It was right for the taking for Idaho -- a possible interception from Trey Williams in overtime and a victory over Wyoming. But as happened so often Saturday, Idaho's secondary didn't come up with the play. The Vandals lost 40-37 in overtime to the Cowboys to drop to 0-4. We've got our story and notes below.
You can read my game story online here. And here are Idaho-related notes and quotes:
- Idaho has lost 14 of 16 games the last two years. Six of those setbacks have come by eight points or less, and three have come in OT.
- UI starting linebacker Conrad Scheidt (face fracture) did not play and could miss “a long period of time,” coach Robb Akey said. The injury happened in practice this week.
- Sua Tuala, another Vandal linebacker, missed a good part of the second half with a hamstring injury. He returned to the game, but not before Wyoming beat his replacement, Matthew Willis, in pass coverage on a 15-yard touchdown.
- As I mentioned in my story, safety Trey Williams sprained his ankle on the last play of the game, when he was beat in the end zone by Jalen Claiborne. Akey said the X-ray came back clean.
- Akey said there was no thought to go for two at the end of regulation. He told the offense before Dominique Blackman's pass to Mike Scott that UI would kick an extra point after they scored. And that's what they did.
- Ryan Bass ran for 121 yards on 19 carries for Idaho, easily his best game as a Vandal. He had a 34-yard and 28-yard run in the second half. Before Saturday, his longest run at UI was 24 yards at Nevada last year.
- Blackman took the blame for the offensive miscues. Asked what went wrong -- despite 37 points and 509 yards of offense --- he said: "It was me. I fumbled. I missed the easy read on third down right before in the fourth quarter … I took one sack. I’ve just got to step my play up. It’s just frustrating for me, because I’m the guy who touches the ball on every play."
- Blackman on the rest of the year: "We’re positive. We’re getting better every week. The greatest thing about this schedule, the way it’s set up — it’s perfect going into the WAC. We play four tough games (before league play). ... It’s setting up perfect for the WAC to be able to be just that last WAC champion and give ourselves a shot at a bowl game."
- Akey on losing: "My family’s going to hate my tail even more this week. Winning means everything. … Don’t quote that out wrong. It means an awful lot. That’s what these guys work their tail off (for)."
- Akey on the secondary's struggles: "Big plays are what kind of got us secondary-wise. We got stung on a big one down there (an 80-yarder from Brett Smith to Chris McNeill). ... We had three opportunities to stop that play, in my opinion. That one stung us. The guy stood in his own end zone for a long time."
- Akey on keeping the Vandals positive: "It is going to be a challenge right now. We’re going into what, week 5 of the season and don’t have a win yet. That is a challenge for the football team right now."
The Vandals run out of the tunnel before the game with a flag that honors Ken McRoyal. Right before the final drive of regulation, Blackman went over to the flag. "I believe everything in this game happens for a reason," Blackman said. "I just went to the flag and just told him, ‘Just help me win this game.’ I just fell a play short."