Idaho coach Paul Petrino’s biggest theme of his team’s nonconference schedule has been that his guys will get chances to showcase their stuff.
That was the case against NCAA Division II Simon Fraser and remains the plan when the Vandals kickoff at 4:30 p.m. PDT today against the Indiana Hoosiers in Bloomington (Big Ten Network).
The Hoosiers are coming off a 34-6 letdown against No. 10 Iowa, while the Vandals are coming off a 68-0 beatdown of SFU.
“They were a Top 10 team in the country preseason, they’re still that same team, just their quarterback just struggled in that first game with some turnovers,” Petrino said. “You still game plan, you work hard all week and (try to) find a way to win.”
Idaho might have some extra confidence going into this lopsided matchup, not because of their demolition of SFU but because the Big Sky had some big-time upsets in Week 1 — Montana, Eastern Washington and UC Davis all beat Football Bowl Subdivision opponents.
“Some of the teams that upset some big schools this past week — it looks like you gotta play real good defense and get some turnovers,” Petrino said.
Petrino remains coy about his quarterback thoughts outside of saying he’ll continue to play the two vying for the starting job — senior Mike Beaudry and freshman CJ Jordan — as well as sophomore Zach Borisch in package situations.
Beaudry is the most experienced and showed some poise and smart decision making against SFU, but Jordan had a larger collection of dynamic plays. The Portland product rattled off a 21-yard touchdown run and 71-yard touchdown pass to sophomore Hayden Hatten. He also had a pinpoint 48-yard pass play to sophomore Michael Noil.
“I think CJ did a really good job — I really do — but I think we gotta keep moving forward and getting guys better because we’ve seen last year for sure (that) you’ve gotta have as many quarterbacks as you can ready to play. ... There were some things Mike did a lot better too.”
When looking at the Hoosiers, Petrino said he thinks UI’s front seven — where the Vandals feature some of their best players in guys like Tre Walker, Noah Elliss and Charles Akanno — should match up well. But Idaho’s offensive line could struggle.
Indiana defensive end Ryder Anderson (6-foot-6, 266 pounds) explodes off the snap and middle linebacker Micah McFadden (6-2, 232) is an All-American ball hound.
“Offensive line-wise, we just gotta do a good job of communicating and helping each other,” Petrino said.
On offense, the Hoosiers are led by big, fast receivers like 6-2 Ty Fryfogle — a team captain who had five catches for 84 yards in the opener.
The Hoosiers are expecting a big crowd against the Vandals since it’s Indiana’s first home game after a COVID-19 altered season. Capacity at Memorial Stadium is almost 53,000.
The Hoosiers will be eager for a big win after a disappointing performance against Iowa.
Indiana coach Tom Allen said he’s most impressed with UI’s skill position players. He gave a special shoutout to UI fullback Logan Kendall.
“First of all, they do quite a bit on offense and they get a lot of points, get a lot of yards and their skill guys are really talented,” Allen said. “They have really good receivers that just catch the football, and they’ve got big linemen, a huge fullback (Kendall) — 270-plus pounds that’s really an H-back — an All-American at the FCS level.
“They’re just tough, hard-nosed kids that play well together.”
Wiebe may be contacted at (208) 848-2260, firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @StephanSports.