| March 20, 2018

Vandals make ‘dome’ debut

September 13, 2014

The Kibbie Dome has never looked so good.

After two consecutive weeks with weather related problems, Mother Nature can’t affect this weekend’s game. Idaho makes its 2014 home debut against Western Michigan 2 p.m., Saturday inside the weatherproof domed stadium.

It’s going to be great,” Idaho coach Paul Petrino said. “No weather delays, the home crowd, everyone rooting for you … It will be really good and I’m very excited for it.”

After a tough nine-point loss at Purdue on Aug. 30, Western Michigan comes to Moscow fresh off a bye week, which doesn’t always translate into an advantage.

Petrino said off weeks are useful to let players heal, but can also be detrimental if the team is playing well and doesn’t want sit out for a week. He noted WMU played very well against Purdue before its bye week.

Like Idaho, the Broncos went 1-11 last season, but showed signs of improvement in their first game. They received immediate help from true freshman running back Jarvion Franklin. He had 19 carries for 163 yards and three touchdowns in his collegiate debut.

Franklin is one to watch, but Petrino said the whole offense is loaded with talent. Even with the speed WMU has at wide receiver, Petrino said he likes how his secondary matches up and has a good game plan for them.

“It’s going to be a battle,” he said. “It’s going to come down to the fourth quarter, just like last week. Two evenly matched teams … Whoever doesn’t hurt themselves and wants it the most will win.”

While the Vandals stocked up on junior college talent, Western Michigan’s recruiting class was ranked 40th in the nation and tops in the MAC, according to rivals.com — the majority of the class consisted of high school players.

Chris Edwards was one of those talented junior college recruits Idaho brought in. He said it’s his job to intimidate and let receivers know they can’t roam around free.

Last week against Louisiana-Monroe, the junior safety recorded an interception in his first game as a Vandal.

Edwards said there was a buzz in the locker room after the close, but competitive loss to ULM. Even with players and Petrino praising the improvements made from last year, Edwards still feels like they should have won the game.

The first game is done, and defensive coordinator Ronnie Lee said that’s the best thing about it. He said they now know which areas the team need to improve the most. Each game they look to get better and scout themselves, he said.

“I expect greatness from them,” Lee said. “We want to demonstrate that Vandal defensive pride, especially at home … We got to win in the Dome, we got to bring back that attitude in the dome, so when a team comes in here they better be ready for a physical game.”

The forecast Saturday calls for clear skies with no threat of rain. Good thing this game is being played in a dome.

“I’m really excited,” said Edwards of playing his first game in the Kibbie Dome. “I hear a lot about it so I’m ready to see how loud it gets, and just the atmosphere overall.”

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