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2014 July UI Football Round-up

UI had a busy July on all fronts.
Photo by William Mancebo/Getty Images

July is a busy time for most folks around the nation. Between all of the barbeques and elegant formations of sky high explosives, some may have taken a break from following college football to enjoy the fruits that the summer may bare.

If you are one of those people, here are some things that happened over the course of July involving the Vandal football team.

ESPN honors Idaho’s 2009 Humanitarian Bowl win

For most Idaho fans, the 2009 Humanitarian Bowl was one of the finest moments in the program’s history. Thanks to ESPN in the month of July, that moment got a little bit sweeter.

In ESPN The Magazine’s “Comeback Issue” released on July 7th, Idaho’s 43-42 win over Bowling Green was named the greatest comeback in a college football game in the last 10 years. Using the odds of victory as a particular game played out and several factors in game (such a point differential), analysts at ESPN determined that the Vandals had 143-1 odds and a 0.8% chance of victory just before the final 32 seconds of the game after they fell behind 42-35 to the Falcons.

According to ESPN, the Vandals spent most of the first half of the game bouncing around the 25-50% range for probability of victory, with Bowling Green holding a slight edge as the two teams traded blows. The highest percentage Idaho achieved in the game was 90% after they look a 28-14 lead with 5:30 left in the third quarter. As the game progressed though, Idaho’s probably of victory decreased to the 50-75% range for a sizable amount of the final quarter of play. That percentage hit nearly rock bottom after Bowling Green wide receiver Freddie Barnes caught a 51-yard touchdown, seemingly giving the win to the Falcons.

Nearly five years after the last moments ticked off the clock in Boise, most Vandal fans still remember that final drive. Starting their final drive at their own 34-yard line, Idaho QB Nathan Enderle found wide-out Preston Davis on a 50-yard pass that landed the Vandals on the Bowling Green 16-yard line. After two plays, Enderle found wide-out Max Komar sliding into the end-zone to take it a 42-41 game and raising the probability of victory to 50%.

Deciding that the win was more important than playing overtime, Idaho head coach Robb Akey opted to go for two, which ended in Enderle finding a wide open Davis in the back of the end-zone, giving Idaho the win.

The Vandals joined such teams as the 2013 Baltimore Ravens (who overcame 143-1 odds in the 2013 AFC Divisional Championship) and the 2008 Boston Red Sox (who overcame 100-1 odds in Game 5 of the 2008 ALCS) as the greatest comebacks since 2004 in their respective sports.

Marboe on Rimington Award Watch List

Moving to honors in the modern time, it was announced on July 9th that senior Mike Marboe had found his way on to the Rimington Award Watch List, an annual given to the best center in the nation, for the third time in his career.

"Mike has worked very hard this off season and had prepared to have his best season his senior year," said head coach Paul Petrino."We are very excited for him to have a great year."

A native of Wenatchee, Wash, Marboe saw his first appearance on the list in his sophomore season following his 2011 campaign, which saw him anchor the offensive line as a redshirt freshman. Currently, Marboe has started every game for the Vandals the last three years (36 starts) and is tied for fourth place nationally in successive starts among offensive lineman currently playing.

Marboe also managed to receive a spot on Phil Steele’s preseason All-Sun Belt team and was named as a first-team choice to the Sun Belt Conference’s preseason all-conference team. He will be joined by kicker Austin Rekhow and defensive end Maxx Forde as one of three Vandals elected to the Sun Belt’s preseason all-conference team.

Molnar hired as wide-outs coach

Under what most would consider “the cover of night”, Idaho quietly added a new tool to their coaching roster with the hiring of Charley Molnar early this month.

While it had been rumored that Molnar was joining the coaching staff at Idaho in June, it wasn’t until July that we had our first confirmation that the former University of Massachusetts head coach had officially signed with the program to be the wide-outs coach.

The signing, not surprisingly, was an exceptional one to newly-turned head coach Paul Petrino.

“Getting Charley to join are staff was a home run for us,” said Petrino. “He has been one of the best offensive minds in college football. He is a great teacher of technique and details of his position.”

Molnar’s time at UMass was a tumultuous one as the Minutemen went 1-11 in both 2012 and 2013 in the Mid-American Conference as they as they transitioned into their new role as a FBS team. Molnar was let go following the 2013 as UMass decided to go in a different direction with the program’s leadership.

Before landing in Massachusetts, Molnar was an assistant at Notre Dame (2010-11), Cincinnati (2007-09), Central Michigan (2006), Indiana State (2005), Western Michigan (2003-04), Eastern Michigan (2002), Eastern Illinois (2001), Kent State (1994-2000), Illinois State (1990-93), Western Carolina (1989) and Virginia (1987-88).

In total, Molnar has been a part of seven bowl games, including Cincinnati’s 2009 Sugar Bowl. He resume includes being a head coach once, offensive coordinator 11 times and a quarterbacks coach 17 times. His players and teams have set numerous records in the passing game.

Epps off team, charged with petty theft

July wasn’t all sunshine and honors for Idaho sadly. On July 21st, Petrino announced that Dezmon Epps, the top wide-out for the Vandals last season, had been dismissed from the program.

Epps, who gained 980 yards on 79 receptions for Idaho in 2013, was arrested on the 21st on a misdemeanor petty theft charge after shoplifting merchandise from a local WinCo Foods store in Moscow.

According to Moscow Police Chief David Duke, officers were called to the store around 1 p.m. that afternoon after store employees noticed Epps conceal roughly 10 items while simultaneously filling his cart with other items.

“He then went through the cashier, paid for the articles he had out, but did not pay for the 10 items he had concealed,” said Duke.

With Epps now gone, Idaho will have to turn to other players to fill the void now created in the offense. The most likely candidates to take the top spot in the wide-out corp. would be senior quarterback-turned-receiver Josh McCain and sophomore wide receiver Deon Watson. These two finished with a combined total of 724 yards.

Before the incident on the 21st, Epps was serving a two year probation sentence after pleading guilty to a DUI charge in June after being pulled over in Pullman, WA for allegedly driving the wrong way on a one way street.