Big Damm Preview: Game 2 – Idaho vs. Indiana

Fresh off starting the season with a 68-0 beatdown of Simon Fraser, Idaho hits the road to Big Ten country for a showdown with the Indiana Hoosiers. This will be the first time in history that Idaho and Indiana match up.

Last Game:
Idaho shredded Simon Fraser as six different players each registered more than 20 rushing yards on the way to 316 total yards on the ground.

The preseason #17 Hoosiers got drubbed on the road by a different black and gold team as Iowa went wire-to-wire in a 34-6 victory.

Quarterbacks:
Zach Borisch got the start for the Vandals against Simon Fraser, but never threw the ball [editor’s note: #LetBorischThrow] as Idaho alternated between CJ Jordan and Mike Beaudry as the primary quarterback for each quarter, with Borisch relegated to spot duty running the read option.
Jordan, playing the first and third quarters, went 7 for 12 with 161 yards and two TDs, adding another 61 yards and a TD on the ground. Beaudry went 10 for 15 with 116 yards, plus 47 yards rushing. Borisch had 8 rushes for 34 yards, one of which was a botched snap over his head that he recovered for negative 14 yards (if you remove this bad snap broken play, he went 7 rushes for 48 yards.)
Idaho is expected to play all three quarterbacks this week against the Hoosiers.

Indiana returns redshirt junior Michael Penix Jr. [editor’s note: our nonexistent lawyers have informed us that we must stress the pronunciation is pen-icks.] While turning in an all-conference stat line in 2020, at one point leading the Big Ten in passing yards, yards per game, touchdowns, completions, and attempts; Penix suffered an ACL injury to end his season early. Despite the injury, Penix was given Big Ten preseason honors for 2021, and is on the watchlist for the Maxwell, Davey O’Brien, Walter Camp, Manning, and Unitas awards. Against Iowa last week, his first game since the injury, he went 14 for 31, 156 yards, and three INTs.

Idaho’s Key Players/Statistics:
The Vandal offense distributed the ball all over the field last week, as 13 players registered a rush or reception. Roshaun Johnson paced the backs with 10 rushes for 87 yards, and one catch for 17 yards. Hayden Hatten led the receivers with 106 yards and a TD off of two catches, while Michael Noil had four receptions for 68 yards. Newcomers Elisha Cummings (six carries for 56 yards), Terez Traynor (three catches for 25 yards), and Mekhi Stevenson (two catches for 22 yards, plus four punt returns for 61 yards) passed the eye test with limited offensive stats and look to be key contributors moving forward.

Defensively, Idaho held Simon Fraser to just 90 yards, and had 27 players register a defensive statistic, led by Noah Elliss’s eight tackles with 1.5 tackles for loss. Hogan Hatten, Malakai Williams, Rahsaan Crawford, Coleman Johnson, and tight end turned linebacker Logan Kendall all registered a sack. Sean McCormick had the Vandals’ only turnover, with a 32 yard interception return.

Indiana’s Key Players/Statistics:
Indiana finished 12th in the AP poll last season, their highest finish in over 50 years, and came into 2021 with their first preseason ranking since 1969. Head coach Tom Allen was named the AFCA Coach of the Year last season.

Offensively, Penix carries the bulk of the accolades for the Hoosier offense, but receiver Ty Fryfogle was an All-American last season, and is on the watchlist for the Maxwell and Biletnikoff Awards this year. Tight end Peyton Hendershot is on the watchlist for the John Mackey Award, offensive lineman Matthew Bedford is on the Outland Trophy watchlist, and running back Stephen Carr is on the Doak Walker Award watchlist. Carr received the bulk of the work on the ground last week against Iowa, with 19 carries for 57 yards. Fryfogle and Hendershot had over half of the receiving output, with eight catches and 110 yards between them. Lou Groza Award watchlist kicker Charles Campbell scored all six points for the Indiana offense last week.

Linebacker Micah McFadden and cornerback Tiawan Mullen also received All-American honors last season, and both players are on the watchlist for the Bednarik and Nagurski Trophies. McFadden is also on the Butkus Award watchlist, while Mullen is on the Jim Thorpe Award watchlist.

Key to the Game:
Avoid injury. Get more clarity on the QB competition. Get out alive.

Game Predictions:
Producer Dallas: Well, last week I was not prepared for Simon Fraser to be as bad as they were. Hand up, I got last week’s prediction wrong. This week, I’m more confident. Indiana is too big, too deep, and too talented for Idaho to pull off the Big Sky over FBS upset that was in vogue last week and I don’t see Idaho containing the Hoosier offense like Iowa did. Indiana wins 45-13.
Boatman: Indiana 52-21 (with the back door cover by Idaho at the end)
Brian: Indiana 45-17
Chris: Indiana 35-18

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