Our season-long coverage of Big Sky football continues this week with conference power UC Davis taking on Paul Petrino’s Idaho Vandals.
Who: Idaho (1-1) at UC Davis (2-1)
When: Saturday, Sept. 22, 3:30 PM ET
Where: Davis, Calif., Aggie Stadium
Watch: LIVE on FloFootball
For the first time since 1995, Idaho will play a Big Sky Conference game on Saturday.
After spending 17 seasons as an FBS (formerly Division I-A) member, the Vandals moved back to the FCS after the 2017 season—and back to a league the program called home from 1965-’95.
They won’t exactly be easing their way back into things, however, with a road trip to UC Davis waiting.
The Aggies enter at 2-1 and ranked No. 17 in the FCS Flo25 after handling San Jose State and blowing out San Diego before falling to Stanford (No. 6 in the FBS Flo25) last week.
Even in defeat, head coach Dan Hawkins’ team impressed in Palo Alto, Calif., leading the Cardinal into the second quarter thanks to an impressive outing from the defense.
Keelan Doss Has Been As-Advertised
First team All-American Keelan Doss is off to a fast start in 2018. The 6-3, 209-pound senior leads the team with 28 catches for 232 yards through three games—including a monster 13-catch, 106-yard performance at Stanford.
Doss is coming off of a season in which he led all of college football—both the FCS and FBS—with 1,466 receiving yards, 136.3 receiving yards per game and 10.5 catches per game.
The Cardinal were able to, in large part, limit his teammates and minimize his impact. If Idaho hopes to stay in this one, though, it will have to find a way to keep the senior wide receiver from going off.
Standout senior linebacker Kaden Elliss earned second team All-Sun Belt honors last season thanks to racking up 80 tackles, 16 for loss and six sacks. He also caught seven passes for 156 yards and two touchdowns in limited action offense.
The action doesn’t figure to be quite so limited this season.
Elliss has already caught two passes for 15 yards—both coming in last week’s victory over Western New Mexico—and will be leaned for significant contributions at tight end, fullback and even wide receiver.
The Field Position Battle
If Idaho can find some success early, the Vandals’ excellent punting may well come into play.
Redshirt sophomore Cade Coffey is averaging nearly 50 yards per punt this season, and the team’s 49.29 net punting average leads the nation.
Flipping field position will be paramount against a UC Davis team that is averaging 360 passing yards—and 454.6 total yards of offense—per game thus far.