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UI does little right in border beatdown

So much for the positive vibes after last week, when Idaho almost took down Northern Illinois. The Vandals were whitewashed in Pullman by Washington State, 42-0. It was the Cougars' first shutout since they held Idaho scoreless in 2003. And it was the first time Idaho was shut out since Week 5 a year ago against North Carolina.

We've got quotes, notes and our story to pass along. And if you want a rundown of the heated exchange between Paul Petrino and Mike Leach, Christian Caple has the details here.


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With how thoroughly Washingon State's defensive line dominated Idaho up front, the last few minutes were fitting. Idaho had its best chance to score, getting down to the 1-yard line after a pass interference, roughing the passer and unsportsmanlike penality on WSU coach Mike Leach.

But the Vandals couldn't move the pile, and they couldn't score.

“They were beating us up front,” center Mike Marboe said. “If you can’t move people up front, you can’t move the ball.”

Here's our story about the domination up front and Idaho's first-half woes:

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PULLMAN – Their quarterback rotation backfired. Their injury-ravaged defense provided little resistance to Washington State's passing attack. And their special teams looked wobbly – again.

For as sharp as the Idaho Vandals were in the first half last week in a near-upset of Northern Illinois, they looked bewildered and outmatched in the opening 30 minutes in Saturday's 42-0 loss to the Cougars.

What went wrong for Idaho in the first half? In a word, everything.

The Vandals (0-4) piled up eight penalties, most of which were procedural. Josh McCain threw across his body into double coverage for UI's first interception of the season, which set up the Cougs' second TD. And Kris Olugbode's fumble late in the second quarter – after three penalties put Idaho in a third-and-27 – gave WSU the ball at Idaho's 20.

On the next play, Connor Halliday found Vince Mayle to make it 21-0.

The turnovers hurt, but coach Paul Petrino said the Vandals' offensive problems boiled down to one thing: an inability to protect up front.

“We weren’t blocking good enough,” the first-year coach said. “They did a good job of defeating blocks and they tackled well. There’s not a whole bunch to analyze — they kicked our butt.”

Idaho starting QB Chad Chalich completed his first six passes and was 17 of 23 for 167 yards. But McCain was ineffective from the start. In addition to his INT, he recovered his own fumble and took a 17-yard sack early in the second half.

The combination of Chalich and McCain was lethal versus NIU, particularly early when Idaho jumped out to a 28-14 lead. But playing against the much quicker Washington State defense, UI's read option was snuffed out and they often went backward because of penalties.

“They were beating us up front,” center Mike Marboe said. “If you can’t move people up front, you can’t move the ball.”

If the offensive woes weren't enough, the Vandals played without three starters on defense because of injury: cornerback Solomon Dixon, defensive end Quinton Bradley and safety Trey Williams.

The loss of half of their starting secondary especially stung – Dixon's replacement, Delency Parham, was called for pass interference in the first half and was repeatedly burned. He was replaced after halftime by Christian Whitehead.

Safety D'Mario Carter, starting in place of Williams, came up with a first-half interception of Halliday. But he took a bad angle on the Cougars' first touchdown, a 43-yard strike to Gabe Marks, and later lost Mayle on a crossing route in the end zone that resulted in a TD.

Despite the lapses by the secondary, Petrino was pleased with the defense's effort.

“I thought I thought our defense did a good job all game,” he said. “Obviously they had some plays on us, but we didn’t take advantage of when the defense did play well. We just took turns killing ourselves on offense.”

Special teams also haunted the Vandals. On their first possession, they converted a fake punt pass – but Aaron Lazaro was called for a false start and the Vandals opted to punt.

Idaho again had misadventures in punt return coverage, usually on low line-drive punts from Rehkow. And its kick returners made questionable decisions taking the ball out of the end zone.

It all added up to a miserable night for the Vandals in their first border battle with WSU since 2007.

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Finally, here are a couple notebook items that are Vandal related:

Idaho's Forde opportunistic

Idaho defensive end Maxx Forde, who almost followed in his father's footsteps by playing at WSU, had a production – and opportunistic – night against the Cougs.

The junior had two fumble recoveries and was in on Idaho's lone sack of the first half, which was credited to QuayShawne Buckley.

Forde's father, Brian, was a standout linebacker at WSU. And he was set to join the Cougs before switching to the Vandals on signing day.

Vandals can't capitalize on turnovers

Idaho didn't have a problem prying the ball loose on defense. But when it came to capitalizing on WSU's turnovers, the Vandals came up empty.

The Vandals picked off Halliday twice and recovered two fumbles. After each turnover, they either had to punt or couldn't convert on fourth down.

Idaho came into Saturday last in the nation in lost fumbles, with eight. And the mistakes continued against WSU – Kris Olugbode fumbled late in the first half to set up an easy TD from the Cougs, and WSU quickly responded with a score after Josh McCain's first-quarter interception.

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And here are some miscellany quotes:

PAUL PETRINO

— Overall thoughts: “They just kicked our butt. They beat us. You’ve got to give them credit. They did a good job; we didn’t do a good job — that’s kind of what it came down to.

— On WSU's defense: “They were doing a better job. We weren’t blocking good enough. They did a good job of defeating blocks and they tackled well. There’s not a whole bunch to analyze — they kicked our butt.”

— On UI's defensive effort: “I thought defense actually played pretty hard all game. I thought our defense did a good job all game. Obviously they had some plays on us, but we didn’t take advantage of when the defense did play well. We just took turns killing ourselves on offense. 
We didn’t do a good job coaching, we didn’t do a good job playing. That’s the bottom line.”

— On whether it was a step back for the offense “We have to watch the tape, but that’s what it looked like. We have to take a couple big steps next week.”

— On Chad Chalich: “I don’t know if you can say anyone played real well when you lose that by much.”

— On offensive line: “They got whooped. Their guys beat our guys.”

— On the Cougs' speed up front: “I think it was probably more physical. They were physical and kind of just threw us around and got after us.”

MIKE MARBOE

— On offense's struggles: “We just got outplayed, outschemed. … It gave us a lot to work on next week.”

— On whether WSU was more physical than he thought: “No. Some of their schemes were better than we were expecting.”



  


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