For months, Idaho coach Paul Petrino said his Vandals would have plenty of private victories before a public one, but as many wins as they delivered in practice, it was a Saturday win they longed for.
With a 26-24 win Saturday over Temple at the Kibbie Dome, Petrino got his first win as head coach after an 0-4 start.
A lot of work goes in, a lot of hours our players have worked hard enough, our coaches have worked hard enough they deserved it, Petrino said.
The win was celebrated, but a huge task lies ahead if the Vandals want another this Saturday.
No. 23 Fresno State comes to Moscow on Saturday, and that matchup has quickly put the win over the Owls in the rearview.
Fresno State (4-0) is coming off a 42-37 win at Hawaii, a game in which the Bulldogs led 42-3 in the third quarter. Senior quarterback Derek Carr has gained some early Heisman buzz with 1,445 yards passing, 14 touchdowns and three interceptions thus far.
Hes probably as good as any quarterback that is out there in college football this year, Petrino said.
Even in the excitement after getting his first win, Petrino kept the season in perspective, especially with games against Fresno State, Ole Miss and Florida State still ahead.
This is just the start, Petrino said Saturday. Its still a process, and were still going to get knocked on our butt some other time this year. Thats just the facts of life. But were going to fight everyone that wants to.
The Vandals win matches their total from last season. Coming off a tough road game, Fresno State is preparing for another when it heads to the Kibbie Dome, even as 25-point favorites.
Were going to be playing a team thats got a lot of momentum (Petrino) has those guys, in my opinion, ahead of schedule, Fresno State coach Tim DeRuyter said.
Though he acknowledged the Vandals will still take some bumps in the road ahead, Petrino said after Saturdays win that Idaho will be the big bullies in the Sun Belt Conference next season.
A big part of that confidence is big contributions from three freshmen. On Saturday, quarterback Chad Chalich became the first known Vandal to throw for 300 or more yards and run for 100 or more yards in a single game with his 310-yard passing and 114-yard rushing performance. Running back Richard Mongtomery had five catches for 102 yards, and freshman kicker/punter Austin Rehkow averaged 45.9 yards per punt (on seven attempts) and was 4-for-5 on field goals.
On Monday, Chalich and Rehkow were named FBS Independent offensive and special teams players of the week, respectively.
I think its great, any time you can have two players win player of the week, its a great honor. And when theyre both freshmen, its even better, means its real good for the future, Petrino said.
Dave Southorn: 377-6420