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Film Study – Idaho Potato Bowl: Idaho Vandals vs Colorado State Rams

Well, Colorado State and Idaho certainly put on a show offensively, particularly in the fourth quarter of the Idaho Potato Bowl. Both teams made slow starts with a scoreless first quarter, however Matt Linehan started to hit his targets and gave Idaho a 41-7 lead that proved just too much for CSU to overcome in a crazy fourth quarter. 56, yes fifty-six, points were scored in the fourth quarter as both defences appeared to go for an early shower with Idaho prevailing 61-50. Both teams produced over 600 yards on offence, with Linehan (381 yards, 4 TDs) and Colorado State quarterback Nick Stevens (445 yards, 5 TDs) leading the way. However, Stevens also threw two crucial interceptions which ultimately proved the difference, along with Idaho’s rushing attack that produced 70 more yards than CSU’s and enabled them to control possession.

Colorado State did take an early lead at the start of the second quarter, and that is what we will take a look at first:

Here, CSU set up in the I formation with the box loaded, Idaho clearly anticipating the run. Coupled with the two high safeties, Idaho leave a huge amount of space in behind which Nick Stevens will look to exploit. His two wide-outs run simple post and go routes respectively, and the tight end and running backs will look to exploit any space across the middle should the safeties drop back.

The Coverage by the majority of the Idaho defenders is excellent in what looks to be zone coverage. The two inside linebackers dropped back into coverage leaving Stevens the option of throwing to one of his two wide outs. The receiver on the near side has tight coverage and any pass to him would be a contested ball. However, on the far side, without throwing any kind of faint, Olabisi Johnson has beaten his defender with his speed creating a simple pass for Stevens with nothing but open space beyond Johnson. Stevens does find his man and Johnson is off to the endzone with no danger of being hauled down by the defender.

Idaho then took charge through the 2nd and 3rd quarters, however we go into the fourth quarter with CSU threatening a comeback. Over to Matt Linehan to fight it off:

Idaho set up with two wide just like Colorado did for their touchdown. However, in this case Linehan keeps his backs and tight ends in to block, so is looking at his wide outs to get open. Jordan Frysinger on the near side runs a simple go route, and the receiver on the far side runs a curl, looking to pick up a short gain of around five if Linehan throws to him.

However, this play is immediately thrown into jeopardy as the CSU linebacker, No. 55, blitzes straight up the middle unblocked. Linehan moves to his right to avoid being swallowed up, however his receiver is in double coverage and any throw to him could prove very dangerous. With this in mind Linehan has to buy time and escapes back to his left at the hash marks where he can set his feet and survey his options once more.

After steadying himself, Linehan goes for the home run with the deep ball to Frysinger, who is in tight coverage. Too tight in fact, as a pass interference penalty was called on the defender. Despite this, Frysinger still manages to stick one arm out behind the defender and secure a spectacular catch. With the defender looking for the ball for a split second second, Frysinger manages to turn around and take it to the endzone to all but secure victory for Idaho with a 55-21 lead.

Colorado did make inroads into the Idaho lead but Idaho ultimately had too much for CSU, winning the game 61-50 and securing the Idaho Potato Bowl.

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