Idaho Potato Bowl grades: Idaho outlasts CSU in high-scoring affair
Idaho Vandals 61, Colorado State Rams 50
Here are the top-graded players and biggest takeaways from Idaho’s 61-50 win over Colorado State in the Idaho Potato Bowl.
Quarterback grade: Matt Linehan, 66.3
Linehan lights up the Rams secondary
Idaho QB Matt Linehan repeatedly beat Colorado State’s secondary with deep passes, finishing 4-of-7 for 199 yards and 2 touchdowns on passes thrown 20-plus yards downfield. Linehan was nearly perfect when not pressured (17-of-22 for 296 yards, 1 touchdown, 133.7 QB Rating), but his overall grade is dragged down due to a fumbled handoff, and two sacks that he caused by leaving a clean pocket. TE Deon Watson was Linehan’s top target in the pass game, catching 5 of his 7 targets for 140 yards and a touchdown.
Top offensive grades:
RT Jordan Rose, 85.4
TE Deon Watson 85.0
LG Noah Johnson, 83.8
LT Calvin White, 83.0
C Steven Matlock, 80.8
Vandals excel in pass protection
All five starters on Idaho’s offensive line earned above-average grades in pass protection, and LT Calvin White, LG Noah Johnson and C Steven Matlock did not allow a single pressure in 37 pass plays. RT Jordan Rose allowed just one hurry, and also led the team with an 84.3 run-blocking grade. HB Isaiah Saunders had an excellent game despite some icy field conditions, totaling 33 carries for 147 yards and 3 touchdowns. Saunders forced 4 missed tackles, and had 100 rushing yards after contact.
Top defensive grades:
CB Armond Hawkins, 80.8
DT Tueni Lupeamanu, 77.1
S Jayshawn Jordan, 76.3
LB Ty Graham, 74.1
CB Desmond Banks 68.6
Idaho allows six touchdowns in the second half
After building a 41-7 lead in the third quarter, Idaho’s defense allowed six touchdowns on the final seven drives, and allowed 36 points in the fourth quarter. Despite a strong start, the team earned below-average grades for pass rushing, run defense and pass coverage in the game. The difficult field conditions undoubtedly played a role, but Idaho struggled to tackle (12 missed tackles) and rush the passer throughout the game. The Vandals did not record a sack, and Rams QB Nick Stevens was pressured on just 6 of his 38 dropbacks. DT Tueni Lupeamanu stood out for his strong work against the run, finishing with 3 run stops and adding a QB hit.
Colorado State Rams
Quarterback grade: Nick Stevens, 73.6
Stevens puts up huge numbers in the middle of the field
Colorado State QB Nick Stevens had a huge statistical day in a losing effort. Stevens did his best work in the middle of the field, finishing 12-of-16 for 358 yards and 4 touchdowns on passes thrown 10-plus yards downfield and between the numbers. Stevens had excellent pass protection in the game, but also threw a pair of interceptions. WR Olabisi Johnson was Steven’s top target, catching 7-of-10 targets for 265 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
Top offensive grades:
WR Olabisi Johnson, 84.5
C Jake Bennett, 83.4
WR Michael Gallup, 80.7
TE Dalton Fackrell, 76.5
RG Fred Zerblis, 75.6
Rams’ late rally falls short
Colorado State simply took too long to get their offense in gear in this game, and the team’s 36-point fourth quarter was not enough to keep up with Idaho’s dominant offensive performance. C Jake Bennett and RG Fred Zerblis were both perfect in 40 snaps in pass protection, and Bennett’s 76.9 run-blocking grade led the offensive line. HB Dalyn Dawkins probably deserved more than 16 carries after finishing with 125 yards, 80 of which came after contact, and a touchdown and forcing 6 missed tackles.
Top defensive grades:
DT Johnny Schupp, 75.5
DE Evan Colorito, 71.6
DE Toby McBride, 66.7
DT Josh Lovington, 59.6
LB Kevin Davis, 53.2
Colorado State unable to contain Vandals’ passing attack
While there were some standout performances against the run, the Rams earned well below-average grades for both pass rushing and coverage on their way to allowing 61 points to Idaho. OLB Evan Colorito led the team with an 84.0 run defense grade, but finished with just two pressures in 30 pass-rush attempts. Inside linebackers Kevin Davis and Josh Watson also combined for 10 run stops. Nearly every member of the Rams secondary earned a below-average coverage grade however, and the team had no answer for Vandals TE Deon Watson.