Big Damm Preview: Game 4 – Idaho vs. #8 UC Davis

Fresh off a narrow victory on the bye week, the Vandals head to California to face former BSU head coach Dan Hawkins and his undefeated UC Davis Aggies, who claim a rare FCS-over-FBS victory after beating Tulsa in the opening week of the season.

Last Game:
Two weeks ago, Idaho was shut out by Oregon State 42-0 on a rainy day in Corvallis.

Last week, UC Davis took down the then-14th ranked Weber State Wildcats 17-14 in Ogden.

Last Meeting:
In the spring season, Idaho jumped out to a 10-0 lead before UC Davis scored the final three touchdowns of the game on their way to a 27-17 victory inside the Kibbie Dome.

Quarterbacks:
WHO IS IT GOING TO BE? Idaho head coach Paul Petrino has decided on a starter, but will not be announcing the starter until the first offensive series this weekend. CJ Jordan got the bulk of the reps against Oregon State, going 7 for 16 with 37 yards and two INTs. Jordan also rushed for a net gain of 55 yards. Mike Beaudry went 6 for 9 with 47 yards in the few series he received. Zach Borisch (#LetBorischThrow) did not register a pass or rush attempt. Have any of the QBs done enough to claim the job outright? For a further breakdown on the quarterback situation, check out Chris Hammond’s statistical breakdown here:

As for the Aggies, they’re in a different type of quarterback quandary. Established QB1 Hunter Rodrigues has played quite well so far, posting a stat line of 72 for 117 (61.5%) with six TDs and just one INT. Rodrigues is also their second leading rusher, with 124 net yards and two TDs on the ground. However, Rodrigues was hurt in the fourth quarter of the win over Weber State and redshirt freshman Miles Hastings stepped in. Hastings went 7 for 9 with 50 yards, and converted both a third down and a fourth down while leading the Aggies to the two yard line. From there, reserve QB/Wildcat Trent Tompkins came in and punched in the TD to finish off the last-minute comeback.
Will Rodrigues be healthy enough to play this week? If Rodrigues is ailing, did Hastings show enough to play until Rodrigues is back to 100%? Will the Aggies trot out Tompkins and run a wildcat/option offense? Much like Idaho’s situation, UC Davis isn’t expected to announce their plans until the game is underway.

Idaho’s Key Players/Statistics:
Coming into conference play, Hayden Hatten leads the team in receiving even after missing the Oregon State game, with 12 receptions for 200 yards and 3 TDs. Terez Traynor (10 catches, 99 yards) and Michael Noil (8 catches, 98 yards) are the only other receivers with more than five receptions. On the ground, CJ Jordan’s 121 net yards and one TD paces the team, while Roshaun Johnson and Elisha Cummings lead the running backs with 91 yards/three TDs and 84 yards/one TD respectively.

Defensively, Tre Walker and Fa’Avae Fa’Avae lead the team with 24 and 22 tackles. Charles Akanno has recovered from his Achilles injury, leading the team with four tackles for loss, and is one of seven Vandals with a sack. Idaho has not forced a fumble this season, but Tyrese Dedmon and Sean McCormick each have an interception.

Caleb Lightbourn is off to a great start replacing friend of Tubs (and Idaho legend) Cade Coffey, averaging 48.3 yards per punt.

UC Davis’s Key Players/Statistics:
The Aggie offense runs through former All-Big Sky Conference running back Ulonzo Gilliam Jr., who has rushed for 361 net yards and four TDs on the year, while also receiving 69 yards [editor’s note: nice] and a TD. Former All-Big Sky Conference receiver Jared Harrell leads the receiving core with 19 receptions for 289 yards and two TDs, while 2021 Spring All-Big Sky Conference first-team tight end McCallen Castles has 10 receptions for 160 yards and three TDs. 2021 Preseason All-Big Sky Conference center Connor Pettek anchors the offensive line.

2021 Preseason All-Big Sky Conference defensive back Jordan Perryman leads a secondary filled with ball-hawks, as the Aggies have 16 pass breakups and 10 interceptions in four games. Bryce Rodgers (who has too many All-Big Sky commendations to comfortably list here) leads the front seven with 2.5 sacks, four QB hurries, and a fumble recovery.

Lastly, it wouldn’t be Tubs at The Club without mentioning Daniel Whelan, the Aggie punter who edged out Coffey for first-team All-Big Sky honors last season and received most major preseason FCS accolades this year.

Key to the Game:
It would be easy to say Idaho’s starting QB has to play well, so we’ll go a different direction. Regardless of who UC Davis trots out at QB, can the Idaho secondary make strides from the matchup in the spring? Rodrigues completed almost 80% of his throws in the Kibbie Dome, and that number will have to be considerably lower this time around for the Vandals to have a chance.

Game Predictions:
Producer Dallas: UC Davis just got through the toughest part of their schedule, winning on the road against an FBS school that went bowling last season, as well as knocking off four-time defending Big Sky Conference champions Weber State in Ogden. This is one of the most talented teams in the nation, led by a head coach I’ll begrudgingly admit is very good when he’s not starting his son at QB. No matter who takes snaps for Idaho, I just don’t see Idaho scoring enough to keep up. UC Davis wins, 27-14.
Boatman: UC Davis 34-24
Brian: UC Davis 38-17
Chris: UC Davis 30-20

2021 All-Tubs Preseason Big Sky Conference Team

Here is our votes for the All-Conference team.

Offesensive Player of The Year: Eric Barriere! (EWU)

OTHER RECEIVING VOTES: None

Defensive Player of The Year: Tre Walker (Idaho)

OTHER RECEIVING VOTES: Jace Lewis (UM)

Quarterback: Eric Barriere (EWU)

OTHER RECEIVING VOTES: Tyler Vander Waal (ISU)

Running Back: Ulonzo Gilliam (UCD) | Josh Davis! (WSU)

OTHER RECEIVING VOTES: Isaiah Ifanse (MSU)

Fullback: Logan Kendall! (Idaho)

OTHER RECEIVING VOTES: NONE

Wide Receiver: Tanner Conner (ISU) | Samuel Akem (UM) | Hayden Hatten* (Idaho)

OTHER RECEIVING VOTES: Pierre Williams (SAC), Talolo Limu-Jones (EWU), Hendrix Johnson (NAU), Brandon Porter (NAU)

Tight End: Marshel Martin (SAC)

OTHER RECEIVING VOTES: McCallan Castles (UCD)

Offensive Line: Lewis Kidd (MSU) | Taylor Tuiasosopo (MSU) |Conner Pettek (UCD) | Ty Whitworth (WSU) | Tristen Taylor (EWU)

OTHER RECEIVING VOTES: Braxton Jones (SUU), MAtthew Faupusa (Idaho), Zach Reed (MSU), Terron Carey (ISU)

Defensive Line: George Tarlas (WSU) | Jared Scheiss! (WSU) | Alex Gubner (UM) | Charles Akanno (Idaho)

OTHER RECEIVING VOTES: Bryce Rodgers (UCD), Mitchell Johnson (EWU), Amandre Williams (MSU)

Linebacker: Troy Anderson (MSU) | Tre Walker! (Idaho) | Jace Lewis! (UM) | La’Akea Kaho’Ohanohano-Davis! (SUU)

OTHER RECEIVING VOTES: Conner Mortensen (WSU)

Defensive Back: Eddie Heckard (WSU) | Anthony Adams! (PSU) | Preston Smith (WSU) | Desmond Williams (WSU)

OTHER RECEIVING VOTES: Jordan Perryman (UCD), Anthony Sweeney (NAU), Morgan Vest (NAU)

Kicker: Luis Aguilar! (NAU)

OTHER RECEIVING VOTES: None

Punter: DJ Arnson (NAU)

OTHER RECEIVING VOTES: Daniel Whelan (UCD)

Returner: Rashid Shaheed (WSU)

OTHER RECEIVING VOTES: Nick Romano (Idaho)

Long Snapper:Justin Hathoot* (NAU)

OTHER RECEIVING VOTES: JOhn Aloma (UCD), Matthew O’Donoghue (UM)

Safe to say the Big Sky is pretty deep. The previous team of the decade only has two players selected, it is a testimate to the talent in this conference. As most people would consider EWU to be dangerous again in 2021.

The Numbers By School:

Cal Poly: 0 sad face for Baldwin and co.

Eeastern Washington: 1 MVP, 2 All-Conference, 2 Honorable Mention

Idaho: 1 MVP, 4 All-Conference, 2 Honorable Mentions

Idaho state: 1 All-Conference, 2 Honorable Mentions

Montana: 1 MVP vote, 3 All-Conference, 1 Honorable Metions

Montana State: 2 All-Conference, 3 Honorable Mentions

Northern Arizona: 3 All-Conference, 4 Honorable Mentions

Northern Colorado: 0, sad face for McCaffery and co.

Portland State: 1 All-Conference

UC Davis: 2 All-Conference, 3 Honorable Mentions

Sacramento State: 1 All-Conference, 1 Honorable Mentions

Southern Utah: 1 All-Conference, 1 Honorable Mention

Weber State: 7 All-Conference, 1 Honorable Mention

The Weber State Wildcats lead the way in terms of representation. NAU almost swept special teams. We may have gone to homer on Idaho, I dont think so. Do these coordinate to our preseason conference polls? Take a look: https://tubsattheclub.com/2021/07/23/tubs-preseason-big-sky-poll/

CHRISBRIAN DALLAS
OMVPEric BarriereEric BarriereEric Barriere
DMVPTre WalkerJace LewisTre Walker
QBTyler Vander WaalEric BarriereEric Barriere
WRHendrix JohnsonTanner ConnerTanner Conner
WRSamuel AkemSamuel AkemHayden Hatten
WRBrandon PorterPierre WilliamsTalolo Limu-Jones
TLewis KiddLewis KiddBraxton Jones
TTristen Taylor Tristen Taylor
GMatthew FaupusaTaylor TuiasosopoTaylor Tuiasosopo
GZach ReedTy WhitworthTy Whitworth
CTerron CareyConnor PettekConnor Pettek
TEMcCallan CastlesMarshel MartinMashel Martin
RBUlonzo GilliamIsaiah IfanseUlonzo Gilliam
RBJosh DavisJosh DavisJosh Davis
FBLogan KendallLogan KendallLogan Kendall
PKLuis AguilarLuis AguilarLuis Aguilar
RSNick RomanoRashid ShaheedRashid Shaheed
DTJared ScheissJared ScheissJared Scheiss
DTAlex GubnerAlex GubnerBryce Rodgers
DEGeorge TarlasGeorge TarlasMitchell Johnson
DECharles AkannoCharles AkannoAmandre Williams
OLBTroy AndersonTroy AndersonConner Mortensen
OLBLa’Akea Kaho Ohanohano-DavisLa’Akea Kaho Ohanohano-DavisLa’Akea Kaho Ohanohano-Davis
ILBTre WalkerTre WalkerTre Walker
ILBJace LewisJace LewisJace Lewis
CBEddie HeckardEddie HeckardJordan Perryman
CBAnthony AdamsAnthony AdamsAnthony Adams
SAnthony SweeneyPreston SmithPreston Smith
SDesmond WilliamsDesmond WilliamsMorgan Vest
PDJ ArnsonDJ ArnsonDaniel Whelan
LSJohn AlomaMatthew OdonoghueJustin Hathoot

*** As always I’m not a journalist. so just put your gramatics comments where the sun dont shine (aka Albertson Stadium)

BSPN: Power Rankings Week 6

Reminder this is a “Power Ranking.” It means different things to different people. Some view it as the best team, some view it as hottest team at the moment. At the end of the year, the team that wins the conference may not be No. 1 in our rankings. We had 15 voters this week.

This week [Last week] Team – Point total (First Place Votes)

1. [1] Weber State Wildcats – 104 (13)

Hail Mary for the Win!

While exciting, it doesn’t do a lot to instill confidence. The Weber State Wildcats lose two first place votes this week, the first time they haven’t been unamimous Top Cat since week one. They have collected 80 of the 83 votes this season.

At end of the day its hard to win with a backup QB and that’s what Weber did. QB2 Randall Johnson played serviceable. Josh Davis however, will need a ice bath from carrying the team.

2.[3] Eastern Washington Eagles – 98 (2)

Yes you are reading this right. Eastern jumps UC Davis AND got two first place votes. Sure, they are only team to not have a close game this weekend. But, that was against Cal Poly, the same Poly team UC Davis beat last week 73-24.

3.[2] UC Davis Aggies – 96

Yup! UC Davis slipped back behind EWU even though they won.

Against common opponents UC Davis beat Cal Poly 73-24, while Eastern won 62-10 against Poly.

Against Idaho State, UC Davis escaped 31-27. Eastern did basically the same, escaping in the final seconds 46-42.

UC Davis sole loss is 18-12 v No. 2 Weber State on the road.

EWU’s loss is 27-20 v No. 24 Idaho on the road.

Good news, none of this matters as these two play each other this week to settle the score.

4.[4] Idaho Vandals – 74

Backup true freshman quarterback CJ Jordan looked like the future of the Big Sky Conference before going down in the 3rd quarter. 3rd string QB Nikhil Nayar came in and finished the job as Idaho escapes the pesky Thunderbirds.

This win does nothing to move your team to the top 3 in the poll. If anything, it makes you worried about this week.

But, like was covered with Weber, anytime you win with a backup, it is a success.

5.[5] Idaho State Bengals- 59

I mean, they lost back-to-back games against FCS STATS Top 20 teams in the closing seconds. It is odd to lose and stay put, or move up in a power poll. But, it is spring, and it is wonky, and that is what the Bengals are doing.

They get another shot as they will face No. 24 Idaho in the ICCU Battle of the Domes this weekend.

6.[7] Southern Utah Thunderbirds – 41

13 seconds from being 4-0!

7.[6] Northern Arizona Lumberjacks – 39

I mean wow!

On the road, against No. 2 team in the country, have the lead with 0:01 seconds lft on the clock, against a backup QB…

Only in the land of Utah do you lose this one.

8.[8] Cal Poly Mustangs – 15

When you lose by basketball scores you will be our first consensus last place team of the season.

Breaking news today, they quit, so perfect week to be unamimously last. Doubt they move the rest of the season.

BSPN:Week 4 Power Rankings

Reminder this is a “Power Ranking.” It means different things to different people. Some view it as the best team, some view it as hottest team at the moment. At the end of the year, the team that wins the conference may not be No. 1 in our rankings. We had 13 voters this week.

This piece is suppose to be rather nuetral…. I’m going to try and keep that the case. However, this poll is one I have disagreed with the most. Just an extra disclaimer this is not my personal poll.

This week [Last week] Team – Point total (First Place Votes)

1.[1] Weber State Wildcats – 104 (13)

Showed fight to battle back from a 10-0 defecit at halftime, to finish the game on an 18-3 run. Winning 18-13 vs #23 UC Davis. Freshman signal caller Bronson Barron looked more human this week, Luckily for the Wildcats, they have a STACKED backfield.

They shouldnt be challenged the rest of the season. Punch their ticket now to playoffs.

T2.[2] UC Davis Aggies – 81

It looked like they were going to put in the performance of the year in the Big Sky. Went into halftime up 10-0. End up falling on the road.

This is where my issue with this poll takes place. Somehow and amazing performance aginst the #2 team in the country on the road, after a top 25 win @ Idaho to start the season, and they are tied with our next team… Who lost to Idaho in same venue and took until closing seconds to beat Idaho State.

If im an Aggies fan I am excited to be #2 and should get the at-large spot for playoffs. But man would I be pissed we share this spot with the Eagles.

T2.[3] Eastern Washinton Eagles – 81

Terrible… Could easily be 1-2.

Wideouts can’t catch, while amazing, Eric Barrierre still has some accuracy issues, coaching seems suspect on most levels, this team is reeling. No matter how much voters in this poll want to pretend they are not.

If you flopped their results with UC Davis’. Davis would probably be ranked in our 4-7 range. But because it’s Eastern somehow they move up a spot to number 2 after a embarrasing win.

End of the day, a win is a win. Can’t stress enough how much I disagree with this. But heck, its a power ranking and apparently half the voters(ish) disagree with me.

4.[4] Idaho Vandals – 62

When you dont play. It’s hard to move. Good news the postponed NAU game is rescheduled to April 17th.

5.[6] Idaho State Bengals- 49

Impressive or luck? Thats what people are wondering with the Bengals. Two close games at home vs teams whose level of play and spot within Big Sky is being sorted out (EWU & SUU)

6.[8] Southern Utah Thunderbirds – 39

WOW! Just Wow! After last week being most consensus last place team. With only one pollster not having them in last (wonder who, that could be?).

They beat the snot out of Cal Poly. That team everyone thought was going to be good.

T-birds getting way more respect this week, as Demario Warren & Justin Miller might just be out to prove the world wrong.

Dont look now, Southern Utah is 8 seconds away from being 3-0….

7.[7] Northern Arizona Lumberjacks – 29

When you dont play. It’s hard to move. Good news the postponed Idaho game is rescheduled to April 17th.

8.[5] Cal Poly Mustangs – 15

What a drop! Good news, they outscored Thunderbirds 17-3 in 2nd half. They “probably” are not a last place team.

They just had to shake off the rust. If you’re a Stang fan, chin-up. It may not get better this week vs #23 UC Davis. But highly unlikely you go winless. Could still sneak out 2 to 3 wins I would imagine.

BSPN: Week 3 Power Rankings

Reminder this is a “Power Ranking.” It means different things to different people. Some view it as the best team, some view it as hottest team at the moment. At the end of the year, the team that wins the conference may not be No. 1 in our rankings. We had 14 voters this week.

This week [Last week] Team – Point total (First Place Votes)

1. [1] Weber State Wildcats – 117 (14 First place votes)

The Wildcats re-secure their one lost first place vote. There have been 44 votes placed so far this season and Weber has had 43 of those first-place votes, even though they did not play last week.

2. [4] UC Davis Aggies – 92

The Aggies make about as big of a jump as the 4th quarter they put together in the Kibbie Dome Saturday. Trailing most the game, they owned the 4th quarter for a ten-point win on the road to open the spring season.

Got Weber next, will they be in the 1 spot next week?

3. [3] Eastern Washington Eagles – 84

The Eagles take care of business. It did little for their position in the power rankings. Their opponent however, not so lucky.

Another bottom-half power ranking team up next. How big do they need to win by to move up?

4. [2] Idaho Vandals – 76

Another year of a big upset win vs Top 15 Eastern Washington only to give a let down performance the following week. The Vandals lose at home to UC Davis. Though down 7 or 8 starters, the result was telling enough that they drop two spots this week.

They are behind Eastern Washington, who they just beat two weeks ago. Typical up and down Big Sky.

5. [6] Cal Poly Mustangs – 45

They still have not played, yet they have moved up in the rankings? This week will be telling as they open vs Southern Utah.

6. [8] Idaho State Bengals – 43

The Bengals get a big win this week against our new last place team. The win was enough to get the Bengals out of the cellar.

Tyler Vander Waal played much better this week vs the Thunderbirds with 238 yards, 3 TDS and 0 INTS. Maybe more impressive is the 56 yards on the ground.

Tough test this week at home vs EWU.

7. [5] Northern Arizona Lumberjacks– 31

Lumberjacks had people believing they could be sneaky good this year.

It appears our voters are on the shockingly bad train at this point in the season.

8. [7] Southern Utah Thunderbirds– 18

The poor Thunderbirds have played in two very close matchups thus far this season. Losing on a walk-off touchdown vs NAU in week one, and a 30 yard field goal vs the Bengals with 5 seconds left in week two.

Cal Poly is next. Rust paired with and offensive system change, can SUU maybe be the team with the walk-off this week and get back out of the 8 spot? We will see!