If he’s free, Idaho football coach Chris Tormey might attend graduation ceremonies for Nevada’s talented trio of quarterback John Dutton, defensive tackle James Cannida and linebacker DeShone Myles.
Tormey will be the one in the back of the auditorium applauding furiously and muttering, “Good riddance.”
The Wolf Pack seniors, particularly dead-eye Dutton and pocket-collapsing Cannida, dominated the Vandals in a misleadingly close 42-23 Big West Conference win before 22,960 sun-baked fans Saturday at Mackay Stadium.
“I’m glad Cannida’s graduating, I’m glad DeShone is graduating and I’m glad Dutton is graduating,” Tormey said. “And I’m glad Nevada has to come to Moscow next year.”
The Vandals, 4-3 overall, are 1-1 and lost control of their destiny in conference. Utah State will challenge Idaho’s 21-game Kibbie Dome winning streak Saturday.
Nevada, 2-5 overall, is 1-0 and faces its primary remaining Big West threats in Reno.
“It’s tough depending on another team to do the job for you that you should have done yourself,” UI sophomore safety Bryson Gardner said.
Nevada did in the Vandals with four scoring drives of 70-plus yards in opening a 28-0 halftime lead. At times, spectators seemed closer to Wolf Pack receivers than Vandals defenders.
Dutton had time to file his nails before throwing. He piled up 288 yards and three touchdowns in the first half. He ended with a career-high 470 yards and four touchdowns. Those totals would have been higher if not for a few drops by receivers and the fact that Nevada didn’t pass much after taking a 42-3 lead.
“We’ve been waiting a long time for this,” Dutton said.
Much of the postgame Q and A centered on the contrasting preconference schedules. Did Nevada’s arduous slate (Wyoming, Oregon, Colorado State, Southern Mississippi) position the Pack for a Big West walkthrough? Did Idaho’s two-tough (Air Force, Central Florida), three-lightweight (Idaho State, Portland State, UC Davis) schedule leave the Vandals vulnerable in a big game?
Cases could made both ways. But the truth was that Nevada was clearly superior - and it appeared the outcome wouldn’t change if the teams met five times.
The outcome was never in doubt Saturday. Dutton hit Trevor Insley with a 42-yard TD pass and it was 7-0 with 12:31 left in the first.
Under steady pressure, UI quarterback Brian Brennan was 33 of 64 for 349 yards and two late TDs. Backup Ed Dean had five attempts as Idaho surpassed Ken Hobart’s school record of 62. Antonio Wilson had a personal-best 12 receptions for 142 yards and freshman Anthony Tenner added 93 rushing yards.
But Idaho remained stuck in park inside the enemy 25-yard line, a seasonlong problem. In the first half, Troy Scott missed two field goals and Brennan’s fourth-down pass from Nevada’s 2 fell incomplete.
“It’s frustrating, but I don’t know what else we can do,” Brennan said of UI’s red zone-blues. 11We practice it.”
In the third quarter, Nevada scored on its first play via Darin Higgins’ 49-yard catch and led 35-0.
“Their quarterback is one of the best players I’ve ever seen,” Vandals linebacker Ryan Skinner said.
“It was big play after big play,” Tormey said. “We never slowed them down.”
Or Cannida and Myles, for that matter.
Nevada 42, Idaho 23
Idaho 0 0 3 20 - 23 Nevada 14 14 14 0 - 42
Nev-Insley 42 pass from Dutton (Shea kick), 12:31.
Nev-Lemon 15 run (Shea kick), 3:34.
Nev-Kelly 6 pass from Dutton (Shea kick), 11:27.
Nev-Insley 39 pass from Dutton (Shea kick), :32.
Nev-Higgins 49 pass from Dutton (Shea kick), 12:27.
Ida-FG Scott 28, 10:15.
Nev-Lemon 1 run (Shea kick), 1:14.
Ida-Wilson 9 pass from Brennan (pass failed), 12:35.
Ida-Wilson 7 pass from Brennan (pass failed), 5:25.
Ida-Prestimonico 3 pass from Dean (Dean run), :50.
Ida Nev First downs 32 25 Rushes-yards 34-156 31-125 Passing 361 470 Comp-Att-Int 35-69-1 24-32-0 Return Yards 82 25 Punts-Avg. 3-42.0 3-37.0 Fumbles-Lost 1-0 2-1 Penalties-Yards 7-42 10-99 Time of Possession 37:31 22:29
RUSHING-Idaho, Tenner 12-93, Thomas 13-41, Dean 2-21, AhHi 2-5, Brennan 5-(minus-4). Nevada, Lemon 21-120, Dugas 6-5, Dutton 3-3, Noisy 1-(minus-3).
PASSING-Idaho, Brennan 33-64-1-349, Dean 2-5-0-12. Nevada, Dutton 24-32-0-470.
RECEIVING-Idaho, Wilson 12-142, Thomas 7-75, Price 5-54, Townsley 3-31, Prestimonico 3-20, Alderson 2-13, Taylor 1-11, Ah-Hi 1-8, Stombaugh 1-7. Nevada, Insley 6-142, Noisy 5-104, Kelly 4-39, Higgins 3-78, Russell 3-47, Lemon 1-49, Burr 1-6, Dugas 1-5.
, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Photo
MEMO: Changed from Regional edition.
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