[Vandal] Vandals Hoping For Upset On The "Inferno"
robiegruss at aol.com
robiegruss at aol.com
Sat Oct 16 09:02:32 PDT 2021
>From The Lewiston TribuneLewiston, IdahoSaturday, October 156, 2021
Vandals Hoping For Upset On The "Inferno"
Idaho, No. 2 EWU to play for third time in calendar year
By Stephan Wiebe
Seven months ago, Idaho played spoiler to No. 12 Eastern Washington in the spring season opener at the Kibbie Dome, knocking off the Eagles 28-21.
Two months later, the Eagles got their revenge in Cheney, topping Idaho 38-31 in a bizarre season in which the regional rivals played each other twice.
Part 3 of 2021’s edition of Idaho vs. EWU kicks off at 11:30 a.m. today (ROOT) back at Roos Field in Cheney.
“I expect not a lot of smiles from them, I’ll tell you that,” Eastern Washington coach Aaron Best said of the Vandals. “It’s been a battle really the last three times we’ve faced them.”
It won’t be as easy for Idaho (2-3, 1-1 Big Sky) to play spoiler this time. The Eagles (6-0, 3-0) are ranked No. 2 in the nation and with an undefeated record that includes wins against No. 5 Montana and UNLV of the Football Bowl Subdivision.
EWU is looking like a legit national championship contender.
Idaho coach Paul Petrino said “it’s going to take a complete, great game” if the Vandals are to play the part of upset-maker again.“We’ve got to take care of the ball, we’ve got to get first downs, we’ve got to stay on the field (and) we’ve got to score some points,” Petrino said.
Since 2018, the Vandals and Eagles have split the four games in the series. The home team has won each time, which doesn’t bode well for Idaho.
EWU is looking for its 20th straight win on the "Inferno" — an 8,600-capacity stadium that’s turned into one of the toughest places to play in the Football Championship Subdivision.
“It’s a great atmosphere,” Petrino said. “They have excellent fans, big crowd. It’ll be exciting. We’ll have a lot of fans there also.”If Idaho is going to win, it’ll have to pile up the touchdowns and keep EWU off the field, Petrino said.
The Eagles score an FCS-best 51.2 points per game behind a national player of the year candidate at quarterback, Eric Barriere. The senior leads the FCS in passing touchdowns (21) and passing yards per game (411.2).
But Barriere is far from the only cog in the EWU offense. The Eagles have key players at every position group, including All-Americans at tackle (Tristen Taylor) and receiver (Talolo Limu-Jones), and the FCS touchdown leader at running back (Dennis Merritt, 13).
Idaho’s play starts with its two quarterbacks — Mike Beaudry (64.6 percent, 3 passing TDs), the “passer” who can run; and Zach Borisch (4 total TDs, 198 rushing yards), the “runner” who can pass.
Ironically, EWU had to face each quarterback in separate games in the spring. Beaudry manned the offense in Idaho’s narrow victory, and Borisch played most of the game in the close loss at Roos Field.
Best said the Eagles didn’t realize Borisch would be under center until 20 seconds before kickoff.
Now, the two quarterbacks rotate in and out in the same games.
“They all bring something different,” Best said. “They’ll mix it up. Beaudry will pull the ball at times and Borisch will throw the ball at times, they’ll change it up. It is different. I wouldn’t say it’s difficult, but it’s different to prepare for both.”
The Vandals offense has benefited from a boost in the running game in recent weeks. Five Vandals already have accumulated more than 100 rushing yards on the season, including rushing leader Elisha Cummings. The freshman has 232 rushing yards at a 5.4 clip this season.
The others are Borisch, CJ Jordan, Aundre Carter and Roshaun Johnson.
Several of those Vandals, and others, will head into their fifth showdown against the Eagles.
“Our guys are always excited for Eastern,” Petrino said. “Now, they’re the No. 2 team in the country. You get to go play your rival and they’re the No. 2 team in the country — if you can’t get excited for that, then you probably shouldn’t be playing football.”
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