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Football preview: Georgia State Panthers at Idaho Vandals

Panthers at Vandals

Kickoff: 2 p.m. at Kibbie Dome, Moscow, Idaho

Records: Georgia State 3-8, 2-5, Idaho 7-4, 5-2

Online/Radio: ESPN3/92.5 FM

Overview: They’re guaranteed to go to a bowl and finish fourth in the Sun Belt. So what’s left to motivate the Vandals as they finish the regular season against Georgia State? Plenty. Twenty seniors, including four from Paul Petrino’s first recruiting class in 2013, will be honored before the game as part of senior day. The senior class helped lift Idaho from the bottom of the FBS to bowl eligibility for the first time since 2009. “We’ve been through a lot, and it’s a pretty special class,” Petrino said. Another motivation for this Idaho team? “We want to go down as one the greatest teams to ever come through here,” senior safety Jayshawn Jordan said. If they prevail today and in their bowl, the Vandals will reach nine wins, the most for the program since the 1998 team that won the Humanitarian Bowl. But Georgia State, a team Idaho has never played before, should present a challenge. The Panthers’ defense ranks in the top 10 nationally in passing yards allowed (177.2) and first in the Sun Belt in yards per play allowed (4.9). GSU fired coach Trent Miles on Nov. 13, but most of its losses are close – including to then-No. 9 Wisconsin in September. “They scare you,” said Petrino, noting that on tape the Panthers look more like an 8-3 team than a 3-8 team. George State interim coach Tim Lappano is a Spokane native and Idaho graduate. He coached Idaho running backs under Dennis Erickson from 1982-85 and was on the same offensive staff with the Detroit Lions as Scott Linehan, the father of Idaho quarterback Matt Linehan.

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