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Bradley, UI defense take their turn in scrimmage

MOSCOW, Idaho – Quinton Bradley didn’t mince words when recalling Idaho’s first scrimmage of the spring.

The offense put up 10 touchdowns with ease, five of them being capped on explosive plays of at least 23 yards.

He had plans to change that Saturday afternoon when the Vandals scrimmaged for the second time this spring at the Kibbie Dome.

“That kind of pissed us off,” Bradley said. “We didn’t like that so today we wanted to come out and show them they can’t do that to us anymore.”

The senior defensive end lived in the backfield, getting acquainted with quarterbacks and running backs alike with six tackles for loss, five of them sacks, on the afternoon.

The defense as a whole tallied 18 sacks as part of a 32 tackle-for-loss afternoon and wore the offense out enough by the end of the scrimmage to say they had the better day.

“I think we dominated today,” Bradley said. “I mean, offense did what they could and we had a good day today. We showed them we can stop them any time, any given day, I think it’s a props to the defense today.”

Idaho’s third-year coach, Paul Petrino, agreed with Bradley’s assessment.

“It’s the first scrimmage since I’ve been here that the defense got after them that much and they did probably for the last 50 plays,” Petrino said.

Elijhaa Penny got the scrimmage started for the offense, taking a carry up the middle, broke a couple of tackles and took to the sideline for a 47-yard touchdown.

Yards on the ground were hard to come by after that. Penny averaged only 4.1 yards per carry aside from that run.

Quarterbacks Matt Linehan and Juke Luton had difficulties finding consistency, but found the occasional explosive play.

Linehan tossed a 45-yard touchdown to Dezmon Epps on a rollout throw to his right. His next touchdown was a 50-yard toss to Jacob Sannon on a similar rollout throw. Sannon was so wide open he stopped and caught the pass like he was fielding a punt before strolling into the end zone.

Luton’s three touchdowns were all 38 yards or longer with his final scoring toss delivered to tight end Deon Watson. The former Coeur d’Alene standout broke tackles and won a foot race down the right sideline for a 69-yard touchdown.

Watson, who made the transition to tight end from wide receiver this spring, finished with 135 yards on six catches and two touchdowns, a sign that the junior is settling into his new position.

“He did some good things today. He’s still gotta get better at that position, still got some things he’s got to learn, especially blocking at the perimeter,” tight ends coach Al Pupunu said. “He’s got the skills and talent to do it.”

Once the big plays started to dissipate, the attention turned back to the defense and the play-making front seven.

Freshman linebacker Kaden Elliss led all players in tackles with 17 while Broc Westlake earned two sacks from his middle linebacker spot.

Armond Hawkins, making the transition to linebacker from cornerback, had the hype-worthy play of the afternoon, snagging a leaping interception on a deep-out throw from Linehan.

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