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After Idaho won just one game this fall in his first season as coach, Paul Petrino saw a number of holes on the Vandals' roster. He took a key step in filling a few of them today with the signing of eight junior-college players — two defensive tackles, two offensive linemen, two linebackers and two defensive backs.
" … Those are all places that we felt like we had needs and needed to improve," Petrino said. "I think it was a really good job by the whole staff in going out and finding guys that we feel like can fit the system and are good guys and can come in here and can compete right away."
We have all the details below, as well as a few notes and quotes from Petrino on each signee.
Austin Rehkow keeps adding All-America honors after a superb freshman season punting for Idaho. We have an update on Rehkow's postseason awards and other Idaho football news below — including a note on the start of the junior-college signing period on Wednesday.
Idaho freshman Austin Rehkow, who starred at Central Valley High, was selected as a first-team punter on the Walter Camp All-America team on Thursday. Rehkow, the nation's leader in punting average this season at 47.8 yards, became just one of eight freshmen to be honored on the Camp first-team in its 124-year history.
“It’s definitely an honor to be recognized as such,” Rehkow said in an an Idaho press release. “It’s a pretty cool thing.”
Rehkow set Idaho's single-season punting record, surpassing T.J. Conley’s 2008 average of 47.4 yards per punt. Conley, a senior in 2008, also was a Camp All-American. Rehkow garnered numerous weekly national awards this fall, including the Ray Guy Award Punter of the Week.
Austin Rehkow plays football for the University of Idaho. And he may soon play basketball for the Vandals, too. Rehkow, a freshman punter and kicker, will spend the next week to 10 days with the UI basketball team and then decide if he wants to become a hoops walk-on.
For the second time in the first month of the season, Idaho small forward Stephen Madison has been named WAC Player of the Week. And he wasn't the only Vandal feted on Monday — freshman kicker/punter Austin Rehkow hauled in a national award for FBS independent schools after he capped a remarkable freshman season with a big day on Saturday in a loss to New Mexico State.
All the details are below.
Paul Petrino's first season at Idaho ended on a familiar note, with more frustration and another loss. Idaho failed to score touchdowns in five chances inside New Mexico State's 20-yard line in a 24-16 loss to the Aggies at Memorial Stadium. The Vandals finished the year 1-11 after NMSU beat an FBS team for the first time since 2011.
The Vandals had a chance to tie the game in the final seconds, but Taylor Davis' fourth-down pass at the 19 sailed out of the end zone as the clock expired. Earlier in the fourth quarter, Davis had a pass intercepted that UI believed was a catch by Dezmon Epps (it was reviewed and upheld), and the Vandals dropped two surefire TD catches in the end zone before that.
Asked about his team's red-zone woes, Petrino said: "Yeah, that’s ridiculous. Two of the drives (we) just dropped wide-open touchdowns."
Idaho lost seven straight to close the season after its win over Temple on Sept. 28. After winning 14 games in 2009 and 2010, UI is 4-32 in the last three seasons — with at least 10 losses each year.
What's the difference between 1-11 and 2-10? In five years, it won't seem like much to Idaho and New Mexico State. But for the Vandals who want to shed a six-game losing streak and head into Paul Petrino's first full offseason with positive vibes, today's game at New Mexico State definitely means something.
The Vandals and Aggies meet this afternoon in Las Cruces at 12:30 PST, and both teams will try to squeeze some joy out of the final week of what's been a trying season for each program.
Florida State got the lopsided victory it expected. Idaho will get the paycheck it signed up for.
The second-ranked Seminoles bludgeoned the Vandals 80-14 on Saturday afternoon at Doak Campbell Stadium, moving their record to 11-0. UI (1-10) allowed the second-most points in school history, just behind the 84 points it gave up to Washington State in 1975.
In today's paper, I wrote about the shifting revenue streams for Idaho's athletic department and the increasingly important role of money games, like today's at Florida State. The Vandals are getting a princely sum — $950,000, the biggest payout in school history — to play the No. 2 Seminoles today (12:30 p.m., ESPNU). But there's a contingent of UI fans — and perhaps players, too — who don't think the huge amount of money is worth risking injuries and embarrassment on national TV.
Vandals athletic director Rob Spear had some interesting thoughts on this topic that I explored in the story. And I have more from Spear below.
The two biggest rivalry games for the Idaho basketball team will be on regional TV networks, and the Vandals' second-to-last football game of the season — Saturday at No. 2 Florida State — will be on ESPNU. Idaho is a 57-point underdog to the Seminoles, who are in line to play for the national championship if they win out.
We have a mix of Vandals basketball and football news to pass along — check it out after the jump.
It was more of the same for the Idaho football team this afternoon — a fifth straight loss, and another blowout to boot. Meanwhile, the UI men's basketball team gave 1,326 fans a taste of what might be in a 67-63 win over Western Illinois in its season opener.
We have our unedited game stories we filed from the Kibbie Dome and Memorial Gym on a busy Saturday afternoon/evening after the jump.
The Idaho football team plays its final home game this afternoon (vs. Old Dominion at 2 p.m.), just as the Idaho men's basketball team begins its season with a home game (vs. Western Illinois at 7 p.m.).
We have quick previews of both games below.
A fumble on their first possession. Missed tackles all over the field. Dropped passes. Two personal fouls early in the game. That's a sample of the self-inflicted wounds from the Vandals in a 37-21 loss to Texas State on Saturday. But even with all the mistakes, the Vandals were competitive with the Bobcats — until things started to go haywire in the second half.
We've got our recap below.
Consecutive trips to the South, sandwiched around a bye, are behind the Idaho football team. Now it gets to back-to-back games in the Kibbie Dome to wrap up its home season, starting this afternoon with Texas State at 2.
It's Dad's Weekend in Moscow, and we've got our usual gameday preview after the jump.
The Idaho football team had its first full practice in preparation for Texas State, and we've got notes to share with you after the jump. The Vandals (1-7) host the Bobcats (5-3) on Saturday at 2 p.m. at the Kibbie Dome. Texas State, a Sun Belt team that easily handled Idaho last year in San Marcos, is a 10-point favorite.
Idaho is preparing to host Texas State on Saturday afternoon, and it's building its game plan around senior Taylor Davis at quarterback, Vandals coach Paul Petrino said Monday. Davis, the Vandals' third-string QB to open the year, started for the first time last week in a 59-14 loss at Ole Miss after Chad Chalich and Josh McCain were sidelined with shoulder injuries. Petrino said there's been no change to Chalich or McCain's status. McCain has missed the last two games, while Chalich — who started the first six games — was hurt on the second series of Idaho's Oct. 12 loss at Arkansas State.
There were promising moments here and there Saturday night for the Idaho football team, which briefly made its game at Ole Miss interesting in the second quarter before bowing out, 59-14. The Vandals fell to 1-7 and lost their 27th consecutive game to traditional BCS schools, a streak that stretches back to 2000.
Down 17-7 midway through the second quarter, Idaho drove to the Rebels' 8-yard line with third-string quarterback Taylor Davis under center and had a 27-yard field goal attempt to draw within a touchdown. But Austin Rehkow's kick bounced off the right upright and Ole Miss rattled off 21 unanswered points to pull away.
Davis was 12-of-30 passing for 166 yards in his first start this season. He completed just 36 percent of his passes two weeks ago after replacing Chad Chalich (shoulder) against Arkansas State.
After a bye week, the Vandals are back in the South. They played at Arkansas State two weeks ago, and now they're taking on a significantly better team from a significantly better conference.
Read on for our Idaho-Ole Miss preview.
When the Idaho Vandals meet Ole Miss on Saturday (4:30 p.m. PDT, ESPN3), it will be their second trip to face an SEC team in the last two seasons — and their 30th game against a traditional BCS conference team since 2000. They've won just one of those matchups (vs. Washington State in 2000). And since beating the Cougars 38-34 at Martin Stadium in Tom Cable's first year, Idaho has dropped 26 straight games against BCS teams. That equates to a 1-28 record over the last 14 seasons.
We've got a season-by-season look at UI's games against major conference competition since 2000 after the jump.
Update: As several readers have mentioned, Temple, a team Idaho beat earlier this year, is now a BCS AQ team. But this analysis still stands for traditional BCS conference teams.
Idaho quarterbacks Chad Chalich and Josh McCain were observers at practice on Wednesday, both out with shoulder injuries and watching from the sideline in shorts and their jerseys. In their absence, Taylor Davis took the first-team reps, with true freshman Matt Linehan behind him. And if those two healthy QBs were to go down, the Vandals would apparently be out of options for a full-time QB who could run the offense. Coach Paul Petrino said UI doesn't have a third-string QB on its depth chart as it prepares to play at Mississippi on Saturday (4:30 p.m. PDT, ESPN3).
We have more Idaho practice notes after the jump, and short Q&As with Petrino and defensive coordinator Ronnie Lee.