well for us this week.”

Forde had four sacks last season, tied for most on the team. Though he’s on pace to match that this season, that’s not good enough, he says.

“I feel like I haven’t done enough. I need to make more plays,’’ he said.

With a pair of mobile quarterbacks in starter Adam Kennedy and speedy backup Fredi Knighton, the Red Wolves will present a challenge for Forde and his crew.

“You get to the quarterback by sacking him or just hitting him, that is going to have an effect,” Forde said. “I’ll gladly take on a double team if that means one of my teammates is going to get to that quarterback.”

The line could get a boost should end Quinton Bradley (shoulder) return after missing three games. He was one of fall camp’s top performers and had a sack, two fumble recoveries and a blocked kick in his three games this season. The 6-foot-4, 239-pound sophomore is a backup at the end spot opposite Forde on this week’s depth chart.

“I hope so, that’d really help us. ... Every night I’m saying my prayers he will be (back),” Petrino said.

© 2013 Idaho Statesman

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