The Idaho Vandals finally snapped their six-game losing streak on Saturday and atop the reasons why is the team's commitment to the run.
As a whole, the Idaho offense struggled through the first three quarters. But Kama Bailey, who entered the game with 108 yards rushing on the season, exploded for 116 yards on eight carries in the fourth quarter on his way to a career-high 163 yards on 19 carries.
All told, the Vandals ran 46 times for 183 yards, both season highs, in their 32-29 win at San Jose State.
"Kama Bailey played a tremendous game and did a great job," Idaho coach Akey said. ... He competed his tail off.
"... He put it on his back and he ran like the wind. He did it in a physical way ... and that's the type of running back he's capable of being."
While the Vandals rank 111th in country and last in the Western Athletic Conference in rushing, averaging 96.1 yards per game, Idaho has posted three consecutive games with more than 100 yards on the ground after accomplishing that feat just twice in its first six games.
When the Vandals have made a commitment to the run, the results have been mostly positive. In games Idaho ran the ball 30 or more times, it has a 2-2 record (2-1 when running 38 or more times). However, when the Vandals rush fewer than 30 times, they have posted a 0-5 mark.
"The commitment to the running game was probably stronger (at San Jose State). It has been the last few weeks," Akey said. "It's grown in each of the ball games and we finally got it to where we wanted it to be in this last ball game.
"... We stayed consistent with bringing it and we finally got some runs to break."
Prior to last week's game, Princeton McCarty, who leads the Vandals with 494 yards rushing and a 4.2 yards per carry average, had being seeing the bulk of the team's carries in Idaho's previous two games, carrying the ball 25 times for 116 yards against New Mexico State and 28 times for 99 yards against Hawaii. Against San Jose State, he was limited to 11 rushes for 36 yards.
Whether it will be McCarty or Bailey -- or Ryan Bass, who was expected to be one of the Vandals top runners but has been limited with an undisclosed internal injury -- who sees the bulk of the carries this week at BYU remains to be seen.
"We've got some backs that I think are very capable ... and when we get a hot hand we want to ride with that hot hand," Akey said.
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