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Idaho looks to get back to winning ways in homecoming date with Southern Utah

UPDATED: Fri., Oct. 19, 2018, 10:21 p.m.

Idaho linebacker Kaden Elliss  chases Portland State quarterback Davis Alexander  during the second half  Sept. 29 in Moscow, Idaho. (Kai Eiselein / AP)
Idaho linebacker Kaden Elliss chases Portland State quarterback Davis Alexander during the second half Sept. 29 in Moscow, Idaho. (Kai Eiselein / AP)

MOSCOW, Idaho – 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.

“We’re over it,” senior wide receiver David Ungerer said. “We had 24 hours to talk about it and process it. We’re on to Southern Utah now.”

Idaho entertains the defending Big Sky Conference co-champion Thunderbirds for homecoming.

Both teams could use the win – the Vandals to stop a two-game losing streak and SUU to prove the season’s first victory, over Sacramento State last week, was not a fluke. Against the Hornets, T-Birds running back Jay Green Jr. had his second 100-yard rushing game (107 yards on 20 carries) and two touchdowns.

“They do running back by committee,” Idaho coach Paul Petrino said of the Thunderbirds.

Green is the leading rusher with 470 yards and five touchdowns this season. Karris Davis rushed for 84 yards and two touchdowns in the Sacramento State game. Neither back is quite 200 pounds, but the T-Birds’ offensive line is big and physical, Petrino said. It includes 2017 All-America center Zach Larsen at 6-foot-1, 305 pounds.

Vandals nose guard Rahsaan Crawford said the Thunderbirds do what most Big Sky lines do, blocking toward the offensive center and “trying to get guys in space, moving laterally.”

On defense, the Thunderbirds show multiple looks and coverages. Their scheme varies from opponent to opponent.

The Vandals should have both quarterbacks who have played this season available, Petrino said.

Sophomore Colton Richardson missed the Montana State game with a concussion as junior Mason Petrino went the whole way for Idaho.

Petrino completed 21 of 35 passes for 162 yards with an interception. He ran for 51 yards on nine carries.

“A lot of people don’t know how banged up Mason’s shoulder was going into that game,” Ungerer said.

Ungerer doesn’t see desperation in his teammates.

“But we definitely need a win,” he said.

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