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Idaho Vandals prepared for beginning of Big Sky conference play

Vandals hope to build off of Jason Eck's first win as head coach on Saturday as they travel to take on Northern Arizona.

MOSCOW, Idaho — The Idaho Vandals football team was back on the practice field today following the team's first win of the season on Saturday against Drake. It was also the first win for Jason Eck as a head coach.

Eck and his team celebrated their first win, but they have to turn around and get ready for the beginning of Big Sky conference play this week.

"This is a big game right away. They're a good team and I know Coach Ball has been there for a few years and wants to get his team over the hump and into the playoffs," Eck said.

Idaho had a tremendous special teams performance against Drake. Kicker Ricardo Chavez was 4/4 on field goals, which earned him Big Sky special teams player of the week honors. Wide receiver Jermaine Jackson had a 58 yard punt return for a touchdown and the Vandals also blocked a punt.

As excellent as the special teams performance was, Coach Eck would like his offense to put the ball in the end zone, rather than settling for a field goal.

"You cannot beat really good teams counting by threes, you have to count by sevens down there. We need to do a better job of execution, sometimes we shot ourselves in the foot (in the red zone). The guys need to look each other in the eye in the huddle and say, 'We need to lock in and do what it takes to finish this drive,'" Eck said.

Defensively, Eck is hoping to see his guys do something they did not do in the first half against Drake.

"I think the biggest stride we have to make is stopping the run and not allowing teams to bleed us. We cannot be giving up five yards a pop in the run game," Eck said.

While his first win was special, Eck is focused on moving forward to conference play and says he is even more excited for the possibility of winning his first Big Sky conference game.

Idaho and Northern Arizona will kick off at 1 p.m. on Saturday in Flagstaff. KREM will have full coverage of highlights following the game.

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