BG coach hopes trip to Idaho isn’t like his first in 1993

Andrew Harner and Andrew Harner

Football coach Dave Clawson is hoping this season’s trip to face the University of Idaho goes a lot better than his last.

As running backs coach at Lehigh in 1993, Clawson said his only experience ever in Idaho was dismal at best.

‘This is not a good memory,’ Clawson said. ‘Idaho at the time ‘hellip; they were loaded. They were one of the best teams in the country. They somehow got on our schedule.

‘We flew to Idaho [and] the buses got stuck in a snowstorm going up a mountain, so we just sat there for two hours. And that was the good part of the trip because once the game started, they beat us up pretty good.’

Then-Idaho quarterback Doug Nussmeier earned the Walter Payton Award as the Division I-AA Player of the Year while leading his team to an 11-3 record and an appearance in the national playoff semifinals that season.

In the Nov. 13 game against Lehigh, the Vandals won 77-14, easily their widest margin of victory for the season.

‘After the game, they asked Nussmeier, ‘When did you feel that this game was in hand and you were in good shape?” Clawson said. ‘And he goes, ‘At the coin flip.’

‘He goes ‘I looked at their captains, I looked at their sidelines and I told the boys, guys we’re OK.’ And he was accurate because it was not much of a game.’

Clawson and the team should have a better matchup in this season’s Roady’s Humanitarian Bowl on Dec. 30 against the Vandal defense, which allows more than 35 points per game.

Boise Falcons

Since the Humanitarian Bowl is played in Bronco Stadium, home to Idaho rival Boise State, Clawson said there may be a strong contingent of ‘Falcon fans’ even though the game is 2,000 miles from home.

‘If any Boise fans want to emphasize the orange in their colors for our game, we’d appreciate it,’ Clawson said. ‘It’s hard to ever root for your rival. As much as they want to see the [Western Athletic Conference] do well, when it’s a bitter rival like that, I’m sure there’s going to be a lot of Bronco fans that somehow could never get themselves to root for the Vandals.’

Senior quarterback Tyler Sheehan also said the in-state rivalry could help the Falcons earn some fans.

‘When I found out we were playing Idaho, I kind of knew that Boise and Idaho were rivals, so I was hoping that would be in our favor,’ Sheehan said. ‘We’ll see how it plays out.’

Records

Sheehan is 339 yards away from setting a new school record for passing yards in a season. Omar Jacobs (2003-05) is the current record holder with 4,002 yards.

Sheehan has thrown for at least 339 yards six times this season.

In addition, senior Freddie Barnes is five receptions away from setting a new NCAA record for receptions in a season. Houston’s Manny Hazard set the record of 142 in 1989.

‘It will be something special,’ Sheehan said. ‘With this opportunity, hopefully we’re going to take advantage of it.’

The only game in which Barnes did not record five receptions was when he caught four balls against Boise State, but he would not guarantee he would catch five passes against Idaho.

‘I don’t do the guaranteeing thing just because anything can happen in warm-ups,’ Barnes said. ‘Hopefully, we come in with a similar game plan so I can make some plays for the team.’

Connection

Idaho coach Robb Akey was a player at Weber State while BG offensive line coach John McDonnell was an assistant there from 1984-1987.