“Faith” takes center stage in the 18th Idaho’s first FCS playoff appearance since 1995

University of Idaho center Logan Floyd was on the podium speaking to the media. He took a moment to thank his soccer coach.

Without him, the Vandals wouldn’t be in this position.

“I just want to say thank you to the coaches for coming in here and believing in us from the start,” Floyd said. “They weren’t trying to come in here and bring in some new guys. As (coach Jason) Eck said, ‘These guys are our guys and we’re going to do it.’

“I think that belief in this team is what got us into the playoffs this year.”

The 18th-ranked Vandals (7-4) have earned a vacancy in the FCS playoffs and meet No. 17 Southeastern Louisiana (8-3) at Strawberry Stadium in Hammond, Louisiana on Saturday. Kick-off is at 5 p.m. local time and the game will be broadcast on ESPN+. It is the first meeting between the two teams.

The winner meets Samford (10-1), who was seeded sixth and awarded a bye, in the second round on Saturday December 3rd.

“It means everything to me. If I go out and play with my brothers, that’s the last time I get to play college football, so making the playoffs is special,” Floyd said. “It just goes to show how we’ve all bought into this process that the coaches are trying to show us. We’re changing the culture here at the University of Idaho. You see it a lot with our fans, our school, there’s a lot of excitement coming out of the program.

“The only way is up for this program and I’m very excited to see where it goes. But first I’m super excited to see how we’re going to play this weekend.”

It is Idaho’s first playoff appearance since returning to FCS several years ago and 12th playoff appearance overall. The last time Idaho made an FCS playoff was also in Louisiana against a Southland Conference team in 1995. The Vandals lost to then-No. 1-seeded McNeese State in the first round in Lake Charles, Louisiana.

The Vandals face a team from southeast Louisiana making their third playoff appearance in four seasons, including home wins in 2019 and 2021. The Southland Conference champions go into the postseason on a five-game winning streak.

“The football playoffs aren’t like the NBA finals where there are best-of-sevens,” Eck said. “You have a chance and you have to do your best. … There are no reruns.”

The Vandals’ playoff bid comes as a tight-knit Moscow community still mourns the loss of four University of Idaho students, who were found dead in an off-campus home on Nov. 13. The Moscow Police Department and other agencies investigating the quadruple murder still have no suspect.

“There is obviously nothing we can do to bring these people’s lives back,” Eck said. “But we can support the healing process for the community and things by providing them with a little distraction and giving them something to smile and be happy about.”

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