Idaho is coming off their first win of the season, a 41-38 nail-biter over FCS Wofford that wasn't sealed until the final minute of the game when Idaho was able to get into the all-too-rare Victory Formation to run out the clock.
This week Idaho faces one of the top teams in the Sun Belt Conference when Georgia Southern makes their first ever trip to the Palouse. Events at and around the game include Dad's Weekend, Ag Days, and the Moscow Chamber of Commerce Block Party. With Idaho coming off a win, the caliber of opponent, and events a solid showing is anticipated anticipated.
This is the third meeting all-time between the schools -- they met in the 1AA Playoffs in 1990 in a game GSU won 28-27, and then last year Idaho fell to the Eagles 47-28 in Georgia. What to expect Saturday from the guests? The Eagles are a pound-it-out on the ground offense with speed to burn and a defense that has been stingy the last two weeks.
For an Idaho victory the Vandal offense is going to have to be prepared to score big Saturday night (kickoff at 6:00pm PT, live on ESPN3). Defensively Idaho has given up 47.3 points per game this year in three games; two at home against Ohio (45) and Wofford (38), and on the road at USC (59). They've shown signs of becoming a more consistent unit, but big plays by opposing offenses continue to be their Achilles heel.
For Georgia Southern, after getting blanked in the season opener by West Virginia 44-0, they've scored over 40 in each of their last two contests; winning 43-17 at home against Western Michigan of the MAC, and last week routing The Citadel (FCS) 48-13 also at home.
The Vandal offense needs to build on the overall performance from Saturday when multiple athletes made a splash; Trent Cowan becoming a key part of the offense from his new tightend position, Aaron Duckworth giving Idaho a second option at tailback in the redzone behind starter Elijhaa Penny, Dezmon Epps continuing to be the lightning bolt and playmaker he is with the ball, and Matt Linehan going for over 300 yards through the air. Defensively, Idaho has to find a way to contain the big plays. They are still breaking in new Defensive Coordinator Mike Breske's schemes, but they have shown a vulnerability to give up huge chunks of yards in a single play despite playing impressive defense at times.
The Eagles will pose a huge test for Idaho this week on both sides of the ball.