Sun Belt

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl: Idaho 61, Colorado State 50: 5 Things That Matter, What’s Next For 2017

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl: Idaho 61, Colorado State 50: 5 Things That Matter, What’s Next For 2017


Idaho put on a show in a 61-50 win over Colorado State in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. What are the 5 Things That Matter and what’s next for 2017? 


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Well, that was fun

Every year there’s one. There’s one bowl that turns into the easy argument against the too-many-bowl naysayers, and this could turn out to be it – at least in terms of wild and crazy offenses.

Who puts up 61 points on the board and gets threatened to lose?

Obviously, this was a moment for Idaho, with the booting out of the Sun Belt coming after next season and the likely relegation to the FCS world to follow. To do it in a bowl that has the word Idaho in it made it all the more special.

And it helped when the other team puts up 36 points in a quarter.

The two teams combined for over 1,200 yards with all the offensive playmakers more than coming through with massive performances, and that’s what you want out of an early bowl game.

Save the tight, defensive slugfest for the CFP – the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl is supposed to have 111 points.

Idaho’s big middle finger to the world

Again, helped by all the outside things happening with the program, this appeared to be an ultra-focused Idaho team that played at a whole other level. Matt Linehan has had some good games throughout his career, but on the national stage, to put up 381 yards and four scores with a rushing score, and with RB Isaiah Saunders pounding away for 147 yards and three touchdowns, this is everything the program could’ve dreamed of. But it’s Idaho – eventually the defense would look like the Idaho defense again. At least it would look like the Idaho defense of past years.

Colorado State at least didn’t quit

Sometimes it’s just not your day.

Bowl games are always quirky in terms of preparation, emotions, and execution, but Colorado State is better than Idaho – it just ran into a buzzsaw.

It would’ve been easy to have packed it in, take the swag bag, and move on with life. Instead, Nick Stevens and the Colorado State offense went off in a wild fourth quarter performance that made Idaho keep on trying.

How amazing with the final frame? The Vandals were up 41-14, and they needed to keep scoring to avoid the total collapse. They put up 20 – and they needed them to breathe easily.

Olabisi Johnson caught seven passes for 265 yards and two scores, Michael Gallup caught six passes for 108 yards and three touchdowns, and Stevens threw for 445 yards and five scores.

Yeah, the Rams had an ugly performance defensively, and they might have lost, but they showed off just how good they could be next year because …

What’s next for Colorado State in 2017?

Nick Stevens is back to run the offense that looked so great in desperation mode, and he gets back his star targets in Olabisi Johnson and Michael Gallup. Daylin Dawkins returns in the backfield, but Potato Bowl star Isaiah Matthews will push for more time after showing off just how good he could be with more work. The line should be okay with three starters returning, but losing left tackle Nick Callender and right guard Fred Zerblis matters.

Do you want everyone returning to a defense that was so miserable against Idaho? Sure – that was an aberration. LB Kevin Davis is gone, and CB Tyree Simmons is finished, but the other nine starters are back. Depth up front will be a concern early on, but the secondary should be far, far better than it was in Boise.

What’s next for Idaho in 2017?

The Vandals have one more year to show just how good they can really be – maybe things will change in terms of finding an FCS home. The team, as always, will rely on a slew of JUCO transfers to fill the holes, but the basics from the bowl domination are back with QB Matt Linehan returning along with rushing star Isaiah Saunders – along with normal No. 1 man Aaron Duckworth. TE Deon Watson is gone along with top receivers Trent Cowan and Jordan Frysinger, and now it’s up to bowl star Jacob Sannon to start doing even more.

The fourth quarter against Colorado State aside, the defense really was better this season than it was in past years. The line needs to replace most of the parts, but the entire linebacking corps is back – and young. The LBs have to rock with the concerns in the secondary after losing three starters including one of the top tacklers, SS Jayshawn Jordan.