[Vandal] Rugged Memories

robiegruss at aol.com robiegruss at aol.com
Sat Apr 3 08:25:06 PDT 2021

>From the Daily NewsMoscow, IdahoSaturday, April 3, 2021
Rugged Memories
Vandals, Bengals share thoughts on renewed Gem State rivalry
By Colton Clark
The Idaho Vandals, who’d been away from the Big Sky Conference for 22 years prior, might not have felt so invested in their renewed Gem State football rivalry in 2018, when they journeyed southeast to face Idaho State.
The often-maligned Bengals, hosting Idaho at Holt Arena for the first time since 1997, made sure the Vandals wouldn’t shrug them off anymore.
Idaho State quarterback Tanner Gueller tossed an astonishing, record-breaking eight touchdown passes. In short, ISU blasted FCS newcomer Idaho, piling up 754 yards — the Bengals fell shy of that all-time team mark by just 16 yards.
They even got a shout-out on ESPN for their efforts.
“That was probably one of the best games I’ve ever been in, the atmosphere, the crowd, everything,” ISU tight end Nate Shubert said this week. “It’s important for us, and we know what it means to us to really show we’re the better team in Idaho.”
It’d been 48 years since Idaho State chalked up as many points in a Division I game as it did in the 62-28 thrashing, a dismantling of an in-state opponent that had mostly put the smaller program and its Pocatello “mini dome” on the back burner for the past couple decades.
It was certainly one of Idaho’s most embarrassing losses in its history, and the Vandals have not forgotten.
“I was telling guys: ‘You remember what happened the last time we went down there?’ ” senior Idaho defensive tackle Rahsaan Crawford said. “Expect those guys to empty the bag and do everything they can to win this game.”
“You look forward to it every year, anticipating the outcome of it,” Crawford continued. “It gets bigger and bigger, it seems like to me.”The Bengals and Vandals square off at 3 p.m. Pacific today at Holt Arena in the “Battle of the Domes” rivalry series.
This season, the 24th-ranked visitors from Moscow appear to have the momentum. They’re 2-1, with a berth in the FCS playoffs still achievable if they can win three consecutively.
The high-scoring Bengals (1-3) are on a two-game skid, but those losses came by a combined nine points against No. 13 Eastern Washington and 15th-ranked UC Davis. Idaho State dropped both contests on game-winning drives.
Nothing would please the Bengals more than to play spoiler.
“We like to think of ourselves as the kings of Idaho,” Idaho State center Terron Carey said. “ ... They’re coming in here, and they think they’re better, they think they’re a playoff team.”
Idaho avenged the humiliating loss on its homecoming last season, scoring three defensive touchdowns, manhandling ISU’s offensive front and torching the Bengal defense through the air in a 45-21 thumping.
“They blew us out the first year, then the year after was a pretty good game (for us), but I still got the chip on my shoulder,” Idaho junior tackle Logan Floyd said. “It hasn’t gone away. The rivalry has continued, it’s grown more.”
The Vandals own a 29-12 advantage in the series, which began in 1916 but was only played twice before 1960.
The Bengals went back and forth with the Vandals in the 1970s and ‘80s — ISU claimed the Division I-AA crown in 1981.
Idaho dominated the win column in the 1960s and ‘90s, and went 4-0 in the series during its time as an FBS competitor, outscoring ISU 164-54 between 1997-2008, when Boise State was the Vandals’ most hated foe.
But this rivalry is sprouting legs. Idaho State players emphasized the bad blood this week.
“We want to kick their ass. Sorry, but it’s just what it is, you know, this is for Idaho,” defensive tackle Raemo Trevino said. “We own the state, and we’re going to show on Saturday why we’re the better team.”
Vandals coach Paul Petrino weighed in on the feud Tuesday.
“It’s a huge rivalry, so our tradition is to keep the trophy,” he said. “I talked to our team Sunday night about the freshmen — one of their goals should be to always have it. That’s the biggest tradition we have, is to make sure we keep the trophy and win the game.”
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