Facing another FCS Top 25 team, Idaho turns to rushing game to earn big road victory

Darin Oswald/

Looking to return to the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs, the Idaho Vandals are off to a promising start.

Anthony Woods rushed for a career-high 183 yards Saturday, part of the team’s mammoth 363-yard effort on the ground in a 44-36 win over Eastern Washington. It was Idaho’s first win in Cheney, Washington, since 1994.

Woods had five touchdown runs for the Vandals (4-1, 2-0 Big Sky), who also got 129 yards rushing from Nick Romano. QB Gevani McCoy attempted only 18 passes, completing eight for 128 yards and a TD.

Idaho also rushed for over 300 yards last season in a win over the Eagles, on its way to a 7-4 regular-season record and FCS playoff berth.

The Vandals, who averaged over 7 yards per rush, and Eastern Washington both scored in every quarter Saturday and were tied 21-21 at halftime. Idaho trailed 28-21 in the third quarter before ripping off four straight scoring drives to take control of the game. Woods’ 60-yard touchdown run gave the Vandals a 44-28 lead midway through the final quarter.

After Eastern cut the lead to 44-36, Woods and Romano led a 14-play, 63-yard drive that ate up the final 6:37 of the game, allowing the Vandals to go into victory formation at the Eagles’ 10-yard line.

It was Idaho’s second win over an FCS Top 25 team in as many weeks, having defeated then-No. 4 Sacramento State last Saturday. The Vandals are ranked No. 4 themselves now, while the Eagles (2-3, 1-1) entered the game at No. 19.

Idaho plays at Cal Poly next Saturday at 6 p.m.