Washington State builds momentum heading to South Bend

Updated: September 1, 2003, 2:11 AM ET

SEATTLE -- After one game, Washington State coach Bill Doba remains undefeated and unscored upon.

Of course, things get tougher next week when the Cougars visit Notre Dame.

Jonathan Smith ran 16 times for 160 yards and two touchdowns, and Washington State gave Doba a victory in his college head coaching debut as the Cougars beat rival Idaho 25-0 Saturday night.

"We got a ton of confidence from this game," linebacker Will Derting said. "We're going to need it going to Notre Dame's house next week."

During a visit to Seahawks Stadium one week ago to promote the Idaho game, Doba joked that he was undefeated and unscored upon as a head coach. The longtime defensive assistant took over when Mike Price left for Alabama after last season.

"I was hoping to be undefeated, but I didn't dream we'd be unscored upon," Doba said after his first win. "Our defense made some big plays. We had three interceptions. That helps."

Doba has been a head coach before -- in the Indiana towns of Angola, Goshen and Mishawaka during the 1960s and '70s. This time, he strolled the sideline with a headset over his ears and several laminated cards stuffed into his pockets.

"It's easier, really," Doba said. "You just decide if you're going to go for 1, go for 2 or kick the field goal. When you're coordinating, you're calling every play for the defense. You get worn out pretty quick."

Doba left the offense in the hands of offensive coordinator Mike Levenseller, but he often strolled over to offer encouragement to his defenders.

"He still comes over and gives you hints, tells you little stuff," Derting said. "He can pretty much do whatever he wants. It was kind of weird seeing him wandering around."

Smith was outstanding, and backup Chris Bruhn added 118 yards on nine carries. The Cougars ran for 339 yards, their best rushing output since gaining 318 yards in a 54-14 victory over Montana State in 1993.

"It was a good effort by our defense and our offensive line proved we can run the ball," Doba said.

Drew Dunning kicked field goals of 46, 42, 29 and 35 yards and Matt Kegel, replacing Washington State career passing leader Jason Gesser, completed 12 of 21 passes for 108 yards with one interception.

"The coaches did a great job of calling some short passes," Kegel said. "The reads were better tonight and came to me. I felt comfortable."

It was Washington State's first shutout since a 44-0 win over Louisiana-Lafayette on Oct. 9, 1999, and the school's first shutout in a season opener since a 7-0 win at Iowa on Sept. 18, 1965.

Other than a few long kick returns by the Vandals, the Cougars turned in a strong effort on special teams. Six-foot-8 freshman Cody Boyd blocked two field goal attempts by Idaho's Brian Pope.

"It was just timing and a bit of luck," Boyd said. "I got up a little bit and got hold of them."

Idaho's Michael Harrington, the younger brother of NFL quarterback Joey Harrington, was 15-of-34 for 162 yards with three interceptions.

Smith's second TD, on a 2-yard run late in the third quarter, put the Cougars ahead 16-0. It was set up on an interception by Virgil Williams.

Smith broke a 49-yard run early in the second quarter, leading to his 6-yard TD run and a 7-0 lead. It was 10-0 at halftime after Dunning connected on his 46-yarder with 1:51 left before the break.

"I was ready," Smith said. "My goal before the game was to give it all I've got and have no regrets."

It's an attitude the Cougars will take to South Bend next week.

"It's Notre Dame," Kegel said. "We've got to approach this game like any other, although I know that's hard to do. We've just got to stay focused and disciplined. We're going to try our best."

This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index