Start Time: Thursday August 31, 6 p.m. PT
TV: ESPN3, Altitude, SWX
Location: Kibbie Dome, Moscow, Idaho
Series History: Idaho leads 1-0. After 2017, the two teams will become conference rivals as part of the FCS Big Sky Conference.
Betting Line: As of Wednesday, August 30, Idaho is favored to win by 30 according to Oddsshark.com.
Game Theme: “White Out the Dome,” make sure to wear white! Pregame festivities start at 3 p.m. at the north end of the Kibbie Dome.
Idaho Outlook: The Vandals come into 2017 looking to continue their five game winning streak, extending back to last season. If they win Thursday, they will have their longest winning streak since winning seven back in 1994 and will have won two straight season openers.
Matt Linehan will lead the team both as a whole and on offense as he looks to start his senior season out hot.
The Vandals lost a lot of big pieces in the receiving corps and on the offensive line but it should be fun watching the groups come together and players emerge. A game against an FCS team coming off a 2-9 season should be a good first test for these groups.
We’ll also finally get to see the defensive speed Petrino has been talking about all spring and fall! Expect the linebacker group to be flying around and one of the three to lead the team in tackling.
Sacramento State Outlook: The Hornets return 21 starters from last season, including 11 on the defensive side.
However, they do have to break in a new quarterback and don’t have a running back on the roster with a career carry. Yes, you read that right, not a single carry!
To solve that problem they added Duke transfer Joseph Ajeigbe who played three seasons in Durham.
Other names to know are WR Isiah Hennie, DE Ben Sorensen and DB Immanuel Anderson. Here’s a link for a more in depth breakdown of the Hornets.
Prediction: Matt Linehan throws for 175 yards and two touchdowns, the running backs combine for another two and the defense flies around and makes life hard on the Hornet offense. I’m going to be bold and predict a defensive touchdown as well.
Vandals 35, Hornets 3.