FORT COLLINS, Colo. – Twice Saturday afternoon, the Idaho football team constructed double-digit leads and appeared ready to separate from Colorado State for good.
On both occasions, mistakes and poor execution doomed the Vandals.
Colorado State kicker Ben DeLine, who had missed an extra point minutes before, connected on a 35-yard field goal as time expired to give the Rams a 36-34 nonconference victory – their first win since September of last year.
CSU (1-3) snapped a 12-game losing streak and, in the process, damaged Idaho’s hopes of a repeat bowl appearance. At 2-2, the Vandals must win at Western Michigan next week to go into their Western Athletic Conference opener with a winning record.
“They played better than we did today, and we need our football team to play better like we’re capable of,” UI coach Robb Akey said. “I believe in this football team. I believe they can be good, and that’s what I told them. That’s what I expect out of them.”
Behind true freshman quarterback Pete Thomas, the Rams dissected the Idaho defense for the last 35 minutes of the game.
Thomas completed 29 of 37 passes for 386 yards and three touchdowns. He completed all five of his passes on the final drive to set up DeLine’s heroics.
“I can’t remember missing an extra point or having one blocked,” DeLine said. “When the defense got us the ball back, I wouldn’t have been able to live with myself if I missed again.”
The Vandals gave CSU a big assist in the final 90 seconds when they were flagged for having 12 men of the field during a first-down play. The penalty pushed the Rams to the 24-yard line – comfortable field-goal range for DeLine.
Idaho QB Nate Enderle, who was 25 of 30 for 346 yards, connected on two big touchdown passes – 37 yards to Maurice Shaw and 59 yards to Justin Veltung – during a wild second half to keep the Rams in chase mode. But CSU answered each time.
With the Rams driving midway through the fourth quarter, Idaho linebacker Homer Mauga batted down a pass attempt from Thomas and then shoved the QB to the ground. The play drew a personal foul penalty and put CSU on the Idaho 11.
On the next play, Thomas found T.J. Borcky for a touchdown with 6:24 left. But DeLine missed the extra point to keep Idaho ahead by one point.
The Vandals, though, could only get one first down before their drive fizzled. CSU took over with 2:47 left and drove 66 yards before DeLine’s field goal.
The Vandals had nine receivers catch passes, led by Preston Davis’ eight receptions. … Running back/slot receiver Kama Bailey went down in the fourth quarter with an undisclosed injury. He was on the ground for several minutes before walking off the field. … UI defenders had five sacks and have 14 on the season – one shy of last year’s total. Aaron Lavarias has five in the last two games.
Colorado State 36, Idaho 34
UI—FG Farquhar 31, 4:24.
UI—Bailey 1 run (Farquhar kick), 11:57.
UI—FG Farquhar 32, 4:32.
CSU—R.Carter 5 run (DeLine kick), :39.
CSU—R.Carter 23 pass from P.Thomas (DeLine kick), :08.
UI—A.Johnson 7 pass from Enderle (Farquhar kick), 7:53.
CSU—FG DeLine 37, 4:01.
UI—Shaw 37 pass from Enderle (Farquhar kick), 3:08.
CSU—R.Carter 72 pass from P.Thomas (DeLine kick), 1:31.
CSU—FG DeLine 30, 11:36.
UI—Veltung 59 pass from Enderle (Farquhar kick), 9:46.
CSU—T.Borcky 11 pass from P.Thomas (kick failed), 6:24.
CSU—FG DeLine 35, :00.
|Time of Possession||30:13||29:47|
RUSHING—Idaho, Jackson 11-77, McCarty 13-41, Vital 2-2, Bailey 1-1, Team 1-(minus 2), Enderle 5-(minus 7). Colorado St., R.Carter 15-104, Mosure 4-26, Greenwood 3-7, Nwoke 1-4, Drake 1-3, Pauga 1-3, P.Thomas 6-(minus 39).
PASSING—Idaho, Enderle 25-30-0-347. Colorado St., P.Thomas 29-37-1-386.
RECEIVING—Idaho, P.Davis 8-58, Shaw 5-75, Greenwood 3-72, Bailey 2-42, A.Johnson 2-20, Veltung 1-59, Elmo 1-9, Hardy 1-5, McCarty 1-4, Jackson 1-3. Colorado St., Yemm 5-68, Pauga 5-60, R.Carter 4-120, Liggett 4-51, Greenwood 3-30, T.Borcky 2-23, Law 2-15, Peitz 2-15, Drake 1-6, Caprioglio 1-(minus 2).