MOSCOW, Idaho – The first ominous sign for fans inside the Kibbie Dome had to be the sight of quarterback Nathan Enderle warming up with his non-throwing hand.
Enderle was a no-go Saturday night with a bruised rotator cuff, and it didn’t matter what sort of decoy Idaho coaches tried to throw at Fresno State. The way things spiraled out of control early, no gimmick was going to work.
With their starting quarterback sidelined, the Vandals quickly came undone in a 31-21 loss to the Bulldogs.
It was Idaho’s first home loss of the season, and it came in a much-anticipated Western Athletic Conference showdown.
There would be no miracle comeback like last week against Louisiana Tech, though UI (7-3, 4-2) certainly made things interesting in the fourth quarter.
Brian Reader, Enderle’s replacement, scrambled for a 4-yard TD run with 12:21 remaining, then found Eric Greenwood for the two-point conversion to slice Fresno State’s lead to 31-15.
The Vandals’ defense forced a punt on the next possession and Idaho began to drive after getting the ball back. But after DeMaundray Woolridge squeezed his way to a first down on fourth-and-1, the running back had the ball jarred loose and Fresno recovered.
With just 25 seconds left, Reader found Maurice Shaw for a 69-yard TD to make it 31-21. But the two-point conversion failed and even after recovering the onside kick, Idaho simply ran out of time.
Before the comeback attempt, it was a nightmarish first three quarters for the Vandals.