Vandals flush Florida State, focus on finale

Idaho completes its season Saturday at New Mexico State.

dsouthorn@idahostatesman.comNovember 26, 2013 

Idaho Florida St Football

Idaho running back Richard Montgomery (4) gets by Florida State defensive back Terrence Brooks (31) to score on a 15-yard pass in the first half of an NCAA college football game on Saturday, Nov. 23, 2013 in Tallahassee, Fla. (AP Photo/Phil Sears)

PHIL SEARS — AP

— For obvious reasons, the Vandals aren’t terribly keen on reliving Saturday’s 80-14 loss at No. 2 Florida State.

However, coach Paul Petrino said Monday there are a handful of players who not just performed well individually, but went to the video coordinators and asked for a copy of the game film.

“There’s probably five or six of them … and that’s what we’re going to build on,” he said. “We’ve just got to get that to be (all) 22 (starters).”

So, who will want to remember the 66-point loss?

Petrino pointed to receiver Dezmon Epps (seven catches, 126 yards), defensive back Roman Runner (13 tackles), receiver Najee Lovett (three catches, 48 yards, one TD), linebacker Marc Millan (seven tackles) and running back Richard Montgomery (TD catch).

Only Runner and Lovett are seniors. Those two will get a shot to finish their careers with a win Saturday at New Mexico State (1:30 p.m.), which also owns a 1-10 record. The two teams will join the Sun Belt as football-only members next season.

“It’d make a huge difference for us going into the offseason,” Petrino said.

The Aggies’ lone win came in a 34-29 victory Oct. 26 over Abilene Christian, a team transitioning from Division II to the FCS.

Saturday’s matchup will pit the two statistically worst defenses in the nation — New Mexico State is last in total defense, 123rd nationally, giving up 557.7 yards per game. Idaho is 122nd at 541.8. The Vandals are allowing a national-worst 48.8 points per game; the Aggies are 122nd at 47.2.

Petrino believes the young players and those expected to return have practiced well and understand they are on the path to improvement, but a win would make them believe that more than anything. “It’d be huge, help them buy in even more,” he said.

On Monday, Petrino said the Vandals likely will add 10 or 11 junior college players for immediate depth. Among those, the key spots to fill will be at defensive back, defensive line, offensive line and “one great JC receiver.’’

“We need help at every position,” Petrino said.

Chalich likely out again

Redshirt freshman quarterback Chad Chalich, who started the first seven games before a shoulder injury Oct. 12, is “50-50” to play, Petrino said. Chalich is still the team’s leading passer with 1,224 yards with five touchdowns and three interceptions. Senior Taylor Davis (1,074 yards, seven TDs, six INTs) likely will start for the fifth straight game. “I wouldn’t expect (Chalich) to play,” Petrino said.

Dave Southorn: 377-6420, Twitter: @IDS_Southorn

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