Where to even start?
On the surface, Idaho dropping a 55-48 overtime result in Las Cruces isn't all that surprising. How it happened, however, might be, if not demoralizing for Idaho fans.
Here's how it happened.
The Vandals started the second half as well as could have possibly been imagined. Marc Millan picked off Allen Andrew on his first attempt of the second half. Idaho quarterback Matt Linehan responded to the gift with a 24-yard strike to Callen Hightower to put Idaho ahead 30-7.
It was all downhill from there. New Mexico State outgained Idaho 48-18 through the end of overtime to snap a 17-game losing streak and halt Idaho from what could've been a momentous win for the rebuilding Moscow program.
After only conceding 29 points combined through its last two games, the Idaho defense we've been accustomed to showed up in the second half and continually gave up big play after big play. After going up 30-7, Idaho gave up seven rushes of at least 10 yards (two of them going at least 35) and six passes of at least 15 yards, including a 61-yard touchdown pass.
Larry Rose III had a lot to do with that. The New Mexico State running back gashed Idaho for 215 yards and 4 touchdowns on only 25 carries.
But back-up quarterback Nick Jeaty will be the hero for New Mexico State. Jeaty came in for Allen when he went out with a knee injury right before NSMU tied at at the end of regulation.
Jeaty stepped up in overtime to deliver a 23-yard strike to Joshua Bowen in overtime on 4th and 22. The Aggies capped the drive with a touchdown.
The game was over when Linehan was picked by Terrill Hanks in a wild snatch with his legs.
Idaho jumped out to a big first-half lead behind big plays and Austin Rehkow's leg. Rehkow hit field goals of 30, 39, 40 and 43 yards on the day. He went 4-of-5 kicking on the day.
Matt Linehan was relatively stellar on the afternoon, tossing for 307 yards on 41 attempts. He moved the pocket often with his legs and wasn't afraid to run, gaining 49 yards after sacks. Linehan was picked in the end zone when Idaho was up 10-0, accounting for his first turnover prior to the one in overtime.
Idaho (3-5, 2-3 Sun Belt Conference) squandered an opportunity for its first three-game winning streak since 2009 and first .500 or better record after eight games since 2010. With Auburn and Appalachian State on the schedule, whatever hopes Idaho had to become bowl eligible now look very slim. Idaho travels to South Alabama next Saturday in its final Sun Belt road contest of the season.