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UI readies for another running threat at QB

| October 9, 2021 1:05 AM

Today, Portland State at Idaho, ESPN+, 92.5 FM

From staff reports and news services

When UC Davis scored two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to overtake Idaho 27-20 last week, it was the Aggies' "running" quarterback doing the damage

Trent Thompkins guided the Aggies on a pair of TD drives, partly with his running, partly with his legs setting up throws.

Idaho coach Paul Petrino said the Vandals were ready for that, admitting that "we obviously didn’t do a good job defending it."

Idaho is preparing for more of the same this week, when Portland State visits the Vandals for homecoming today in the Kibbie Dome.

Portland State quarterback Davis Alexander has thrown for 1,405 yards and eight touchdowns (with six interceptions), but has also run for two TDs for the Vikings (2-3, 1-1 Big Sky).

"It all starts with their quarterback — it seems like he’s been there forever," Petrino said. "He runs around the whole game, he runs around and extends plays, and makes them both throwing the ball down the field, and intermediate (throwing), and running."

Idaho (1-3, 1-1) is looking to bounce back from a loss in its winnable conference opener, where the Vandals failed to add to their lead, and ultimately gave up the lead and the game.

"I think a lot of it is, in the fourth quarter, you have to step up and make plays, whether it be on offense or defense," said Petrino, who described the loss as a "gut punch."

Idaho will be down to two of its three regular quarterbacks for the next couple of weeks or so, as freshman CJ Jordan is out with a shoulder injury suffered early in the UC Davis game.

Mike Beaudry will get the start, but there is a package for Idaho's run-first quarterback, converted running back Zach Borisch.

Petrino said he has even more uses for Borisch that he intentionally didn't show in the Vandals' nonconference games.

"I wanted to save as much as possible (for the Big Sky games), and there’s still some we haven’t shown," Petrino said.

Petrino said they stayed late at practice Sunday night so freshman Gevani McCoy could get some reps as Idaho's No. 3 quarterback.

Today's game will be the second trip to the Palouse this year for the Vikings, who lost 44-24 at Washington State on Sept. 11.

PSU has wins against Western Oregon and Southern Utah and losses to WSU, Montana State and Hawaii. Malik Walker leads to PSU rushing attack with 297 yards rushing, and three players have over 295 yards receiving so far this season. Parker McKenna has a team-high 39 tackles while VJ Malo has eight tackles-for-loss and 5.5 sacks already this year.

The Vandals are back home for the first time since the Sept. 4 season opener, a 68-0 win over Simon Fraser. It starts a stretch of four home games in five weeks, with the lone road game next Saturday at Cheney vs. Eastern Washington.

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