It was the first 100-yard game for Smith, a graduate transfer from Louisville.
In the thin air of Laramie’s War Memorial Stadium, 7,215 feet above sea level, things can be seen clearly – including, perhaps, what kind of football team Idaho might be this year.
The Vandals’ potent rushing recalled Idaho’s waning days in the Sunbelt Conference when the league’s leading rusher and lightning bolt Aaron Duckworth and hard-hitting Isaiah Saunders lined up in Idaho’s backfield two years ago.
If the ever-expanding Big Sky Conference is still looking for members, it could do worse than trying to convince Central Washington to make the move up to the Football Championship Subdivision.
A Big 10 tidal wave of talent that washed over Idaho in a 79-7 rout against Penn State in the Vandals’ season opener is giving way to Idaho’s home opener against Central Washington Saturday.
The big picture of a 79-7 rout aside, Charles Akanno can look at Idaho’s season-opening loss to Penn State with some satisfaction.
As college football’s 150th-anniversary season commences, there’s both good and bad news for Idaho as it looks to improve upon last fall’s four-win campaign.
Including the Rufais, there are six sets of brothers playing with the Vandals, and fathers and sons associated with the program.
The Nittany Lions ranked 15th in the Associated Press poll, but there are worse times to have to play such a highly ranked foe.
It was a painful lesson, but in their return to the Big Sky Conference a year ago, the Idaho Vandals learned there is no such thing as extraneous turf. It all has to be defended. It can all be exploited on offense.
Will it be a trip to the playoffs or an early offseason for the Vandals this year?
From now on, Idaho will be into a regular-season routine of preparing for upcoming opponents, beginning with Penn State Aug. 31. But as the team leaves behind running endless reps of the same plays every day, punctuated with several scrimmages, head coach Paul Petrino came away from that grinding exercise feeling he has something to work with.