Indiana Daily Student

The Other Sideline: Meet Idaho before its game against Indiana football in Bloomington

<p>Graduate student running back Stephen Carr runs with the ball druing the game against the University of Iowa Sept. 4, 2021, in Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City, Iowa. Indiana will play the University of Idaho for the first time Sept. 11, 2021, in Bloomington.</p>

Graduate student running back Stephen Carr runs with the ball druing the game against the University of Iowa Sept. 4, 2021, in Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City, Iowa. Indiana will play the University of Idaho for the first time Sept. 11, 2021, in Bloomington.

The Other Sideline is a weekly segment where the Indiana Daily Student interviews a student reporter from Indiana football’s weekend opponent. The questions and answers have been edited for clarity and brevity.

After suffering a 34-6 defeat tied for its worst season-opening loss since 1957, Indiana football is preparing to take on the Idaho University Vandals on Saturday in week two.

The Vandals are 1-0 after defeating Division II team Simon Fraser University 68-0. Idaho, a Football Championship Subdivision school, heads to Bloomington to play its first of two games this season against Power 5 schools. 

Ahead of the matchup, the Indiana Daily Student talked to Teren Kowatsch of the Argonaut to preview what the matchup may look like. 

IDS: What did Idaho learn from its week one victory?

Kowatsch: Coming into the season there were a lot of questions about what the Vandals would be. The quarterback competition, sophomore Zach Borisch, graduate student Mike Beaudry and freshman CJ Jordan, it was just a question of what this team would be. 

Obviously, you have to keep it in perspective because Simon Fraser is a Canadian football team that hadn’t played organized football in two years and was practicing in Canadian Football League rules throughout that time, but it was a very good statement game for the Vandal team.

IDS: How does Idaho reset knowing it's going from playing a DII team to a Power 5 team?

Kowatsch: From the player interviews with junior running back Roshaun Johnson and head coach Paul Petrino, they seem to be keeping the win in perspective. 68-0 is impressive no matter what level it is, but it’s also, again, a team that hasn’t played organized football in two years. 

Going from that to a Big Ten team in Indiana is going to be a huge jump from the team they played before. I think they’re trying to make sure they stay even-keeled and don’t get too high on  the win. 

IDS: How does Idaho view playing Indiana specifically?

Kowatsch: The way Petrino was laying it out in his interview was they’re trying to use every single game between now and their conference opener against the University of California, Davis as an opportunity to learn. 

The quarterback competition is still in question, so there’s going to be a lot of things even if they lose or if they win they need to learn from. Indiana specifically, I don’t know what Idaho’s game plan is against them, but I do know they’re viewing that game as a way to learn and grow and prepare for when they’re finally in conference games.

IDS: What are Idaho’s strongest position groups?

Kowatsch: The defensive line and the running game. On offense, they were flying when it came to Simon Fraser for Idaho. They gave five running backs the ball and all of them scored except for one. Jordan, the quarterback, had a 21-yard touchdown run up the gut. Running the football is where this offense begins and ends. 

On defense, Simon Fraser couldn’t stop the defensive line. Junior linebacker Tre Walker and junior defensive lineman Noah Elliss are just incredible.

IDS: What does Idaho need to do to beat Indiana?

Kowatsch: Just hold to its game plan as long as it can. With Idaho, you’re already dealing with a quarterback competition, so you’re not going to get a lot of consistency with constantly swapping quarterbacks around. Whoever they start, if it works you have to stay with it. 

They have options at running back, they have options at quarterback, but they need to stick with their game plan, which I think is going to be run, run, run, run, run. On defense, they need to win in the trenches. It’s going to be very hard for the Indiana quarterback if the pocket keeps collapsing or if the run game can’t get off the ground.

IDS: What’s your final score prediction?

Kowatsch: It’s difficult to say because Idaho hasn’t in recent years had the best record against FBS teams. I would say Indiana wins just because week to week they’re against much better competition than the Vandals are. I’ll say 51-31, Indiana.

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