The Battle of the Palouse is a rivalry game that has lost a lot of its momentum and hype due to the lack of consistency in the rivalry. Washington State leads 70-16 in games played against the Idaho Vandals.
The Vandals are a team that has struggled tremendously in the past few years but is looking for that to change. First year head coach Paul Petrino hasn’t had the best first few games but is headed in the right direction in the overall picture. The Vandals opened up against North Texas where they were shut out 40-6, the following week they were beat 42-10 by Wyoming. Last week the Vandals started to look like a team that has the shot at winning more than one or two games, but lost 45-35 to the Northern Illinois Huskies. NIU last season went 11-1 in the regular season, then won their conference championship, but lost in their bowl game.
The Vandals run a two-QB system using throwing quarterback Chad Chalich and running quarterback Joshua McCain. McCain is also the teams leading ball carrier. Chalich, a redshirt freshman, has yet to throw an interception this season and is starting to find his groove and settle into the leading role for the Vandals. Last week Chalich went 15-26 for 240-yards and 2 touchdowns. When Idaho runs their option McCain is their signal caller. McCain on the season has totalled 112 yards on 22 carries and has scored once on the ground.
The Vandals don’t really have a main running back who is a threat to the defense every play, and this is one of their biggest problems. You can’t throw the ball and succeed if you are unable to run the ball. When Idaho does run the ball they fumble too often. With 10 fumbles in 3 games, 8 of which were lost, it also makes it hard to trust your running back. The Vandals true running back, James Baker, has carried the ball 33 times for 103 yards on the season. Other running backs Richard Montgomery and Jerrel Brown have a combined rushing total of 148 yards on 27 carries. Both Montgomery and Brown had not had a carry before this season.
For receivers the vandals have a few that have decent numbers. Dezmon Epps leads the team in receiving yards with 265 yards on 23 receptions. Michael MaGrone has 127 yards on 8 receptions through the three games. Montgomery and Brown have 85 yards on 4 receptions with one touchdown a piece.
The Vandal defense is struggling more than their offense. Giving up 40, 42, and 45 points in their first three games and have given up 1663 total yards to their first three opponents. The defense has given up 805 yards on the ground and 858 yards through the air, these kind of statistics are not the best for a defense that has only played 3 games.
There really isn’t much to break down for the Vandals defense being that they have struggled as much as they have over this year and years past.
I will include special teams in this defense category as well. Vandal kicker, Austin Rehkow has already missed a PAT and is 1 of 4 for field goals. A positive for Rehkow is that his one field goal was a 41-yarder in the Vandals second game. If any of you are familiar with high school sports or more specifically in the Spokane, Washington area, Rehkow set the state record with a 67-yard field goal in his senior year at Central Valley High School in Spokane, Washington. To view the video of the kick click here