The Idaho Vandals aren’t seasoned veterans yet but the 32 freshmen (redshirt and true) who debuted in the Vandals’ opener last weekend now have one collegiate football game under their belts. Today, at 1 p.m. PT/2 p.m. MT, they’ll make it two when they take on Wyoming in a regionally (ROOT Sports) televisted game.
“They have to believe in their training, trust what their technique and fundamentals are,” coach Paul Petrino said. “Just play. Not be tentative and worried about making mistakes.
“I told the team usually you make your biggest improvement between game one and game two. That’s something we have to make sure happens.”
Petrino said the Vandals came away with a number of building blocks from their opener, not the least of which is reducing the number of penalties and controlling their own destiny to a greater degree.
“We’re not as far away as the score looked but that’s all that matters at the end of the day,” he said.
Both teams are 0-1 going into Saturday’s game with the Vandals coming off of a 40-6 loss at North Texas and Wyoming off of a 37-34 loss at Nebraska.
Paul Petrino is in his first season at Idaho and his first as a head coach. While it is his first head coaching job, it is not Petrino’s first stint at Idaho. His coaching career began at Carroll College (his alma mater, 1989). From Carroll, he went to Idaho where he coached running back, receivers and special teams from 1992-94. From Idaho it was on to Utah State (1995-97), Louisville (1998-99), Southern Mississippi (2000-02), Louisville (2003-06), Atlanta Falcons (2007), Arkansas (2008-09), Illinois (2010-11) and Arkansas (2012).
DAVE CHRISTENSEN is in his fifth season at Wyoming. He is 22-28 since taking over the program in 2009). Christensen is a graduate of Western Washington University and has previous coaching experience at Missouri (1997-2008), Toledo (1990-96), Idaho State (1989-90), Washington (1988) and Spokane Falls CC (1986-87) in addition to high school stints at Everett and Sehome (Wash).
Idaho is playing the 2013 season as an FBS independent before rejoining the Sun Belt Conference in 2014. The Vandals have been independent previously – 1893-1907 and 1959-62.There are six other independent FBS programs – Army, BYU, Navy, New Mexico State, Notre Dame and Old Dominion.
Wyoming leads the series 5-1 with Idaho’s lone victory was 31-3 in 1921. Wyoming won in overtime last season.
Saturday’s game is on ROOT Sports.
IN THE NUMBERS
1 – By allowing North Texas to convert on just one of four fourth-down conversion attempts, the Vandals’ percentage of just .250 allowed is No. 1 in the nation.
8 – True freshman Austin Rehkow (Spokane, Wash.) is eighth nationally in punting average after averaging 47.3 yards per kick on his six punts at North Texas.
T15 – Richard Montgomery’s (Jacksonville, Fla.) 43-yard kickoff return at North Texas was tied for 15th longest during Week 1.
16 - The Vandals are tied for 16th nationally in red-zone defense at .600.
T17 – The 59-yard Chad Chalich (Coeur d’Alene, Idaho) to Mike LaGrone (Reno, Nev.) hookup at North Texas ties for 17th longest nationally.
20 –True freshman Richard Montgomery, who had three kickoff returns for 76 yards, is ranked 20th nationally with an average of 25.3 yards per return.
26 – Idaho, by virtue of strong returns by true freshman Richard Montgomery, is 26th nationally in kickoff returns.
T28 – Dezmon Epps (Sacramento, Calif.) is tied for 28th nationally in receptions per game with eight in his first FBS outing.
45 – Redshirt freshman Chad Chalich is tied for 45th nationally in pass yards per game with 230.
50 - The Vandals are tied for 50th nationally in passing yards per game at 230.
KUDOS TO LAGRONE
Senior Michael LaGrone (Reno, Nev.) was awarded honorable mention status at tight end by CollegeFootballPerformaceAwards.com. LaGrone caught one pass for 70 yards and received compliments from coach Paul Petrino for his blocking.
ON THIS DATE
The Vandals have played four times on Sept. 7:
1985 – opened the season at Oregon State (L, 43-28);
1991 – opened the season at home vs. Sonoma State (W, 49-7);
1996 – played at San Diego State (L, 40-21), and
2002 – played at Washington State (L, 49-14).
- Redshirt freshman Chad Chalich (Coeur d’Alene, Idaho) completed his first nine passes at North Texas en route to a 19-of-27 (70.3 percent) effort in his collegiate debut. He finished with 230 yards and one TD for an efficiency rating of 154.15.
- At North Texas, a full 50 percent of the 64-player travel squad included players heading into their first FBS game. Five true freshmen (DT Tueni Luepamanu, FS Jordan Grabski, RB Richard Montgomery, WR Jacob Sannon and K Austin Rehkow) saw action in addition to five redshirt freshmen (LB Austin DeCoud, SS Robert Siavii, QB Chad Chalich, OL Calvin White and WR Deon Watson). Additionally, there were nine transfers (LB Eric Tuipulotu, LB Broc Westlake, LB LB Marc Millan, CB Delency Parham, LB Juan Martinez, WR Dezmon Epps, QB Joshua McCain, RB Kristoffer Olugbode and RB Jerrel Brown) in their first games as Vandals.
- True freshman kicker/punter Austin Rehkow (Spokane, Wash.) was impressive in his first game as a collegiate punter. Among his six punts were a 62-yarder, which ties for 12th longest all-time at Idaho, and a 60-yarder, which ties for 14th longest all-time. He averaged 47.3 yards per kick.
- Transfer Dezmon Epps (Sacramento, Calif.) made his debut as a receiver for the Vandals a strong one with 94 yards on eight catches.