LAS CRUCES, N.M. – D.J. Smith knew when the linebacker moved away from him, he would be open for Steve Wichman’s pass – the pass that Wichman threaded through the defenders for the two-point conversion that gave the University of Idaho Vandals their 38-37 double-overtime football victory over New Mexico State Saturday night.
“They called my number,” Smith said. “I knew the ball was coming to me. I just focused on the ball and catching it with my hands.”
That catch set off a celebration in the end zone that coach Nick Holt had promised his players moments before when he called the two-point conversion, which was enabled by Smith’s 20-yard reception of a Wichman pass.
“I told them to meet me in the end zone,” Holt said. “We’ll have a big dogpile.”
That they did, as New Mexico State’s homecoming game fireworks erupted over Memorial Stadium.
They weren’t the only fireworks of the night.
Junior receiver D.J. Smith set a Vandals single-game receiving yards record when he collected 269 on 11 receptions. Throwing to him was Wichman, whose 489 yards are fourth-best all-time by a Vandal. Add Mike Barrow’s 3 for 3 on field goals, 4 for 4 on PATs, and 43.3 yards per punt. And factor in 17 tackles by senior Cole Snyder and 12 by senior Mike Anderson, and it was a sharp night by the Vandals.
The win gives the Vandals a 2-3 mark in the Western Athletic Conference and moves them past Utah State into sixth.
They’re 2-6 overall with a bye week before their Nov. 12 home finale against Louisiana Tech.
The game was one of surges. First a big one by the Vandals, followed by a big one by the Aggies.
Then a back-and-forth battle that consumed the second half and the overtime.
“We kept telling them to battle and battle and compete and compete,” Holt said.
“Anytime you get a win on the road in conference, it’s excellent.”
Idaho 38, New Mexico St. 37 (OT)
|New Mexico State||0||21||3||6||7||—||37|
UI–D.Smith 45 pass from Wichman (Barrow kick)
UI–Octave 34 pass from Wichman (Barrow kick)
NMSU–Buries 8 pass from Vincent (kick failed)
NMSU–Dubois 30 pass from Vincent (Vincent run)
NMSU–Tolbert 43 pass from Vincent (Foley kick)
NMSU–FG Foley 20
UI–FG Barrow 47
UI–Lumbala 5 pass from Wichman (Barrow kick)
UI–FG Barrow 31
NMSU–Buries 14 run (kick blocked)
UI–FG Barrow 19
NMSU–Dombrowski 5 run (Foley kick)
UI–D.Smith 20 pass from Wichman (D.Smith pass from Wichman)
|Time of Possession||33:47||26:13|
RUSHING–Idaho, Rolly 21-86, Sherman 5-10, Brown 3-8, Ford 1-2, Team 1-(minus 2), Wichman 2-(minus 11). New Mexico State, Bures 26-100, Vincent 9-46, Dombrowski 1-5, Romaka 1-3, Gill 1-0, J.Williams 1-0.
PASSING–Idaho, Wichman 35-54-2-489. New Mexico State, Vincent 27-43-1-340, Gill 1-7-0-1, Allen 0-1-0-0.
RECEIVING–Idaho, D.Smith 11-269, Askew 6-70, Ford 6-22, Lumbala 4-18, Octave 3-62, L.Smith 2-27, E.Williams 2-9, Greer 1-12. New Mexico State, Tolbert 7-120, Allen 5-68, Dubois 4-69, J.Williams 4-21, Buries 2-28, Dombrowski 2-15, C.Williams 2-13, Cleaver 1-6, Harris. 1-1.
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