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Vandals lose close one to Hawaii as last-second FG comes up short

Idaho offensive lineman Matt Cleveland (70) celebrates with teammate Tyrone Novikoff after running in a fumble by Princeton McCarty for (Associated Press)
Idaho offensive lineman Matt Cleveland (70) celebrates with teammate Tyrone Novikoff after running in a fumble by Princeton McCarty for (Associated Press)

MOSCOW, Idaho – Trey Farquhar has booted long field goals before – longer than what he faced with eight seconds left on Saturday. That’s why Idaho coach Robb Akey had his arms in the air when Farquhar’s 53-yard attempt started sailing toward the goal posts.

“I was confident we were going to make the play,” Akey said.

But, like so much else this season, the Vandals couldn’t follow through on their bid to snatch a win away from Hawaii. Farquhar’s kick fluttered short and to the left as time expired, and UI absorbed a 16-14 defeat at the Kibbie Dome.

The Vandals (1-7, 0-4 WAC) lost their sixth straight and have lost three of their last four games by a combined 10 points. Of all the painful losses in the last month, this one might have stung the most.

Idaho had a 14-13 lead and the ball inside Hawaii’s 10-yard line with just over 3 minutes left. But quarterback Brian Reader – benched for the first three-plus quarters before replacing Taylor Davis – threw into double coverage near the goal line and was picked off by Hawaii linebacker Aaron Brown.

The Warriors (5-3, 3-1) then drove 60 yards on 12 plays to set up Kenton Chun’s 35-yard field goal with 32 seconds left.

The Vandals managed to get into field-goal range, thanks to Reader’s underhand toss to Kama Bailey that resulted in a 19-yard gain. Two plays later, with 13 seconds on the clock, Reader overthrew Michael LaGrone, who was open streaking inside the 10.

Akey elected to bring out Farquhar – a junior whose career long was 54 yards at Nevada in 2009 – on third down. His kick looked good for a moment before tailing off.

“Just comes down that to that last play every single time,” Reader said. “We controlled the ball, it seemed like. Just had trouble finishing.”

The Vandals managed only 85 passing yards and had two late red-zone opportunities that went awry. Early in the fourth quarter, Akey chose to go for a first down on fourth-and-1 at the Hawaii 15 instead of attempting a field goal to go up 17-13.

Princeton McCarty, who had 99 yards on 28 carries, was stoned behind the line of scrimmage to give the ball back to Hawaii.

Asked about his decision, Akey said, “Well, the touchdown score would make it a big differential. We were running the ball, I felt like, pretty well. And I really felt we would be able to get that to try to make it more than a kick differential.”

UI squandered perhaps its best defensive effort of the season. The Vandals sacked Hawaii QB Bryant Moniz six times – after having eight sacks on the year before Saturday.

On one of Benson Mayowa’s three QB takedowns, the defensive end jarred the ball loose and Tracy Carter picked it up and sprinted 70 yards for a touchdown. The fumble recovery and score gave Idaho a lead it would have until the final minute.

“I feel sick and more than anything I feel sick for our players because they’ve been busting their tails and they’ve been doing things a lot better,” Akey said. “I want to see them be rewarded for the work they’re putting in. And we’ll get that reward next week (at San Jose State). That’s the bottom line.”

La. Tech 38, San Jose St. 28: Colby Cameron threw two touchdowns in the second quarter to help the Bulldogs rally and beat the Spartans in Ruston, La.

Cameron finished with 237 yards on 17-of-27 passing, connected with Quinton Patton on a 90-yard bomb that gave Louisiana Tech (4-4, 3-1 WAC) the lead for good midway through the second quarter.

Matt Faulkner led San Jose State (3-5, 2-2), throwing for 327 yards and three touchdowns.

Nevada 48, New Mexico St. 34: Lampford Mark ran for 185 yards and a touchdown, quarterback Cody Fajardo added 60 yards and four scores on the ground and the Wolf Pack handled the Aggies in Las Cruces, N.M.

Nevada (5-3, 3-0 WAC) ran the ball 48 times for 374 yards and all seven of its touchdowns while totalling 683 yards of total offense.

Matt Christian threw for 432 yards and three touchdowns for New Mexico State (3-5, 1-3), which tallied 514 yards of offense in the defeat.

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