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Vandals victorious in thriller

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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 State02136737

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)


First downs2225
Return Yards37
Time of Possession33:4726:13


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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