Oregon State Opponent Preview: Idaho
With the 2021 season on the horizon, BeaversEdge.com is introducing all 12 of Oregon State's opponents over the course of summer.
Today, we dive into the second home game of the season, a midday matchup with Idaho...
Date: Saturday, September 18th
Time: 12:30 PM PT
Location: Reser Stadium; Corvallis, Ore.
TV: Pac-12 Networks
Oregon State 2020 Record: 2-5 (2-5 Pac-12)
Idaho 2020-21 Record: 2-4 (2-4 Mountain West)
With the Big Sky electing to play their 2020 football slate in the spring of 2021, the Vandals went 2-4 in six conference games during the abbreviated campaign. This came on the heels of a 2019 season that saw the Vandals go 5-7 overall.
After starting the season with an upset win over Eastern Washington, Idaho struggled with close losses for the remainder of the season.
The Vandals dropped four of their final five games with all those losses coming by 10 points or less and the lone victory being a one-point victory over Southern Utah.
One of the highlights of the season included earning the programs' first FCS polls ranking since 1995 following the win over Eastern Washington.
With a fair amount of returnees on both sides of the ball, the Vandals figure to be even more competitive within the Big Sky in 2021, but until they're able to prove that success consistently, it's all potential.
Best Win: vs Eastern Washington (28-21 on Feb. 27th)
Worst Loss: vs Idaho State (24-22 on Apr. 3rd)
Heading into the 2021 season, it's going to be interesting to see where Paul Petrino's Vandals will stack up in the Big Sky.
After going 2-4 a season ago yet returning a decent number of starters on both sides of the ball, the Vandals could be setting themselves up to be in a very good spot in 2021.
Outside of nonconference matchups with Indiana and Oregon State, every game on Idaho's schedule is within reach. Playing EWU and Montana State on the road are tough draws, but getting Montana at home is a big plus.
I'd expect the Vandals to be a middle-of-the-road team in the Big Sky in 2021.
There's definetly a fair amount of reason to expect they'll be better this season than last with the internal improvement and a fair amount of talent returning, but exactly how far that'll take them in the top-heavy Big Sky is hard to say.
All in all, if they can avoid severely lopsided results against IU and OSU, and hold their own in conference, I'd say that would be a successful season for the Vandals.
Key Returnees: QB Mike Beaudry, RB Nick Romano, WR Cutrell Haywood, WR Hayden Hatten - LB Tre Walker, DB Jalen Hoover, DB Tyrese Dedmon
Idaho Season Projection: 5-6
If Oregon State struggles against Idaho, things aren't trending in the right direction...
With all due respect to the Vandals, the Beavers should be in a prime position to take this cupcake matchup with ease.
While the Beavers have had their noted struggles with FCS teams in the past, it hasn't been the case under head coach Jonathan Smith and I don't expect that to change this season.
If this happened to be Oregon State's opener, I'd perhaps take a little pause because anything can happen in week one, but given that this is week three, the Beavers will be well on their way to being a well-oiled machine by then.
The Vandals may come in with a little razzle-dazzle trying to catch the Beavers by surprise, but I don't think it'll make much of a difference. Idaho will be coming off what I expect to be a very lopsided loss to Indiana the week prior, and I expect OSU to do the same.
Idaho isn't on the same level as the Beavers, and if Oregon State hopes to return to the postseason for the first time since 2013, this has to be a no-doubt, decisive victory that results in a lopsided scoreboard.
Oregon State 45, Idaho 17