Error-prone Vandals conquered by Troy
TROY, Ala. — The Idaho Vandals committed seven turnovers as they were drubbed by Troy 47-7 in a Sun Belt Conference college football game on Saturday.
DeWhitt Betterson rushed for 184 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries, leading Troy (4-4 overall, 2-2 Sun Belt) over Idaho (2-7, 1-4).
Betterson passed Ted Horstead to become the all-time leading rusher for Troy, which has won 24 of its last 25 games at Movie Gallery Stadium. Betterson, who sat out the fourth quarter, had TD runs of 8 and 56 yards, leading a ground game that produced 280 yards.
Freshman quarterback D.T. McDowell, making his second career start, was 3 of 12 for 48 yards with an interception for Troy.
The Trojans, coming off a near-upset of No. 19 LSU, used big plays to score on Johnny Faulk’s 79-yard fumble recovery, Leodis McKelvin’s 60-yard punt return and Leverne Johnson’s 24-yard interception return.
The Vandals have been outscored 298-98 on the road this season.
While only two UI turnovers directly resulted in points, the others crumbled drives and quashed momentum.
“When you have seven turnovers, you’re not going to beat anybody,” head coach Nick Holt said in a UI release.
UI quarterback Michael Harrington, who yielded his position to Brian Nooy early in the third quarter, echoed his coach’s sentiments.
“It doesn’t make any difference who you play, if you’re playing a high school team, you’re not going to win with that many turnovers,” said Harrington, who was intercepted two times while Nooy threw three pickoffs. The final turnover tally was the result of two lost fumbles.
Harrington was 10 of 24 for 163 yards and a touchdown. Nooy was 8 of 18 for 98 yards.
Idaho started the game with a snappy drive that had the look of a length-of-the-field effort until Rolly Lumbala fumbled on second down at the Troy 19. Faulk recovered the ball and returned it 79 yards to score with 12:39 left in the first.
The same was not true of the Vandals’ second drive, which wound up a three-and-out. After Mike Barrow’s punt, the Trojans started their first offensive series at their 24.
Troy kept the ball on the ground eight of the next nine plays, capped by Betterson’s 8-yard scoring run. Greg Whibbs’ PAT attempt missed and left Troy with a 13-0 lead with 7:58 in the first.
The Vandals punted on their next possession and McKelvin’s 60-yard TD return put Troy up 20-0 just past the midpoint of the first quarter.
After trading possessions, Harrington engineered an eight-play, 80-yard drive that culminated in Luke Smith-Anderson’s 28-yard TD reception with 5 seconds left in the opening period. Barrow’s kick closed the gap to 20-7.
Defenses took over in the second quarter. Idaho’s most productive drive ended when Harrington was intercepted in the end zone by Sherrod Martin. Whibbs kicked a 37-yard field goal with time expiring to send the Trojans to the locker room with a 23-7 lead.
The Vandals’ season-long, third-quarter woes continued.
Troy scored on Whibbs’ 19-yard field goal, then added a TD when Johnson returned an interception 24 yards for a 33-7 lead with slightly more than four minutes gone in the period.
Betterson later broke free through the middle and down the left sideline for a 56-yard TD run and 40-7 Troy lead with 8:27 left in the third.
The Trojans added another third-quarter score on Kenny Cattouse’s 26-yard run.
Nooy spelled Harrington when the Vandals took over with 10:56 left. Nooy also wasn’t able to consistently move the Vandals against the Sun Belt’s top-ranked defense.
The Trojans had one scoring play that was less than 10 yards.
“The problem was missed tackles,” said Idaho cornerback J.R. Ruffin. “We had a lot of missed tackles. If we had eliminated those, we would have eliminated the big plays.”
“I’m really disappointed,” Holt said. “It was really, really bad.”