IDAHO FOOTBALL: No matter the foe for Idaho, defense on third down is key

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Whether the opponent is Fresno State, one of the top teams in the Mountain West, or today’s opponent, NCAA Division II Western New Mexico, the message to the Vandal defense from Idaho coach Paul Petrino is the same:

Get off the field on third down.

“I told them the biggest thing they need to improve on is third downs,” Petrino said. “I thought they did some good things, played well at times, but you’ve got to get those stops. We can play better on defense, and we will.”

Fresno State was 8 of 13 on third down last week in trouncing the Vandals 79-13 at Bulldog Stadium.

Idaho (0-1) plays host to Western New Mexico (0-1) today at 2 p.m. at the Kibbie Dome in Moscow.

Petrino said Western New Mexico runs the spread offense, and raved about sophomore wide receiver Kourde Roberts as a receiver and kick returner.

On defense, junior Roosevelt Calhoun is a transfer from Nevada.

The Mustangs lost their season opener 38-9 last Saturday at San Diego, which made the FCS playoffs last season.

First-year Western New Mexico coach Frank Tristan previously worked for three seasons as head coach at NAIA Southwestern Assemblies of God University in Waxahachie, Texas.

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