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Idaho Vandals 2016 College Football Preview, Schedule, Prediction, Depth Chart, Outlook

2015 Record: 4-8

Idaho Vandals 2016 Preview

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Paul Petrino and the  2016 Idaho Vandals look for their first postseason berth in seven years.

Overview: The Idaho Vandals won four games a year ago and have 13 returning starters so the question is whether the team  has enough to become Bowl eligible This could be the Vandals last shot at a Bowl with their Sun Belt membership expiring in 2017.

Idaho Vandals 2016 College Football Preview, Schedule, Prediction, Depth Chart, Outlook

USA TODAY Sports

Offense: If Idaho does one thing well it’s score and their 30 points per game is nothing to sneeze at. Vandals quarterback Matt Linehan threw for nearly 3,000 yards on 63.4% although his 16 TD/11 INT ratio wasn’t great. With Dezmon Epps gone, Idaho has a quality receiving nucleus of Callen Hightower, Deon Watson and Trent Cowan who combined for over 1,900 yards on 147 receptions. The rushing attack could be any combination of Isaiah Saunders, Aaron Duckworth, Dylan Thigpen or Denzel Brantley running behind an O-Line that features four returning starters so the Vandals have potential.

Defense: The Vandals defense was gouged more often then not with 42 points allowed so losing DE Quinton Bradley and his 15 TFL and five sacks hurts so getting back seven players with experience might not be great given opponents generally plowed their way through this unit. Kaden Elliss was the top linebacker in 2015 with 70 stops and 7.5 TFL but the Vandals lose their next three that combined for 178 tackles including 14 TFL so look for several JUCO transfers to see time in the front seven. With the return of corner Jayshawn Jordan (missed 2015), the Vandals have virtually everyone back in the secondary but will need the front seven to generate a pass rush.

Special Teams: Austin Rehkow handles all kicking chores and is a verifiable weapon for the Vandals with almost 47 yards per punt and a 23-27 mark on field goals including 8-10 from 40+ yards. Duckworth will probably handle kick returns but the return teams were below average at best.

Outlook: There are potential wins on the schedule and logically speaking a team that allowed 42 points in 2015 still won four games and were competitive in a few others so Idaho has a shot at Bowl eligibility if the ‘D’ isn’t a complete sieve.

Schedule:

9/1                 Montana State

9/10               @ Washington

9/17               @ Washington State

9/24               @ UNLV

10/1               Troy

10/8               @ UL Monroe

10/15             New Mexico State

10/22             @ Appalachian State

11/5               @ UL Lafayette

11/12             @ Texas State

11/26             South Alabama

12/3               Georgia State

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