Four days after a breakthrough game, a pair of practitioners of a fundamental football art were still lifted by their performance as the Idaho Vandals concluded a workout on a late afternoon that finally felt like football weather this week.
Former Idaho standout and New Orleans Saints linebacker Kaden Elliss will miss the rest of his rookie season after sustaining a knee injury, according to New Orleans Advocate reporter Amie Just.
Faux outrage is fun reserved for winners, and surely the Vandals were that on Saturday at the Kibbie Dome – 35-27 over the school up the road, Eastern Washington, which Idaho hadn’t beaten in 20 years, though granted that amounted to just three defeats.
The Idaho team that was supposed to show up last year and run roughshod over the Big Sky Conference finally arrived.
As a freshman last year, the linebacker from Dos Palos, California, played in all 11 of Idaho’s games on special teams.
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.