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String of losses leads to soul-searching for Vandals

by MARK NELKE
Sports Editor | November 18, 2010 8:00 PM

After Idaho was pummeled 52-14 at home by fourth-ranked Boise State last Friday night, Vandals coach Robb Akey had a long talk with his team following the game.

And then the Vandal players also had a meeting of their own — without the coaches.

“I think that’s a great thing; I’m looking forward to seeing what the results of it were,” Akey said. “We’re going to work ourselves through this.”

The Vandals (4-6, 1-4 Western Athletic Conference) are coming off a stretch where they have played the three top teams in the WAC. Idaho lost 45-10 at Hawaii and 63-17 at home to Nevada, and have lost four of their last five games since their bye week.

Akey, in his fourth year at Idaho, said Friday night those teams are farther along in the building of their programs than he is with the Vandals — though that doesn’t make losing to them any less painful.

“For me, I’ll be the first one to look in the mirror ... and say, what can I do to help motivate this team, to help them perform better, play better?” Akey said.

Strong safety Shiloh Keo, a fifth-year senior, said after Friday’s game that some of the Vandals were playing as individuals, and not for the team.

“I don’t think he was attacking anything,” Akey said. “I don’t think we have a problem other than we haven’t played well enough as a team; we haven’t made enough plays as a team.”

Idaho must win its three remaining games to become bowl eligible for a second straight year, starting Saturday at Utah State (4-6, 2-4). The Vandals play at Fresno State (6-3, 4-2) the following Saturday, then host San Jose State (1-9, 0-5) on Dec. 4 in the season finale.

Akey said he hopes to have senior running back Deonte Jackson (ankle) back for Saturday’s game. Jackson did not play against Boise State.

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