Idaho hasn't been a good second half team all year. But the Vandals hit their low point tonight at Texas State, giving up 24 unanswered points after halftime in a 38-7 loss to a team in their first full year at the FBS level. UI (1-6, 1-1) has been outscored 138-20 after halftime this year.
We've got a full summary of Texas State's dismantling of the Vandals below.
Idaho started the third quarter with the ball and down by just a touchdown. Robb Akey and his staff had to feel pretty good to be trailing 14-7 after getting outgained by 105 yards in the first half.
But the Vandals went three-and-out on their first possession after halftime, and the game quickly unraveled from there.
After Idaho punted, Texas State drove 49 yards for a touchdown to go up 21-7. The Vandals' remaining six possessions went like this: punt, punt, interception, fumble, punt and interception.
Idaho gave up 337 yards rushing to the Bobcats, a spread option team that gained 7.9 yards per play in their first-ever WAC game. Texas State had 519 yards of total offense and moved the ball at will despite 11 penalties for 105 yards.
“It was a miserable game,” Akey said. “We've got to play better on defense. We've got to tackle better. Texas State did a hell of a job and we didn't play well. It was a bad combination.”
The Idaho defense was often out place against the option, and when it was in place, it struggled making tackles. Up 21-7 in the third quarter, Texas State converted on third-and-30 — what Akey called third and “six country miles” — with a 32-yard screen pass from Shaun Rutherford to Terrence Franks. The Bobcats went on to kick a field goal and take firm control.
“That's what was really disappointing to me,” Akey said. “When we were where we belonged, we didn't tackle the way we've tackled all year long. Keep your eyes up, drive your legs, make it happen.”
The Vandals, turnover-prone all year, gave the ball away three times. Dominique Blackman was 15-of-28 passing for just 168 yards. The junior transfer threw one interception before being replaced by Logan Bushnell. Jahrie Level led the Vandals with five catches for 87 yards.
“I thought we had some opportunities (in the passing game) that we didn't make happen,” Akey said.
Asked what his message is to his team, Akey said, “Be united. We're 1-1 in the WAC. We have a chance to go on the road again (at Louisiana Tech) and get a win to make sure we're 2-1.
“There's a pretty good chance the conference champion could have one one loss in this league this year. … If we're going to be the conference champion, that's all we can have. So we've got to make sure to get our tails going.”