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Hurting Idaho looks to bounce back vs. struggling Montana

| October 23, 2021 1:04 AM

Today, Montana at Idaho, 4:30 p.m., SWX/ESPN+, 92.5 FM

By MARK NELKE

Sports editor

The Little Brown Stein sports a bit of a bruise this week.

The Idaho Vandals (2-4, 1-2 Big Sky) and Montana Grizzlies (4-2, 1-2), who have rekindled their rivalry in recent years with the Vandals' return to the Big Sky, look to bounce back when they collide today at the Kibbie Dome in Moscow.

Idaho is looking to bounce back from last week's 71-21 drubbing by Eastern Washington in Cheney.

Montana, which opened its season with a 13-7 upset victory at Washington (in which the Huskies paid the Griz $675,000), but has lost two of its last three games, including a 28-21 setback at home last week to Sacramento State.

Two weeks earlier, Montana couldn't quite put away Eastern Washington in Cheney, and the Eags stormed back in the fourth quarter to post a 34-28 victory on ESPN2.

No. 11 Montana represents Idaho's third ranked opponent in four games.

Whether Idaho's two top quarterbacks, Mike Beaudry and CJ Jordan, are able to play this week remains to be seen. Both missed last week's beatdown at EWU with shoulder injuries, and Jordan also sat out the week before.

That would again leave the quarterbacking in the hands of converted running back Zach Borisch and true freshman Gevani McCoy.

McCoy showed signs in his first college snaps last week in Cheney, completing a deep pass on his first throw in a college game, and finishing 7 of 14 for 82 yards and two interceptions.

Montana has quarterback issues of its own. Starter Cam Humphrey went down with an injury in the EWU game, and freshman Kris Brown started the last two games, going 58 for 84 for 515 yards and a touchdown.

Thanks to the running of Borisch and a bevy of talented backs, Idaho is third in the Big Sky in total rushing. Montana is No. 1 in the conference in rushing defense.

"I think they're really good in their front seven on defense," Montana coach Bobby Hauck said of Idaho. "They're a little bit hard to get a bead on offensively; they have a lot of offense. I think a lot of it is based on which quarterback they play."

Since Idaho dropped back down to FCS in 2018, Montana has won both meetings with the Vandals — 46-27 in Moscow in 2018, and 42-17 in Missoula in 2019. The teams did not meet in the 2021 spring season, as Montana opted not to play a Big Sky schedule. The Griz played Central Washington and Big Sky team Portland State in a nonleague game, winning both, then called it a spring.

Kale Edwards, who played quarterback and safety at Coeur d'Alene High, is now a defensive end at Montana, playing on special teams. Bryce Erickson, former Lake City High head coach, is the Griz tight ends coach.

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