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Aggies taking 0-4 Vandals seriously

U. of Idaho has had problems generating consistent offense

LOGAN — To say the Idaho Vandals are hungry may be a little bit of an understatement. Desperate may be more appropriate.

The Vandals are 0-4 overall, 0-1 in Western Athletic Conference play, they have not scored any points in four quarters and haven't scored a touchdown since Sept. 10 in a three-point loss to UNLV.

The Aggies (1-1) faced a similar opponent last week in the UNLV Rebels — who were just 1-2 at the time and coming off a loss to rival Nevada — and won 31-24. They are hoping for a similar result this Saturday when they travel to Idaho. Game time is set for 3 p.m. (MDT).

"Now that they've had a home opener in the WAC conference and lost they've got to feel like they have to win the next one," Utah State football coach Brent Guy said.

The Vandals lost to Hawaii 24-0 last week in front of a capacity crowd of nearly 16,000 at the Kibbie Dome in their WAC opener. Their other three losses are to neighboring Washington State, UNLV and Washington.

Before going silent offensively in their last two games, the Vandals were averaging 26.5 points per game. Now they are averaging just over 15 per game.

Since throwing for nearly 400 yards in the loss to UNLV, Vandal quarterback Steve Wichman has been held in relative check with just 187 against Washington and 112 against Hawaii.

"He's a kid we knew a lot about. We recruited him," Guy said of the junior-college transfer. "He was the guy that was out there when I got the job and he was still available."

Despite the Vandals' recent woes, Guy isn't overlooking them. After all, the Aggies only beat the Vandals 14-7 last year in Logan.

"I think they're very dangerous," he said.

Wichman has completed 59 of 106 passes for 832 yards (208 yards per game), with four touchdowns and four interceptions.

Wide receiver Daniel Smith has 24 receptions for 357 yards and two touchdowns. No other receiver has more than 10 catches. Matt Askew has nine grabs for 110 yards and Wendell Octave has seven catches for 149 yards.

The Vandals return their three top running backs, but Jayson Bird, who rushed for 94 yards against the Aggies last year, has missed two games due to injury. Bird still leads team in rushing with 35 yards per game, while Rolly Lumbala averages 30.8 and Antwaun Sherman tallied 28.5 yards per game.

Offensively, the Vandals are averaging 273. 8 yards per game, while defensively they are allowing 32.5 points on 406 yards per game (248 per game through the air).

Idaho's biggest weakness, however, may be protecting the quarterback. Vandal signal-callers have been sacked 16 times for a loss of 112 yards in four games this season.


Aggies on the air

Utah State (1-1) at Idaho (0-4)

Saturday, 3 p.m., Kibbie Dome

TV: None Radio: 610 AM (Logan), 98.3 FM (SLC)


E-mail: jhinton@desnews.com