Idaho Vandals

Vandals looking for inexperienced receivers to rise up

Idaho wide receiver Callen Hightower looks for the opening during the second half of an NCAA college football game against USC, Saturday, Sept. 12, 2015, in Los Angeles.
Idaho wide receiver Callen Hightower looks for the opening during the second half of an NCAA college football game against USC, Saturday, Sept. 12, 2015, in Los Angeles. The Associated Press

As the future of the Vandals’ best receiver is continually in doubt, the rest of the group has been needed to fill the void.

Senior Dezmon Epps was indefinitely suspended Oct. 26 by coach Paul Petrino, and no other player had such a lion’s share of the stats at his position on the Idaho roster. Epps has 61 catches for 757 yards; after the team’s Oct. 24 win over Louisiana-Monroe. Thethe rest of the team’s receivers have combined for 50 catches. Two receivers pegged to start, junior Jacob Sannon (11 catches) and sophomore David Ungerer (zero) have fought injuries all season.

Junior Callen Hightower and freshman Jante Boston, both in their first seasons, delivered solid showings for Idaho (3-5, 2-3 Sun Belt) in last week’s 55-48 overtime loss at New Mexico State.

“I thought they did good. ... I thought as a group they stepped up and played hard, they really graded out well on effort,” Petrino said.

Hightower was QB Matt Linehan’s top target with 10 catches for 110 yards, each more than half what he had coming into the game (19 for 190), and Boston added four catches for 32 yards, both his best in a single game thus far, something that no doubt excited his coach.

“Hightower did a good job, had over 100 yards. Boston had a couple great catches, he really has good hands,” Petrino said. “I think Boston’s future is going to be unbelievably high.”

Idaho will need the relatively untested group to continue to improve, as some tough defenses lie ahead. Saturday’s opponent, South Alabama (3-4, 1-2) is 13th in the nation in pass defense (175.1 yards per game allowed.), and Nov. 14’s foe, Appalachian State is 18th (179.4 ypg).

“Just have to keep it moving, that’s the goal, keep getting better,” Hightower said.

REPORTS: EPPS WON’T BE CHARGED; UNGERER ARRESTED

Epps, suspended because of an incident in which he allegedly slapped his girlfriend, will not have charges pressed against him by Whitman (Wash.) County prosecutors, according to the Moscow-Pullman Daily News.

On Tuesday, Pullman Police forwarded a fourth-degree assault charge, but the alleged victim refused to cooperate and the office felt it had insufficient evidence to move forward, according to the Lewiston Tribune, which reported that Epps did not travel to South Alabama. Petrino said he would wait for the legal system to play out before deciding on Epps’ future with the team, but his status is still unclear.

The Tribune also reported receiver David Ungerer was arrested on Halloween for DUI. He has played in two games and has no catches this season.

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