BATON ROUGE, La. -- An Idaho Vandal might give LSU's defense fits this season.
If it happens, odds are, it won't be until the Tigers play Alabama, whose offensive coordinator, Doug Nussmeier, played quarterback at Idaho in the early 1990s.
As for his alma mater, which visits Tiger Stadium to play the No. 3 Tigers Saturday, any success against LSU's defense, ranked fifth in the nation in the nation and first in the SEC allowing 201 yards a game, would be a moral victory.
Idaho, 0-2 after losses to FCS power Eastern Washington and MAC member Bowling Green, ranks 119th out of 120 FBS teams in scoring with 16 points in its first two games. The Vandals rushing offense is 118th, averaging 39.5 yards a game.
It took Idaho 113 minutes of football this season before it could score its first touchdown. After getting embarrassed at home, 20-3, by EWU, the Vandals managed just two field goals over three quarters at Bowling Green Saturday before quarterback Dominique Blackman hit Marquan Major for a 16-yard touchdown pass with 6:22 left in what was eventually a 21-13 win for the Falcons.
It sounds like the Vandals could use the services of Nussmeier, who won the Walter Payton Award, given to the top offensive player in Division I-AA (now the FCS), in 1993 Before him, John Friesz won the Payton Award for Idaho in 1989. Both went on to play quarterback in the NFL.
It should be said that quarterback isn't the problem right now for the Vandals. Blackman passed for 352 yards against Bowling Green in his first start of the season by completing an efficient 30 of 37 passes. But Idaho settled for field goal attempts, making two of three and Blackman was picked off once.
He'll have a harder time moving the ball against an LSU defense many consider the nation's best. The Tigers are giving up just over 200 yards and 8.5 points per game.
Idaho opened Sunday as a 42.5 underdog for this weekend. Seems generous, considering that LSU has as many touchdowns on punt returns as Idaho has overall.