| March 22, 2018

Column: Night game should draw excitement

August 20, 2015

Garrett CabezaPrimetime football.

That is something the Idaho Vandals football team doesn’t experience on a regular basis, at least not at the Kibbie Dome.

But this season, the Vandals will play their opener against Ohio in a Cancer Awareness game 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 3 at the Kibbie Dome.

Instead of playing in the afternoon like the Vandals usually do at home, a Thursday night game in Moscow changes the routine a little, which should spark a little more excitement for the fans, who should have that first-game-of-the-season excitement anyway.

The Kibbie Dome should be packed full of students and other fans. It seems more students show up to games — no matter the sport — during the week rather than on the weekends when they have their own plans to blow off steam.

The student section should be roaring early and if the Vandals are still hanging with Ohio on the scoreboard at halftime, then the students will continue to be loud and maintain that home-field advantage.

If Ohio jumps on Idaho early, you could see the student section and other fans head for the exits right away.

The different setting should also get the players more fired up than usual.

I mean, what player doesn’t like to cleat up for a late game when more excited fans are in the stands.

I know it’s hard to distinguish night from day in the Kibbie Dome, but the players still know what time it is. The spotlight seems to be brighter during night games and most players love to play under those bright lights.

The players also have more motivation to take the field that Thursday night after the disappointing season last year when Idaho went 1-10. They will be ready to start fresh, put that season behind them and work toward new goals.

Idaho will look for revenge in this game to add more fuel to the fire.

The Bobcats beat Idaho 36-24 last September in Athens, Ohio.

The Bobcats jumped out to a 17-0 lead against the Vandals last season before Idaho stormed back and cut Ohio’s lead to 20-17. Ohio led 29-24 late in the fourth quarter but the Bobcats added a touchdown with about two minutes left in the game to seal the victory.

Idaho quarterback Matt Linehan threw for 353 yards and two touchdowns but threw three interceptions in that game, while the Vandals defense gave up 505 total yards of offense.

Linehan will have to limit his turnovers and Idaho’s defense will need to make some stops in order for the Vandals to have a chance to win this time around.

But the pumped up home crowd should help out with these two things and more.

If the Vandals can produce big plays early in the game — whether it is on the offensive or defensive side of the ball — then the crowd will stay in the game.

The Kibbie Dome might be a small college football venue, but it should be rocking Sept. 3 when Ohio comes to the Palouse.

Garrett Cabeza can be reached at arg-sports@uidaho.edu or on Twitter @CabezaGarrett

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