South Alabama vs. Idaho prediction and game preview. Projecting who wins the game between the Jaguars and Vandals.
South Alabama vs. Idaho Game Preview
When: Saturday, November 26 – 3:30 p.m. ET
Where: Kibbie Dome, Moscow, ID
Bobby isn’t the only Petrino who’s having a good year on the sidelines in 2016. Paul is too, leading Idaho to a surprising 6-4 mark and bowl-eligibility for the first time since 2009. The Vandals, who were off last weekend, won’t have to leave Moscow again until their postseason excursion, possibly to Tucson to play in the NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl. South Alabama could join Idaho in the bowl season. The Jaguars reached .500 with last week’s win over Presbyterian, a replacement for the game originally scheduled with LSU. USA now has two wins over FCS teams, but will receive a waiver if it picks up that sixth win and receives a bowl invitation.
What To Know About South Alabama
Bizarre squad, these Jaguars. They’ve defeated Mississippi State and San Diego State, yet are just 1-5 in conference play. The defense has been above average, led by edge rusher Randy Allen, who has helped make life easier on the defensive backfield. However, the offense ranks No. 9 in the 11-team Sun Belt. Even against Presbyterian a week ago, the passing game was ineffective, with Marshall transfer Cole Garvin completing 15-of-28 passes for 167 yards, no touchdowns and no interceptions. South Alabama needs running back Xavier Johnson to keep the chains moving on Saturday.
What to Know About Idaho
The Vandals possess a little more offensive pop than the Jaguars, but not as many defensive stoppers. Idaho, which yield 31 points per game, wants to build on its last game, collecting four sacks and two fumble recoveries and holding the Bobcats to 193 total yards. The offense will continue striving for balance under Petrino. Isaiah Saunders has gradually assumed a larger role in the offense, rushing for 175 yards and two scores over the last two games. And junior quarterback Matt Linehan is the veteran leader of the huddle, with three years of starting experience on his resume.
Offense: Idaho. The Vandals hold an edge behind center and up front, where South Alabama has given up 26 sacks this season.
Defense: South Alabama. Allen is the catalyst, but CB Jeremy Reaves and linebackers Roman Buchanan and Darrell Songy have also played well in 2016.
Special Teams: Idaho. Austin Rehkow’s leg will earn him an NFL paycheck for many years, potentially as a punter and a placekicker.
Coaching: Idaho. Close call between Petrino and South Alabama’s Joey Jones, though the former has elevated higher than the latter this season.
Intangibles: South Alabama. Idaho has already qualified for a bowl game, so there’s less to gain Saturday. The Jaguars need a win to enter the discussion.
Matchup To Watch
Idaho ends Aikeem Coleman and Tueni Lupeamanu vs. South Alabama tackles De’Arius Young and Noah Fisher
Part of the reason Garvin and Dallas Davis have had so many problems this year is a lack of protection. There just hasn’t been enough time to find Jaguars, like Gerald Everett, one of the nation’s premier tight ends. This week’s assignment involves slowing down Coleman and Lupeamanu, who’ve combined for 18 stops for loss and a dozen sacks.
South Alabama vs. Idaho Betting Odds
Spread: Idaho -5
Over/Under: No spread as of post
South Alabama vs. Idaho Prediction
Idaho is playing with a little swagger, uncommon in November for a program that has struggled for so many years. And it’s played well in Moscow, which is a long way from Mobile. Sure, South Alabama will approach this matchup with a sense of purpose, needing one more win for bowl-eligibility. But the Jaguars won’t score enough to keep pace with Linehan & Co., stalling when the ineffective O-line starts getting whipped by an active Idaho front seven.
South Alabama vs. Idaho Score Prediction: Idaho 28, South Alabama 22