After practice one day early this week, when everyone had jogged into the locker room, Idaho senior linebackers Kaden Elliss and Ed Hall and a couple of teammates reassembled on the Kibbie Dome turf.
Leading up to the renewal of the Big Sky rivalry with Eastern Washington, Idaho coach Paul Petrino preached about the importance of getting off to a good start and limiting the No. 5 Eagles’ high-flying offense early.
The Idaho team that had been expected to dominate Big Sky Conference competition in its return to the Football Championship Subdivision finally put in an appearance for homecoming.
Rahsaan Crawford toils in the anonymity of the offensive and defensive lines and as a blocking back for the Idaho Vandals, yet he has the liveliest idiom on the team.
Deflated by a 24-23 loss to Montana State a week ago, when an extra-point attempt narrowly missed, the Idaho Vandals are out to show they’re not demoralized.
The Vandals (2-4, 1-3) drove for what appeared to be the tying points when David Ungerer scampered in on a broken reverse-pass play from 9 yards. Cade Coffey was wide on the extra point, however, and MSU recovered the ensuing on-side kick.
Through five games, the Vandals have alternated between junior Mason Petrino and sophomore Colton Richardson – sometimes play-to-play.
Two years ago, Noah Johnson was standing at the entrance to the Kibbie Dome, an anxious freshman from Arkansas, new to the Northwest and wearing an Idaho Vandals game uniform for the first time.
Tanner Gueller threw for eight touchdowns and 492 yards, although the Vandals were able to hang around through the third quarter, drawing as close as 13 points, 41-28, with 5:25 to play.
Idaho’s matchup with Idaho State in Pocatello is unique from at least three perspectives. It will be the first time the two have played since 2008, and the first time in 23 years the teams have faced each other as Big Sky Conference rivals. And for a change, the Bengals aren’t a doormat.
Dorian Clark developed early for the Vandals. He got into nine games as a freshman. He was supposed to be a grayshirt, but injuries on the depth chart ahead of him meant by the first day of fall camp he was running with the active players.
Idaho fashioned its first Big Sky Conference football victory since its return to the conference after 23 years away, wearing down Portland State 20-7 on Saturday.