A fumble on their first possession. Missed tackles all over the field. Dropped passes. Two personal fouls early in the game. That's a sample of the self-inflicted wounds from the Vandals in a 37-21 loss to Texas State on Saturday. But even with all the mistakes, the Vandals were competitive with the Bobcats -- until things started to go haywire in the second half.
We've got our recap below.
Our story from Moscow is here. And here are a few notes:
- Idaho (1-8) has lost 29 of 33 games since the start of the 2011 season. The Vandals are 2-19 over the last two seasons.
- James Baker continued an impressive second half of the season with 114 yards on 20 carries. He had a career-high 150 yards on the ground at Arkansas State three weeks ago. Said Baker, "I think we came out and battled hard. I think the O-line did a great job blocking and making holes for me to get downfield. For the most part, I tried to run as hard as I can and get downfield." Baker didn't see any action in the Temple game (Idaho's lone win) because of how he had practiced the week leading up to the game. But all that's changed. "James has had a good year for us, really. If we can get everybody to the level he’s playing at, we’ll have a good chance to be a good team. These last few weeks, he’s played well. I was proud of him today, I thought he did a good job. He wouldn’t be playing if he wasn’t (practicing well). He’s bought into it. The one game we won this year against Temple, he didn’t play at all and kinda after that he’s bought into it and practiced hard and that’s one of the reasons why he’s playing so good – because he has practiced real hard and he’s improving every week.”
- Vandal fans might disagree, but Texas State Dennis Franchione said Idaho played "probably one of their best games this year. Give them a lot of credit."
- Regarding the Vandals' missed tackles, Idaho defensive end Maxx Forde said, "Just got to play fundamental football. That’s one the basic things of defense is just make sure you wrap up and make the tackle."
- A big focus for Idaho coming into today -- and coming into next week -- is starting a winning streak at home. "We’re going to show up tomorrow and keep fighting and do everything we can to start a home winning streak," Paul Petrino said. "That was the whole message of the week. We wanted to start a home game winning streak knowing that next week – next year – we have four conference games and Western Michigan at home. We wanted to win these two and go into that but now we’ll have to start next week. We’ll come back next week and work our tails off and do everything we can to try to get a win next week."
- The Vandals were again without starting cornerback Solomon Dixon and defensive end Quinton Bradley. Idaho doesn't disclose information on injuries, and Petrino hasn't discussed a timetable for their return.
- Idaho will close its home season by hosting Old Dominion next week. The Monarchs, also an FBS independent, are 6-3 after torching Rhode Island today, 66-14.