MOSCOW, Idaho - A very young University of Idaho football team took a big step in growing up Saturday afternoon with its 26-24 Homecoming victory over Temple University.
Redshirt freshman quarterback Chad Chalich completed 26 of 43 passes for 310 yards and carried the ball another 14 times for 114 yards, and true freshman kicker Austin Rehkow booted four field goals in the victory - all behind a patch-work offensive line that included a true freshman starting at offensive guard.
"They stepped forward. They held on. They were tough," coach Paul Petrino said. "They grinded.
"I'm just proud of all of them."
Petrino's compliments extended beyond the players to his staff, which he cited for its tireless effort in preparing a young team.
"They came to work every day," he said. "They grinded every single day. They've been doing a great job."
The Vandals scored first when Chalich hooked up with true freshman running back Richard Montgomery for a 64-yard scoring play. Rehkow's kick was good for a 7-0 lead with 12:20 to go in the first. The Owls answered five minutes later with a 25-yard Nike Vicso field goal with 7:39 left in the first.
Montgomery capped Idaho's next scoring drive - an 80-yarder that took nine plays, with a five-yard run with 8:39 left in the second quarter. The Vandals increased their lead to 17-3 on Rehkow's 39-yard field goal with 1:21 left in the half.
Temple responded with three second-half touchdowns but the Vandals kept them at bay with 30, 38 and 25 yard field goals by Rehkow - as well as strong punts to help Idaho in the field-position battle.
Defensively, it was a pair of upperclassmen who provided the punch with junior defensive end Maxx Forde tallying two tackles for loss and four quarterback hurries and senior defensive tackle QuayShawne Buckley accounting for three tackles for loss. Junior college transfer Marc Millan led the effort with nine total tackles and Christian Whitehead, who moved into the starting lineup this week, had eight.
"It's a good feeling," Petrino said of the win. "I'm just happy."