Ed Hall has 65 tackles, a sack and a fumble recovery this season. It still isn’t enough to make him the most recognizable person in his family.
The redshirt sophomore from Anchorage, Alaska, is the son of Carey Hall, a truck driver who starred in six episodes of The History Channel’s “Ice Road Truckers” in 2009. The show profiles truck drivers as they journey across the country through dangerous terrain.
“They called him ‘Big Daddy,’ ” Hall said with a laugh. “I was with him while they were filming. ... He’s been driving his whole life it seems like.”
Carey Hall is somewhat of a cult hero in Anchorage, according to Ed, who still gets texts from friends who see his father on the road. “Big Daddy’s” father and grandfather were truckers as well, according to his History.com page. That driving passion and prowess did not get passed down to Ed Hall, though.
“I’ve backed it out, but that’s about it,” Hall admits.
Hall is part of a linebacker unit that combined for 238 tackles in the regular season and helped the Vandals force 25 turnovers, tied for 12th in the nation. Hall and the defense are a big reason for Idaho’s turnaround and berth in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl (vs. Colorado State, 5 p.m. Thursday, ESPN). From one win in 2014 to four in 2015 and now eight in 2016, the Vandals have come a long way since Hall stepped on campus three years ago.
“It’s been crazy, especially from last year to where we are now, even two years ago to where we are now,” Hall said. “Just to see the progress and to see all the good things that have happened and see us become better men.”
But when it comes to being a headliner, Hall still has a ways to go before he catches up to his father.
“(My father) has a pretty good reputation out there. He actually does (have a following). He has like a Facebook type of fan page,” Hall said. “It’s my dad. I don’t see him as a big figure up there, but some people do. It’s just my dad, though.”
Idaho has caused 25 turnovers this season: Fifteen interceptions and 10 fumble recoveries.
Colorado State figures to test the Vandals’ ability to force turnovers, as the Rams are tied for eighth in the country in turnovers surrendered with 12 (seven fumbles, five INTs).
“We go out there every week and we play our own game. We like to go out there, fly around, get to the ball and make things happen,” senior cornerback Jayshawn Jordan said. “We don’t really worry too much about the other team’s stats or what their rankings are.”
The key to forcing turnovers has been hustle, according to sophomore linebacker Kaden Elliss. Idaho forced just 17 turnovers in 2015, which ranked No. 92 in the nation. While it can be tempting to take chances to make the spectacular play, Elliss said the defense plays within itself and depends on playing hard rather than on taking risks.
“A lot of ours ... come off of effort. We play within the playbook, almost all the time,” Elliss said. “We do our job within the playbook, within the scheme, not trying to do our own thing. And then, I think, with the hustle, it allows us to, even though we’re not necessarily taking chances, our hustle is getting us the opportunities.”
Of 7,000 tickets that were allotted to Idaho, 5,700 of those have been sold, according to the latest number provided by the University of Idaho ticket office.
Colorado State has sold 445 tickets to the game, according to the Coloradoan newspaper.
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl
▪ Teams: Idaho (8-4, 6-2 Sun Belt) vs. Colorado State (7-5, 5-3 Mountain West)
▪ Time: 5 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 22
▪ Where: Albertsons Stadium (36,387, FieldTurf), Boise
▪ TV: ESPN (David Neal, Matt Stinchcomb, Olivia Harlan)
▪ Radio: 630 AM
▪ Tickets: Available at ticketmaster.com
▪ Vegas: Colorado State by 14
▪ Coaches: Idaho, Paul Petrino (fourth year; 14-33); Colorado State, Mike Bobo (second year; 14-11)
▪ Bowl records: Idaho 2-0, Colorado State 6-9
▪ Series record: Colorado State leads 4-3
▪ Wednesday: Mash Bash at The Village, Meridian, 7-8 p.m.
▪ 9 a.m.: Albertsons Stadium ticket office opens
▪ 2-5 p.m.: Tent Village/Fan Fest, Simplot Fry Feed, Albertsons Stadium west parking lot
▪ 2-5 p.m.: Tent Village/Fan Fest, FitOne Family Field Day, Caven Williams Sports Complex
▪ 3:30-4 p.m.: Tent Village/Fan Fest, Battle of the Bands, Albertsons Stadium west parking lot
▪ 3:30 p.m.: Albertsons Stadium gates open
▪ 4 p.m.: Pre-game activities, Albertsons Stadium