PULLMAN – Washington State brought a healthy roster into its Week 1 matchup with Idaho.
Only three players listed on the Cougars’ depth chart weren’t suited up when the team took the field for warmups at Gesa Field on Saturday evening.
WSU played without backup left tackle Fa’alili Fa’amoe, and Cooper Mathers and Andre Dollar, both rotational tight ends.
Fa’amoe took some first-team reps at left guard in fall camp, but he was eventually beaten out in a position battle by redshirt freshman Christian Hilborn. Mathers was listed as a co-starter at tight end when WSU released its Week 1 depth chart on Monday. But he was sporting street clothes and had a boot on his foot when the Cougars took the field. Dollar was also tabbed a co-starter at TE ahead of Game 1, but he wasn’t dressed down.
Billy Riviere, a sophomore transfer from North Dakota, became the first tight end to play a snap at WSU in 11 years when he entered the game midway through the first quarter.
The Cougars mostly avoided serious injuries during the preseason. Only two players expected to contribute this year sustained season-ending injuries before the campaign: backup cornerback Kaleb Ford-Dement and reserve outside receiver CJ Moore. The Cougars are awaiting the return of Incarnate Word transfer slot receiver Robert Ferrel, who missed all of fall camp with a foot injury and watched the game from the sideline.
A few key players had been limited throughout fall camp with unspecified issues – edge rusher Ron Stone Jr. among them – but WSU had all of its standout pieces available for the first game of the Jake Dickert era.
A few notable Vandal players were sidelined for the team’s first game under new coach Jason Eck: running backs Nick Romano and Elisha Cummings and linebacker Sully Shannon.
Idaho came into the game with mystery surrounding its starting QB position. The Vandals named three potential starters earlier this week – South Dakota State transfer J’Bore Gibbs and redshirt freshmen Gevani McCoy and CJ Jordan. UI went with McCoy for its opener. The 6-foot, 175-pounder from California appeared in three games last season.
McCoy lobbed an impressive pass early in Saturday’s game, completing a 42-yarder to slot receiver Jermaine Jackson to help the Vandals take a 10-0 lead in the first quarter.
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