The first “Battle of the Palouse” since 2007 ended much like the previous seven match-ups as Washington State and their defense proved to be too much for the young Idaho football team as the Cougars rolled to a 42-0 win over the Vandals at Martin Stadium this past Saturday.
“I thought our defense played pretty hard all game” said Idaho coach Paul Petrino. “They obviously made a bunch of plays on us but we didn’t take advantage when the defense did make plays. Offensively we just took turns killing ourselves.”
Despite some strong defensive play by Idaho on Washington State’s first two drives, the Cougars would strike first, scoring a 43-yard touchdown from QB Connor Halliday to WR Gabe Marks following forcing Idaho’s Josh McCain to throw an interception, giving them the ball on the Idaho 47.
Following the initial Washington State score, the teams spent the rest of the first quarter trading punts till Idaho’s D’Mario Carter was able to intercept Halliday to give the Vandals the ball and some momentum.
Unfortunately, Idaho wasn’t able to take advantage of the turnover and was forced to punt it. Washington State’s offense and defense would awaken in the second, scoring 21 points and forcing Idaho RB Kristoffer Olugbode to fumble the ball taking a 28-0 lead into the half.
The third quarter brought with it a resurgent Vandal defense as Idaho forced turnovers on WSU’s first three drives of the half, two fumbles recovered by Maxx Forde and an interception by Christian Whitehead. Sadly, in all three instances, the Vandals were unable to make any use of the momentum, gaining only 15 total yards in the three drives. The Cougars would score on a 13-yard run by RB Jeremiah Laufasa towards the end of the quarter to give WSU a 35 point advantage with 2:17 left in the quarter. Idaho was able to drive the field on a 52-yard drive, but came up short on a field goal attempt.
Laufasa added on another touchdown with 8:15 left in the game. Idaho’s final drive of the game, which lasted 7:42, was the most productive of the game as the Vandals gained 82 yards. Much like the rest of the game, Idaho found themselves outmatched as WSU made a goal-line stand to preserve their shut-out.
Idaho QB Chad Chalich was 17 of 23 passing for 167 yards with no touchdowns and Josh McCain ended the game with one completed pass for seven yards and -31 yards rushing. WR Dezmon Epps led the Vandals in receptions, catching six passes for 37 yards, while RB James Baker rushed for 43 yards on 11 carries. The Vandals as a whole gained 253 yards of total offense, the second under 300 yard offense game for Idaho in four games.
WSU’s win marks the 71st win in the history of the rivalry and the first shut-out since 2003.
The Vandals, whose 0-4 start is the fifth instance since 2000, return to the Kibbie Dome next Saturday when they host Temple for Homecoming.