[Vandal] A Rivalry Game That Wasn't ?

robiegruss at aol.com robiegruss at aol.com
Mon Oct 18 08:27:19 PDT 2021

>From The Lewiston TribuneLewiston, IdahoMonday, October 18, 2021
A Rivalry Game That Wasn't ??
By Stephan Wiebe
CHENEY — One man’s rivalry is another man’s “game that means a little bit more.”
Going into Saturday’s football game between No. 2 Eastern Washington and Idaho, much of the focus was on how the teams had split their last four showdowns, including a 1-1 mark in the spring. Saturday’s game was the third between the teams in this calendar year — a massive anomaly in college football.
Two rivalry teams 80 miles apart battling it out on the Eagles’ red turf for all the glory. A game so big it was picked up by ROOT Sports on cable television.
Sure to be a classic, right?
Well it certainly was for the Eagles, but the 71-21 demolition is one Vandals fans would like to soon forget.
After the 50-point beatdown, Eastern Washington coach Aaron Best ended his postgame press conference by saying the rivalry game wasn’t a rivalry.
“Credit to the guys who took this — and let’s be honest — took this personal,” Best said. “It’s not a rivalry. It’s a game that means a little bit more, but it’s not a rivalry.”
Best and both Eagles players who partook in postgame interviews, Eric Barriere and Jusstis Warren, hinted there was something behind the scenes adding extra fire to their explosive performance on “the Red” Saturday. Whatever that something is, the world may never know.
But it made for some interesting comments in the postgame press conference.
“We’ve got people that hype it up and stuff, they hype it up too,” said Barriere, who passed for a school-record 600 yards and accounted for a whopping eight touchdowns. “I mean, it’s fun just because the last couple of games have been close and stuff, but we wanted to come out and just make a statement just because — yeah, I’m just going to leave it at that.
“It was a great team win today.”
Whatever the mysterious motivation behind the scenes, consider the statement made.
The irony of Best saying the game isn’t a rivalry, though, is that it makes it more of one. It should add some extra fire and motivation to the Vandal sideline when the teams meet again in 2022.
But Best was right, at least about Saturday’s contest.
The game, rivalry or not, definitely didn’t resemble one. It looked more like when a prep team fields JV group against a varsity lineup.
The EWU offense moved the ball with ease and the defense forced three turnovers. A third-and-34 conversion on a screen pass in the third quarter told the tale of the game.
So what went wrong for Idaho?
It’s easy to point to injuries, particularly at quarterback where the Vandals were missing their first two options in CJ Jordan and Mike Beaudry to injuries.
But Zach Borisch provided a spark at the position, rushing for a 75-yard score even though defenses know he’s mostly going to tuck the ball. And true freshman Gevani McCoy played valiantly considering he first-career snaps came against the No. 2 FCS team in the nation on its home field. Aside from two interceptions, McCoy threw several strikes for big gains and popped up quickly after taking a few big hits in the pocket. He finished with 82 passing yards on seven completions.
Idaho’s defense, however, is showing a glaring weakness of struggling against the pass. In the past two weeks, EWU and Portland State have combined for 1,048 yards through the air.
Both those teams also had 100-yard rushers.
The Vandals’ defense at times looked lost against the Eagles. On one play, two Idaho defensive backs collided, leading to a wide open touchdown. Another time, there was confusion on the coverage in the secondary which led to another big play.
The Vandals won’t have it any easier this week, going against another Big Sky heavyweight — No. 5 Montana.
The Grizzlies may not have a superhuman athlete like Barriere on their roster, and they’ll fall in the polls after a loss to Sacramento State. But Montana has allowed just seven points three times this season, including in a win against the Washington Huskies of the Pac-12 Conference.
The good news for the Vandals is they play at home where they’re 2-0 this season. They’ll need some Kibbie Dome magic to get back on track and put the dud in Cheney behind them.
Idaho vs. Montana 
What to know:  Idaho returns to the friendly confines of the Kibbie Dome at 4:30 p.m. Saturday to play Montana for the Little Brown Stein.
The Vandals fell to 2-4 on the season and 1-2 in the Big Sky Conference with a 71-21 loss Saturday at No. 2 Eastern Washington. Sophomore quarterback Zach Borisch had 119 yards on 23 carries with one touchdown and sophomore running back Aundre Carter finished with 34 yards on10 carries with two scores. Borisch was 4-of-7 passing for 58 yards, and freshman quarterback Gevani McCoy was 7-for-14 passing for 82 yards and two interceptions. Senior receiver Mekhi Stevenson finished with three catches for 74 yards. Junior linebacker Fa'avae Fa'avae finished with 16 tackles, including four solo stops.
The Grizzlies fell to 4-2 overall and 1-2 in Big Sky play with a 28-21 home loss Saturday to Sacramento State. Quarterback Kris Brown was 29-for-36 passing for 188 yards with an interception. Running back Junior Bergen carried the ball 11 times for 47 yards, and Brown ran it 12 times for 24 yards and two scores. Tight end Cole Grossman had six catches for 53 yards. Safety Robby Hauck had 13 tackles, including nine solo stops.
Here’s how you can find the game:
TV: The game will be broadcast on SWX. It is available on channel 36 on Sparklight. It is not on DirecTV or Dish Network.
Radio: Learfield IMG College again is broadcasting the Vandals. Here in Lewiston, the game will be broadcast on KOZE-AM (950). Also, it will be broadcast on KZFN-FM (106.1) in the Moscow area, KORT-AM (1230) in Grangeville and KLER-AM (1300) in Orofino. Chris King will be the play-by-play announcer, and Trent Cowan, a former Idaho standout, will be the analyst. The two are in their first season covering the football team.
Odds: There are no odds as of yet.
Fun Facts: Idaho leads the all-time series 55-29-2, but it re-started in 2018 after the Vandals' return to the Big Sky. ... The two teams did not play in the spring because Montana decided it would not play. ... The Grizzlies have won the past six games and 10 of the past 12 in the series. ... The games in 2000-02 were outstanding, with each being decided by seven points or fewer. The 2001 game went to double overtime, with Montana winning 33-27 in Missoula. ... Idaho's previous victory in the series came on Nov. 13, 1999, when the Vandals walked away with a 33-30 road victory. ... The two rivals have played twice in a season on two seperate occasions, in 1982 and 1988. In each game, the home team emerged with a win.

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