GAMEDAY: Eagles, Vandals Start the Season at the Kibbie Dome - SWX Right Now-Sports for Spokane, CdA, Tri-Cities, WA

Eastern Washington Football | Idaho Vandals Football

GAMEDAY: Eagles, Vandals Start the Season at the Kibbie Dome

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© EWU gets a chance to play up a level on Thursday against the Idaho Vandals, who where once a part of the Big Sky with the Eagles (Photo: SWX) © EWU gets a chance to play up a level on Thursday against the Idaho Vandals, who where once a part of the Big Sky with the Eagles (Photo: SWX)

Eastern Washington and Idaho renew a regional rivalry Thursday night as they play each other in the Kibbie Dome in both teams' first game of the season.

For the Eagles, it is an opportunity to play up a notch. For Idaho, Thursday's game is chance to start things off on the right foot.

Eastern Washington will try to slow down the Vandal offense led by junior quarterback Dominique Blackman, who was named the starter after a close battle during the offseason with Taylor Davis and Logan Bushnell.

The Eagles have a new quarterback of their own in SMU transfer Kyle Padron. Padron missed spring football but came to Cheney during the summer and earned the starting job during fall camp. He will face a talented Vandal secondary – one the better secondaries the Eagles will face all season.

"It's always tough to feel people out in Game1, especially with coaching changes and everything," said Eagle defensive tackle Evan Cook, referring to Jason Gesser being named the new offensive coordinator at Idaho during the offseason. "I know they have a pretty good running back, so we have to stop the run. Stop the run and go have fun."

The Vandals also added Gordy Shaw to handle the running game and Mike Levenseller to run the passing game. Wayne Moses was brought in to handle the running backs and Al Pupunu will help the tight ends this year.

"For me, [Idaho] is just really solid," said EWU coach Beau Baldwin. "You got to base that off of last year's film, so you trying to get the best judgement you can. You can't look at all the personnel you're going to see this Thursday on last year's film."

As for how the Vandals feel about their FCS brothers, respect is the word coming from coach Robb Akey.

"They've got our attention," Akey said. "They're a good football team and we have a good football team to go against them."

Thursday's game in Moscow gets underway at 6 p.m. Fans can watch the game on ESPN3.

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