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Mistakes haunt Idaho in loss at Wyoming

Idaho forced punts on Wyoming's first four possessions, but a fumble from Chad Chalich near midfield sparked the Cowboys, who routed the Vandals 42-10 at War Memorial Stadium in Laramie. The Vandals gave up seven sacks, struggled on third down and were shut out until Austin Rehkow's field goal with 6:15 left in the fourth quarter. Idaho running back James Baker punched in a touchdown with 18 seconds remaining to give the Vandals their only touchdown — and just their second TD of the season.

More after the jump.


Chad Chalich and Josh McCain both moved the ball sporadically, but both were haunted by fumbles on promising drives. The Cowboys (1-1) took advantage of both turnovers with touchdowns.

UW quarterback Brett Smith started just 1 of 10, but he caught fire before the half and in the third quarter. The junior finished 22 of 38 with four touchdowns. Idaho's Solomon Dixon intercepted him in the fourth quarter and the Vandals sacked him three times, but the Cowboys had little trouble moving the ball after the first quarter. They finished with 564 yards and 25 first downs.

“I think (our defense) played really well in the first quarter and the offense let them down,” Idaho first-year coach Paul Petrino said.

Petrino was referring to Chalich's late first quarter fumble. The turnover came after he fumbled the snap, picked up the ball and tried to scramble. The ball was poked away and Wyoming recovered at Idaho's 42.

Under near-constant duress, Chalich was 22 of 32 for just 182 yards. McCain completed his only pass attempt for 23 yards while leading Idaho in rushing with 49 yards on 10 carries. Idaho's four running backs — Baker, Jerrel Brown, Richard Montgomery and Kris Olugbode — combined for 55 yards on 21 carries.

“I thought both quarterbacks competed,” Petrino said. “They need to get help from other people.”

Still, Petrino said Chalich should have thrown the ball away on at least one sack and “was doing a lot of silly things.”

“Our football intelligence isn’t very high,” he said. “That stuff has to stop. We can’t keep making silly, stupid mistakes.”

Later, he added: “The stage we’re at … we better play a perfect game.”

The game was halted more than 30 minutes in the second quarter due to lightning. The delay came with Idaho down 14-0 and moving the ball. But Chalich took a sack on the first play after the stoppage, and the Vandals were forced to punt.

The Vandals (0-2) will host Northern Illinois (1-0) Saturday at 2 p.m. to open their home slate. The Huskies knocked off Iowa last week and were off this week.

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Jim Allen Sports reporter Jim Allen's primary coverage areas are Eastern Washington University football and men's basketball, and college and high school soccer. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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Jim Meehan Jim Meehan's coverage areas include Gonzaga University men's basketball, Spokane Shock football, golf and volleyball. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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Chris Derrick Chris Derrick is a sports reporter. His primary coverage areas are the Spokane Chiefs, Spokane Indians, women's basketball and high school softball and volleyball. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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Josh Wright Josh Wright is a freelance correspondent who covers the University of Idaho football team and men's basketball team.

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Vince Grippi is the online producer for SportsLink, a product of The Spokesman-Review.

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