Who to look out for as the Cougars take on Idaho at Martin Stadium on Sept. 17

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Opponent Outlook: WSU vs. Idaho

Martin Stadium, Pullman.

Coach/record: Paul Petrino (7-30 at Idaho – fourth season)

Record: 1-1

Early line: WSU by 27 1/2

Last week: Idaho got steamrolled 59-14 by UW as Huskies quarterback Jake Browning tied the school’ single game record with five touchdown passes. The Vandals used three quarterbacks in the debacle in Seattle, with backup Gunnar Amos throwing the only passing touchdown of the game in what amounted to fourth quarter garbage time and the Huskies up 49-7. Mason Petrino, Vandals coach Paul Petrino’s son and the third string QB, led Idaho in rushing, but that doesn’t say much because he had nine carries for 48 yards.

Star Players:

QB Matt Linehan, the son of Dallas Cowboys’ offensive coordinator, Scott Linehan, had a long afternoon last against the Huskies last weekend and he couldn’t get much through UW’s ferocious defense, completing 19-of-29 passes for 187 yards and a touchdown. Linehan is a three-year starter and was a preseason All-Sun Belt second team selection. But the question is – will he go up against the ball-hawking Cougs’ defense that grabbed three interceptions against Boise State? Or the zombie-like version that allowed Eastern Washington to walk all over them?

RB Aaron Duckworth had two touchdowns and a 108-rushing yard day in the Vandals’ season opening win against Montana State, but he was held to 30 yards on nine carries against the Huskies, whose run defense proved too much for the Vandals.

WR Trent Cowan caught Idaho’s only touchdown reception against the Huskies as the overmatched Vandals tried to finish out the game. Cowan was also voted a preseason second team All-Sun Belt selection.

MLB Tony Lashley followed up his nine tackles and a sack from the opener against Montana State with another six stops and a fumble recovery against the Huskies. The sophomore from Kansas City, Mo. is one of the Vandals’ most active defenders.

SLB Kaden Ellis finished last season second on the defense with 83 tackles, and was the best player on the Vandals’ defense in the loss to UW. Ellis, a sophomore, collected eight total tackles including one for loss and a sack against the Huskies, and he also forced an early fumble that Lashley recovered.

By the numbers:

71 – Number of wins WSU has against the Vandals all-time. WSU holds a 71-17-3 head-to-head record in the series that began in 1894. The two teams last played each other in 2013, when the Cougs beat Idaho 42-0.

47.1 – Punter Austin Rehkow’s career punting average stat. Rehkow, a senior who’s on the Lou Groza and Ray Guy Award watch lists for college football’s best kicker and punter, respectively, leads the NCAA in all time career punting average.