Once again, the Idaho Vandals were tantalizingly close to breaking through against an FBS team. And once again, they came up short. The Vandals fell to New Mexico State 31-24 in Las Cruces after their final drive stalled at the 2-yard line when Brian Reader was sacked on fourth down. Before going down on the final play Reader didn't see Kama Bailey, who was all alone in the end zone. Said Robb Akey, “We had every opportunity. The guy was wide open.”
UI is now 1-6, 0-3 in the WAC entering its bye week. Its only win came in Week 2 against North Dakota, an FCS school.
Robb Akey summed it up well after this stinging loss: “This football team hurts bad right now, hurts real bad.”
The Vandals have lost five consecutive games, and they have yet to eclipse 300 yards of offense against an FBS team this year. Their scoring tonight came on a 1-yard Princeton McCarty run after a muffed punt, a field goal, a punt return from Justin Veltung — his second in the last two games — and a 95-yard kickoff return from McCarty.
The Vandals have produced two offensive touchdowns in the last three games — while the special teams unit for UI has four TDs in that span.
One positive for the offense: McCarty rushed for 116 yards on 25 carries, giving the Vandals their first 100-yard rusher since DeMaundray Woolridge in the 2009 Humanitarian Bowl.
The boxscore is here. Idaho is off until Oct. 29, when it hosts Hawaii.