Idaho Vandals

With Big Sky home opener looming, Petrino calls out Idaho players for lack of effort

Idaho receiver Jeff Cotton hauls in a catch against Western New Mexico University earlier this season. The Vandals host Portland State at 3 p.m. MT on Saturday.
Idaho receiver Jeff Cotton hauls in a catch against Western New Mexico University earlier this season. The Vandals host Portland State at 3 p.m. MT on Saturday. University of Idaho Athletics

Idaho football coach Paul Petrino called out his players for a lack of effort in last week’s 44-21 loss at UC Davis.

To change that, Petrino said starters for the Vandals’ Big Sky Conference home opener against Portland State on Saturday would be determined by effort in practice.

“Whoever has the best effort is going to start — at all positions,” Petrino said during his weekly press conference. “... To be honest with you, I don’t remember too many games that I’ve been here that we’ve had that poor of effort. So we’ll grade effort every day in practice, and we’ll go out there and play with the guys that are going to practice the hardest and give the best effort.”

Season ticket sales have reached a five-year high, and the Vandals (1-2, 0-1 Big Sky) hope to reward fans with a winning effort against Portland State (1-3, 0-1). Kickoff is 3 p.m. MT in the Kibbie Dome in Moscow, and the game will be broadcast online on Pluto TV channel 242.

Idaho has sold 1,862 season tickets, a 5 percent increase from last year and the most since 2,039 season tickets were sold in 2013.

“I think for this week it’s all about us just getting ready to play,” Petrino said. “It’s about us coming out this week and really practicing hard and being physical. ... Hopefully it will be a really good crowd and people will be excited and go out there and have a great home game.”

The Vandals lead the series against the Vikings 11-1, but the two teams have never faced each other as members of the same conference. Their last meeting came on Sept. 6, 1997 — a 46-0 Idaho victory.

Saturday will also be Idaho’s 100th home Big Sky game and its first since Nov. 18, 1995, when the Vandals defeated Boise State 33-13.

But history won’t be on the Vandals’ minds when they take on the Vikings. Both teams’ only wins have come against lesser competition: NAIA College of Idaho (Portland State) and Division II Western New Mexico University (Idaho).

“We’re excited for this week,” Idaho linebacker Christian Elliss said. “We’ve got a fire under our butts right now. We have our backs against the wall.”

BYU gets shot at another ranked team

BYU moved into the rankings after upsetting then-No. 6 Wisconsin 24-21 on Sept. 15 in Madison, Wisconsin.

Now the No. 20 Cougars (3-1) will play a ranked team while ranked for the first time since 2015, as they travel to Husky Stadium to face No. 11 Washington (3-1) at 6:30 p.m. MT Saturday in Seattle. The game will be televised on Fox.

For BYU starting quarterback Tanner Mangum, an Eagle High graduate, it will be his first time facing coach Chris Petersen, who recruited Mangum when he was still the coach at Boise State.

“Heck of a player. We liked him a lot. I cannot believe he’s still playing college football. I’m like, huh?” Petersen told The Seattle Times. “But he was an awesome kid back in high school even. Just really liked him. Then he went on his mission and then went to BYU. He’s been there a long time, seen a lot of things, seen a lot of defense, played a lot of football. He’s an experienced fifth-year — kind of fifth year — kind of quarterback.”

BYU and Washington are meeting for the 10th time in the series, which Washington leads 5-4. The last time the two schools met was in the 2013 Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl. The Cougars led 16-14 at halftime but were shut out in the second half and ended up losing 31-16.

Idaho State’s Big Sky home opener

Idaho State upset No. 22 North Dakota 25-21 last week, and junior linebacker Kody Graves (Skyview High) was consequently named the Big Sky’s defensive player of the week.

Graves recorded a career-high 14 tackles and his first career interception in the win.

The Bengals (2-1, 1-0 Big Sky) hope to carry that momentum into their conference home opener against Northern Arizona (2-2,1-0) at 2:35 p.m. Saturday at Holt Arena in Pocatello. The game will be broadcast on Pluto TV.

ISU has struggled against NAU, losing 10 straight games and trailing 34-17-1 in the all-time series. The Bengals’ last win over Northern Arizona came in 2004.

C of I QB honored by NAIA, conference

Yotes quarterback Darius-James Peterson combined for a program-record six touchdowns in a 42-41 loss to No. 23 Rocky Mountain last week.

Peterson was named both the Frontier Conference and NAIA offensive player of the week for his performance.

The junior from Novato, Calif., rushed for 179 yards and four touchdowns and added 223 yards through the air and two more scores. His 412 yards of total offense ranks No. 4 in program history.

The College of Idaho (0-5) has a bye this week. The Yotes next host Carroll College at 1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 6.

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