|Vandals sputter in opener|
MOSCOW, Idaho – Coaches and players alike tipped their hats to Eastern Washington Thursday night after the Idaho Vandals lost 20-3 in their non-conference football opener.
In the next breath, they expressed utter disappointment in their own performance.
“It wasn’t a good offensive production by us,” said quarterback Logan Bushnell, who started in lieu of Dominique Blackman. “It was a good game on their part. Their defense played well.”
Idaho struggled from the outset and never found a rhythm offensively and defensively had a propensity to give up the big play when it seemed to hurt the most.
“This is not the conversation I expected to have with you tonight,” coach Robb Akey said as he addressed the media. “We lost to a good football team tonight that played better than we did.
“We couldn’t get something to click. It felt like we were close to getting a spark. We had a couple opportunities to catch some big, big balls that fell on the floor. We could not get the spark. We could not get a string of stuff happening for us.”
It was that way from the outset. The teams traded punts on the first three possessions before Idaho’s second drive stalled at the 10 and the Vandals settled for a 27-yard Trey Farquhar field goal. Eastern responded on its next drive with a Jimmy Pavel 34-yarder that was set up by a 58-yard pass from Kyle Padron to Brandon Kaufman.
For the Vandals, those deep opportunities seemed to always be a hair-width out-of-bounds or a fraction out of reach. The same applied to many a defensive effort as the Vandals would bear down on Padron only to have him flip the ball to a handy receiver to keep a drive alive.
Eastern’s next score was set up by a 33-yard hook-up that led to the Eagles taking a 10-3 lead with 12:29 to go in the half. That score stood up until a 23-yard Pavel kick pushed EWU out 13-3 with 6:57 left in the third with a two-yard Quincy Forte run with 12:49 to play giving the Eagles their final margin.
“We did not play well,” Akey said. “It was not one kid’s fault. We didn’t play well enough. We had opportunities to make things happen. It is a team effort. It is a whole family effort. We didn’t play well enough.”