It’s easy to imagine Idaho football coach Paul Petrino knocking on wood and crossing his fingers as he answered a question about player health at his weekly news conference Tuesday.
As of that moment, Idaho is fully healthy heading into Week 2. The Vandals are set to face Indiana at 4:30 p.m. PDT Saturday in Bloomington, Ind.
It’s a far cry — thus far — from UI’s spring season in which injuries and COVID-19 cases reigned supreme.
“As of right now, we have everybody,” Petrino said. “But in this new world we live in, that’s kind of day by day.”
That “everybody” includes previously absent star receiver Cutrell Haywood. The senior didn’t play in Idaho’s 68-0 win against Simon Fraser, but is set to see the field against the Hoosiers.
“He missed a lot of practice for different reasons — some personal, some injury,” Petrino said. “Now, he’s been back for the last couple weeks, been at practice every day, so moving forward he should be good.”
Petrino consistently has said that he’ll play all three quarterbacks — freshman CJ Jordan, senior Mike Beaudry and sophomore Zach Borisch — through UI’s first three games. That’s still the case, the coach said.
Ungerer unleashes in CFL
Treston Decoud, say hello to David Ungerer.
Ungerer, a former Idaho and Pullman High School football player, did his best Derrick Henry impression Monday.
A receiver for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the CFL, Ungerer caught a pass near the sideline, stiff-armed the Toronto Argonauts defensive back straight into the turf and dove across the goal line for a go-ahead touchdown in the second quarter.
Hamilton beat Toronto 32-19.
Ungerer, who played for the Vandals from 2014-18 and earned Big Sky Conference third-team honors as a senior, finished the day with two catches for 30 yards and a touchdown. He’s in his second season with the Tiger-Cats.
Former UI teammate Jeff Cotton of the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars’ practice squad gave Ungerer a shoutout on Twitter, where the play has been viewed almost 10,000 times.
“Ok Deuce GET BUSY!!!” Cotton posted on the social media platform.
Big week in the Big Sky
While Idaho was busy beating up on an NCAA Division II school from Canada, much of the rest of the Big Sky was busy beating up their big brothers in the Football Bowl Subdivision.
There was no bigger case of that than Montana’s 13-7 upset of No. 20 Washington — a win Grizzlies coach Bobby Hauck called the biggest of his career.
If Idaho is to give Indiana the Montana treatment, the Grizzlies’ game offers a great blueprint.
“I think we gotta do similar to what they did,” Petrino said. “It’d be nice if they had all their starting receivers out like Washington did — that would help. But I think you gotta get turnovers. Montana played great defense the whole game, got three turnovers in key situations.”
In total, the Big Sky grabbed three wins against the FBS last week. UC Davis knocked off Tulsa 19-17 and Eastern Washington defeated UNLV 35-33 in double overtime. In another game, Wyoming barely held on to beat Montana State, 19-16.
“It’s a real tough league,” Petrino said. “I think there’s five teams right now ranked in the Top 12 in the country (in the FCS).
“There’s a lot of good teams, each week is going to be a dogfight and you’ve got to show up ready to play and compete. It should be a heck of a league to watch for the fans.”
Wiebe may be contacted at (208) 848-2260, firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @StephanSports.