Big Damm Preview: Game 7 – Little Brown Stein

In solidarity with Tubs sources that believe the coaching staff has lost the locker room (if that wasn’t obvious enough after losing by 50 to a conference opponent), I, Producer Dammer, have quit on the Big Damm Preview until a change is made with the direction of the football program. See you all next season (I hope.)

I take the time to do these silly articles and sillier drawings out of the passion and love I have for the University of Idaho and everything it has given to me. The rumors Tubs hears about the internal state of the football program sadden and sicken me. I am not a donor with enough sway to influence the athletic department, so this is my own little way of making my voice heard.

Please continue to donate to this great university in support of the student-athletes. I will be donating to the I.D.A.H.O. campaign next week after my billing/shipping address changes Monday, thank you to all on Twitter who rightly talked me down from my rage. Shout-out to Taylor Cash, who discovered you can donate “In Honor” of whatever you may like. Find him on the donor wall.

Hopefully, there will soon come a day where all Vandals can be proud of the entire football program: not just proud of the young men that are or have been a part of it, but the staff, their behavior, and the on-field results as well.

Go Vandals, today, tomorrow, forever.

[editor’s note: The views expressed in this article are those of Mr. Hammer, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Tubs at the Club.]

Big Damm Preview: Game 6 – Idaho vs. #2 Eastern Washington

It’s the rubber match! For the third time in 2021, the Idaho Vandals take on the Eastern Washington Eagles.

Last Game:
On Homecoming weekend, Idaho beat Portland State 42-35, narrowly hanging on after taking a 35-7 lead near the end of the second quarter.

Undefeated Eastern Washington led from start to finish in a 63-17 drubbing of Northern Colorado in Greeley.

Last Matchup(s):
February 27th, 2021 – Idaho came back from a 14-0 deficit to win 28-21 in the spring season opener. Eagle kicker Seth Harrison famously “missed” a field goal thanks to the dangerous combination of the Kibbie Dome scoreboard and an official struggling with mask protocols.

April 10th, 2021 – Eastern Washington got revenge on the red, winning 38-31 on a windy day where Zach Borisch got his first start at quarterback and rushed for over 200 yards.

Quarterbacks:
Another week, another question mark at quarterback for Idaho! Will we see Zach Borisch get another start against EWU, or will Mike Beaudry be healthy enough to play? If Beaudry is out, who will be Borisch’s backup?

Against Portland State, Idaho threw the ball only 16 times, led by Mike Beaudry’s 10 for 15 with 162 yards and a TD. Beaudry also chipped in 26 net yards on the ground. The Vandals finally #LetBorischThrow, who threw one pass, a 46 yard TD to Dalton Cash. Borisch rushed 16 times for 83 yards and a TD. On the final Vandal possession, Beaudry converted a 4th down pass to essentially seal the game for Idaho, but was injured and replaced by Borisch. Rather than kneel the ball and claim victory, Idaho chose to attempt to score a touchdown. Borisch fumbled and Portland State ended up with a failed Hail Mary attempt to tie the game in the closing seconds. Paul Petrino said after the game that they hadn’t practiced the victory formation with Borisch, so they opted to run the ball. If the Vandals are in a victory formation situation again this week, we’ll see if they have decided to practice the kneel.

Eric Barriere is having yet another Walter Payton Award caliber season, currently completing over 68% of his passes (168 for 245) for 2467 yards, 21 TDs, and 5 INTs. Barriere leads the Big Sky Conference in every passing category, and leads the country in completion percentage, yards, and TDs. His average of 411.2 yards per game leads the Big Sky by more than 100 yards.

Idaho’s Key Players/Statistics:
Terez Traynor once again led the receiving core, with five receptions for 114 yards and a TD; but it was the Vandal running game that stole the show last week, averaging 6.1 yards per carry on their way to 236 net yards. Borisch’s output led the team, while Aundre Carter continued his resurgence with 68 yards and two TDs off of just four carries. Roshaun Johnson added nine carries for 36 yards and a TD. Borisch, Carter, Johnson, and Elisha Cummings all have triple digit rushing output on the season and each average over five yards a carry.

Tre Walker had a typical Tre Walker game, leading the team with 18 total tackles and a forced fumble. Walker is currently fourth in the Big Sky Conference in tackles per game. With Fa’Avae Fa’Avae out last week, Hogan Hatten took advantage of the added playing time, with ten tackles and a tackle for loss. Marcus Harris forced a fumble, and Charles Akanno added a sack for the second week in a row.

Eastern Washington’s Key Players/Statistics:
While Eric Barriere might be the focal point of the Eagle offense, running back Dennis Merritt’s 92.7 rushing yards per game is good for third in the Big Sky Conference. Merritt has an incredible 11 rushing TDs in just six games, and averages 5.3 yards per carry. Merritt’s 13 total TDs is first in the entire FCS. EWU boasts a deep receiving core led by perennial All-Big Sky talent Talolo Limu-Jones, who leads the Big Sky Conference with 115.2 yards per game. Limu-Jones was injured in Eastern Washington’s win against Montana and missed last week’s game against Northern Colorado, but is listed as a starter on the two-deep against Idaho. With or without Limu-Jones, the Eagles still trot out three receivers that average over 50 yards per game in Andrew Boston, Freddie Roberson, and Efton Chism III. Boston and Roberson start opposite Limu-Jones, with Chism III serving as TLJ’s backup. Seventh-year senior (and perennial All-Big Sky lineman) Tristen Taylor protects Barriere’s blind side.

2021 Preseason All-Big Sky Conference defensive end Mitchell Johnson is the “name” on the EWU defense, but a pair of players with Vandal connections power the group. Linebacker (and former Vandal from 2016-2018) Ty Graham leads EWU’s defense with 59 total tackles, seven tackles for loss, three sacks and an INT. Safety Calin Criner, son of former Vandal defensive coordinator Mark Criner, heads the secondary with 35 tackles, while also adding an INT and a forced fumble. Cornerback Tre Weed was named second team All-Big Sky Conference in the spring season.

Coeur d’Alene native Seth Harrison is still kicking for the Eagles, but after going a perfect 12-for-12 in 2019, he has gone just 12-for-18 since the infamous “miss” in the Kibbie Dome.

Key to the Game:
Last week was a tale of two halves for Idaho, with an outstanding first half overshadowed by a near-collapse in the second half. The Vandals need to look much more like the first half team that ran the ball at will, scored a ton, and constantly pressured Davis Alexander.

Game Predictions:
Producer Dallas: In 2018, Idaho went down 31-0 at halftime in Cheney on the way to a 38-14 loss. In 2021’s spring season, Idaho unveiled the read option with Zach Borisch and lost 38-31 after a fourth quarter comeback by the Eagles. Idaho won’t catch EWU off guard with a brand new offense this time. The Eagles are a more physical team this year than the last few seasons, and their receivers are a nightmare for a weaker Idaho secondary. EWU grabs a big lead early and does not let off the gas, winning 56-21. [editor’s note: This prediction was made with the expectation that Beaudry plays, Idaho uses their two QB system, and Beaudry has to try to throw the Vandals back into the game. If Beaudry is out, Idaho still loses, but keeps it considerably closer by virtue of Borisch primarily running the read option and chewing more clock.]
Boatman: EWU 38-28
Brian: EWU 42-28
Chris: EWU 30-26

Big Damm Preview: Game 5 – Portland State vs. Idaho

IT’S HOMECOMING WEEKEND! The Vandals look to pick up their second win of the season when the Portland State Vikings come to the Kibbie Dome.

Last Game:
The Vandals lost to then-#8 UC Davis 27-20, after blowing a 20-13 lead going into the fourth quarter.

Portland State went on the road and beat Southern Utah 20-13.

Last Meeting:
October 12th, 2019 – The Vikings shut out the Vandals 24-0 in Oregon as Mason Petrino and Colton Richardson both threw a pair of interceptions.


Quarterbacks:
In typical Idaho fashion, CJ Jordan was named the starting quarterback against UC Davis, then promptly got hurt on the first drive without ever attempting a pass. Jordan’s shoulder injury is expected to keep him out for a few weeks. Let us know on Twitter if you can correctly guess the last year that a Vandal QB was named the starter and played through the entire conference schedule without injury or substitution.

Zach Borisch continued to do Zach Borisch things, running 10 times for 82 yards and 2 TDs (#LetBorischThrow), highlighted by the 60 yard run to open the scoring on the first drive of the game. Mike Beaudry stepped in off the bench after the Jordan injury and served as the QB for most snaps. Beaudry went 22 for 35 with 255 yards and one INT. Beaudry passed the eye test, completing over 62 percent of his passes in what was one of his better games as a Vandal. Expect to see Beaudry running the offense while Borisch comes in as a change of pace. [editor’s note: Perhaps head coach Paul Petrino noticed how UC Davis’s running quarterback Trent Tompkins shredded the Vandal defense when they had to respect the possibility of the throw. Alas, this is likely just the wistful yearning of a tired editor.]

Portland State’s quarterback situation is more settled than Idaho’s, with Davis Alexander being one of the longest tenured QBs in the Big Sky. On the year, Alexander is completing 58% of his passes (109 for 188) for 1405 yards, 8 TDs, and 6 INTs. His 1405 passing yards is second in the Big Sky Conference. Alexander is also the second leading rusher for the Vikings, with 111 yards and 2 TDs on the ground.

Idaho’s Key Players/Statistics:
Welcome to the Terez Traynor show? Hayden Hatten is typically Beaudry’s favorite receiver, but had just three receptions for fifteen yards in his return after missing the Oregon State game. Traynor had over half of the passing game’s output, with 10 receptions for 131 yards. On the season, Traynor now leads the Vandals with 20 catches and 230 yards, followed closely by Hatten’s 15 catches for 215 yards (in one fewer game.) Roshaun Johnson did not get a carry against the Aggies, but Elisha Cummings proved more than capable in his absence, with 15 carries for 125 yards and an incredible 8.3 yards per carry. Aundre Carter has solidified himself as the short-yardage back, with seven carries for just 12 yards last week, but that did come with a goal-line touchdown.

The Vandal defense put on a show against Ulonzo Gilliam Jr. last week, holding the All-Big Sky Conference caliber running back to just 61 yards on 19 carries. Unfortunately, UC Davis shifted their offense in the fourth quarter and running QB Trent Tompkins put up 85 yards on 13 carries. Fa’Avae Fa’Avae led the defense last week with ten total tackles, while Noah Elliss and Charles Akanno each registered a sack. Tommy McCormick registered two tackles for loss and an interception. Sean and Tommy, the brothers McCormick, are now responsible for two of the three Vandal takeaways this season.

Caleb Lightbourn has continued to be a worthy successor to Cade Coffey, averaging 46 yards per punt against the Aggies, with a long of 67. Unfortunately, the rest of the special teams unit continues to struggle, as yet another kick was blocked last week. Does Alex “The BOAT” Boatman need to brush up his resume and apply to join the coaching staff as a special teams assistant?

Portland State’s Key Players/Statistics:
The Viking offense runs through their dual threat QB with dual first names, but expect to see a heavy dose of running back Malik Walker, who has 73 rushes for 297 yards and four TDs on the season. Walker is also the fourth leading receiver on the team, with 12 receptions for 39 yards. Receivers Beau Kelly, Darien Chase, and Nate Bennett serve as Alexander’s primary targets, with 81 receptions for 1143 yards and seven TDs between them. Kelly paces the group with 33 catches, 486 yards, and four TDs, a top three receiver in the Big Sky in most statistical categories.

Safety Anthony Adams leads the Portland State defense with two INTs and a fumble recovery, while also registering 21 tackles, good for third on the team. Adams was an All-American in virtually every publication in 2019, received countless 2021 preseason accolades, and is on the watchlist for the Buck Buchanan award alongside Vandal linebacker Tre Walker. Defensive tackle VJ Malo leads the Vikings with five and a half sacks (second in the Big Sky Conference) and eight tackles for loss. Linebacker Parker McKenna leads PSU with 39 total tackles.

Punter Seth Vernon’s 48.2 yard average leads the Big Sky Conference, while his nine punts of 50+ yards is tied for first in the conference.

Key to the Game:
Can the Vandal secondary limit Beau Kelly and the rest of the PSU receivers? The front seven should be able to contain the legs of Alexander and Walker, but can the secondary cover long enough to end drives early and often?

Game Predictions:
Producer Dallas: This is it folks. This is the game the entire season hinges on. After hanging close with top-10 UC Davis, a confident win here could be the momentum needed for Idaho to make a stand in the Big Sky. Or, a loss here could make 3-4 wins the ceiling of this season. Initially, I was going to take PSU in a close one, but the rest of the Tubs team talked me into the Vandals. Portland State has never won in Moscow, and that continues as Idaho gets the 21-20 win.
Boatman: Idaho 31-17
Brian: Idaho 24-17
Chris: Idaho 21-20 [editor’s note: Chris’s prediction came before Producer Dammer’s, who should have made his own unique prediction.]

Big Damm Preview: Game 4 – Idaho vs. #8 UC Davis

Fresh off a narrow victory on the bye week, the Vandals head to California to face former BSU head coach Dan Hawkins and his undefeated UC Davis Aggies, who claim a rare FCS-over-FBS victory after beating Tulsa in the opening week of the season.

Last Game:
Two weeks ago, Idaho was shut out by Oregon State 42-0 on a rainy day in Corvallis.

Last week, UC Davis took down the then-14th ranked Weber State Wildcats 17-14 in Ogden.

Last Meeting:
In the spring season, Idaho jumped out to a 10-0 lead before UC Davis scored the final three touchdowns of the game on their way to a 27-17 victory inside the Kibbie Dome.

Quarterbacks:
WHO IS IT GOING TO BE? Idaho head coach Paul Petrino has decided on a starter, but will not be announcing the starter until the first offensive series this weekend. CJ Jordan got the bulk of the reps against Oregon State, going 7 for 16 with 37 yards and two INTs. Jordan also rushed for a net gain of 55 yards. Mike Beaudry went 6 for 9 with 47 yards in the few series he received. Zach Borisch (#LetBorischThrow) did not register a pass or rush attempt. Have any of the QBs done enough to claim the job outright? For a further breakdown on the quarterback situation, check out Chris Hammond’s statistical breakdown here:

As for the Aggies, they’re in a different type of quarterback quandary. Established QB1 Hunter Rodrigues has played quite well so far, posting a stat line of 72 for 117 (61.5%) with six TDs and just one INT. Rodrigues is also their second leading rusher, with 124 net yards and two TDs on the ground. However, Rodrigues was hurt in the fourth quarter of the win over Weber State and redshirt freshman Miles Hastings stepped in. Hastings went 7 for 9 with 50 yards, and converted both a third down and a fourth down while leading the Aggies to the two yard line. From there, reserve QB/Wildcat Trent Tompkins came in and punched in the TD to finish off the last-minute comeback.
Will Rodrigues be healthy enough to play this week? If Rodrigues is ailing, did Hastings show enough to play until Rodrigues is back to 100%? Will the Aggies trot out Tompkins and run a wildcat/option offense? Much like Idaho’s situation, UC Davis isn’t expected to announce their plans until the game is underway.

Idaho’s Key Players/Statistics:
Coming into conference play, Hayden Hatten leads the team in receiving even after missing the Oregon State game, with 12 receptions for 200 yards and 3 TDs. Terez Traynor (10 catches, 99 yards) and Michael Noil (8 catches, 98 yards) are the only other receivers with more than five receptions. On the ground, CJ Jordan’s 121 net yards and one TD paces the team, while Roshaun Johnson and Elisha Cummings lead the running backs with 91 yards/three TDs and 84 yards/one TD respectively.

Defensively, Tre Walker and Fa’Avae Fa’Avae lead the team with 24 and 22 tackles. Charles Akanno has recovered from his Achilles injury, leading the team with four tackles for loss, and is one of seven Vandals with a sack. Idaho has not forced a fumble this season, but Tyrese Dedmon and Sean McCormick each have an interception.

Caleb Lightbourn is off to a great start replacing friend of Tubs (and Idaho legend) Cade Coffey, averaging 48.3 yards per punt.

UC Davis’s Key Players/Statistics:
The Aggie offense runs through former All-Big Sky Conference running back Ulonzo Gilliam Jr., who has rushed for 361 net yards and four TDs on the year, while also receiving 69 yards [editor’s note: nice] and a TD. Former All-Big Sky Conference receiver Jared Harrell leads the receiving core with 19 receptions for 289 yards and two TDs, while 2021 Spring All-Big Sky Conference first-team tight end McCallen Castles has 10 receptions for 160 yards and three TDs. 2021 Preseason All-Big Sky Conference center Connor Pettek anchors the offensive line.

2021 Preseason All-Big Sky Conference defensive back Jordan Perryman leads a secondary filled with ball-hawks, as the Aggies have 16 pass breakups and 10 interceptions in four games. Bryce Rodgers (who has too many All-Big Sky commendations to comfortably list here) leads the front seven with 2.5 sacks, four QB hurries, and a fumble recovery.

Lastly, it wouldn’t be Tubs at The Club without mentioning Daniel Whelan, the Aggie punter who edged out Coffey for first-team All-Big Sky honors last season and received most major preseason FCS accolades this year.

Key to the Game:
It would be easy to say Idaho’s starting QB has to play well, so we’ll go a different direction. Regardless of who UC Davis trots out at QB, can the Idaho secondary make strides from the matchup in the spring? Rodrigues completed almost 80% of his throws in the Kibbie Dome, and that number will have to be considerably lower this time around for the Vandals to have a chance.

Game Predictions:
Producer Dallas: UC Davis just got through the toughest part of their schedule, winning on the road against an FBS school that went bowling last season, as well as knocking off four-time defending Big Sky Conference champions Weber State in Ogden. This is one of the most talented teams in the nation, led by a head coach I’ll begrudgingly admit is very good when he’s not starting his son at QB. No matter who takes snaps for Idaho, I just don’t see Idaho scoring enough to keep up. UC Davis wins, 27-14.
Boatman: UC Davis 34-24
Brian: UC Davis 38-17
Chris: UC Davis 30-20

Big Damm Preview: Game 3 – Idaho vs. Oregon State

One body bag game down, one to go! Idaho heads to Corvallis, Oregon for a face-off with the Oregon State Beavers.

Last Game:
The Vandals went down to Bloomington, Indiana for their first ever game against the Indiana Hoosiers. Indiana went up 35-0 on their way to a 56-14 victory.

Oregon State hosted Hawaii and led from start to finish, winning 45-27.

Last Meeting:
Oregon State shut out Idaho 38-0 in 2006 and have won 16 of the last 17 matchups in the series, with Idaho’s last win coming in 1984.

Quarterbacks:
For Idaho, it was the Mike Beaudry show as the senior took almost every snap behind center while posting a stat line of 23 for 36 (63.9%), 196 yards, and two TDs. CJ Jordan threw three passes and had one rush for five yards between two drives. Zach Borisch (#LetBorischThrow) ran twice with the read option and lost one yard.
Idaho’s plan was to use the first three games as a quarterback competition – with two games down, has Beaudry taken the lead? Or, will CJ Jordan receive the bulk of the snaps against the Beavers as the contest winds down? Will we ever see Borisch throw? [editor’s note: If you ask the Tubs team, we all believe CJ will get the vast majority of the snaps this week.]

Oregon State has taken a long and windy road to current starter Chance Nolan. Incumbent starter Tristan Gebbia injured a hamstring against Oregon last season and has yet to fully recover. 2020 All-Pac-12 second team QB Sam Noyer transferred in from Colorado over the summer and started in the Beavers’ season-opening loss to Purdue, but went just 10 for 21 with 94 yards and an interception before being replaced in the third quarter by Nolan. Nolan, who started three games last season after Gebbia’s injury, received the start last week against Hawaii and went 21 for 29 with 302 yards and two TDs.

Idaho’s Key Players/Statistics:
The Vandals managed just 261 yards of offense against the Hoosiers. Hayden Hatten was yet again the focal point of the Idaho offense, with ten receptions for 94 yards and two TDs. Terez Traynor had a pair of snags for 36 yards, while Cutrell Haywood made his first appearance of the season with two catches for 16 yards. Elisha Cummings led the running backs with seven carries, while Nick Romano led the team in rushing with 20 yards.

Idaho’s defense was led by Tre Walker’s 16 total tackles, followed closely by Fa’Avae Fa’Avae’s 11. Noah Elliss continued to break out, leading the defensive linemen with six tackles. Charles Akanno threw it back to 2019 with a sack and three tackles for loss, and Nate DeGraw also added a sack.

Special teams struggled against Indiana, with two blocked punts (one returned for a touchdown) and plenty of head shakes from Tubs at the Club’s special teams coordinator Alex Boatman. Outside of the blocks, Caleb Lightbourn (former Oregon State Beaver) averaged over 50 yards per punt with two punts pinned inside the 20.

Oregon State’s Key Players/Statistics:
Yes, this section is for players and statistics, but this article can’t be written without mention of Beaver head coach Jonathan Smith and offensive coordinator Brian Lindgren. Smith was the Idaho quarterbacks coach from 2004-2009 under Nick Holt, Dennis Erickson, and Robb Akey, before departing after the 2009 Humanitarian Bowl victory. Lindgren was the Vandal starting quarterback from 2001-2003 and co-owns Idaho’s record for touchdown passes in a game with six. [editor’s note: Lindgren is frequently mentioned on the Tubs at the Club wishlist for next Idaho head coach after Paul Petrino.]

The Beaver offense currently leads the Pac-12 with 460 yards per game, bolstered by the top passing attack in the conference. 2020 All-Pac-12 first teamer Nathan Eldridge and 2020 All-Pac-12 second teamer Joshua Gray block up front for Nolan, while eight different receivers/tight ends have registered multiple receptions so far, led by Trevon Bradford’s 11 catches for 154 yards, and Anthony Gould’s eight catches for 127 yards. B.J. Baylor heads the rushing game, with 27 carries for 197 yards and five TDs on the season.

Defensively, Oregon State is led by All-Pac-12 linebacker Avery Roberts with 22 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, and a sack. Andrezj Hughes-Murray leads the Beavers with two sacks. Defensive backs Alex Austin, Jaydon Grant, and linebacker Riley Sharp all have an interception on the season.

Key to the Game:
Come out firing, score on the first few possessions, and avoid the special teams gaffes.

Game Predictions:
Producer Dallas: I don’t think anyone is expecting a win or even a close game, but I wouldn’t expect Oregon State to jump out to a 35-0 lead like Indiana did. If the Vandals can score a few times early, they might be able to hang for a bit. Ultimately though, the depth of a Pac-12 school will be too much to overcome, and Oregon State wins 48-17.
Boatman: OSU by 3.5 scores
Brian: OSU 45-24
Chris: OSU 45-20