Hayden Hatten hauls in four touchdown grabs to lead Idaho in rout of rival Eastern Washington
Nov. 5, 2022 Updated Sat., Nov. 5, 2022 at 7:49 p.m.
Idaho wide receiver Hayden Hatten makes one of his four touchdown catches against Eastern Washington during Saturday’s Big Sky game at the Kibbie Dome. (James Snook)
MOSCOW, Idaho – A 2-foot-tall brass trophy that looked like it had come out of deep storage and hadn’t seen daylight for decades loomed over University of Idaho coach Jason Eck and players seated at a table at the UI-Eastern Washington postgame news conference – the old Governor’s Cup for which Idaho and EWU used to play.
Inked in black on a piece of white tape on the trophy’s wood base was “Che-Scow Cup” for Cheney and Moscow where EWU and Idaho are located, respectively.
“I just invented that,” Eck said.
Upon reflection, he might want to get more tape and change the name of the venerable prize to the Hayden Hatten Award.
Hatten, who caught three touchdown passes last week against Sacramento State, tied the Idaho school record for single-game touchdown receptions Saturday with four first-half scores against EWU.
“I’ve never seen anything like that,” Eck said of Hatten’s streak.
Before their largest home crowd of the season, announced at 11,811, the Vandals roused themselves from a 3-0 deficit and sprinted away from the Eagles to a 48-16 victory. The Vandals are 6-3 overall, 5-1 in the Big Sky Conference. The Eagles fell to 2-7, 1-5.
Hatten is tied with Jerry Hendren (1968), Yo Murphy (1992) and Justin Veltung (2010) for the Vandals’ single-game touchdown reception record.
With Idaho trailing 3-0, Hatten had a 33-yard TD reception from Gevani McCoy in the first quarter, and 17- and 18-yard scores from the freshman QB in the second quarter for a 21-3 lead.
The second came on an easy pitch-and-catch at the goal line after EWU cornerback Keshaun King lost his footing. On the third, Hatten shielded Eagles safety Demetrius Crosby Jr. in a box out .
The Eagles responded with a two-play drive. After quarterback Gunner Talkington ran for 5 yards, he launched a throw over the middle that Nolan Ulm bobbled at the Idaho 45-yard line and secured before running away from Vandals defensive back Jeremiah Salaam for an 87-yard scoring play.
That trimmed Idaho’s lead to 21-10. But Hatten came right back with 3:35 to play in the first half as the Vandals went 61 yards in seven plays, capped by a 19-yard pass from McCoy to Hatten, who beat King for a second time in the end zone. In frustration, King, seated at the end of the play, slammed his hands to the Kibbie Dome turf.
Hatten called the last touchdown his favorite, because he knew he had tied the record.
He got one more throw his way in the end zone in the fourth quarter, but the Eagles broke up the pass
“In the red zone, they started putting a guy over me, a safety over the top,” Hatten said. “But at the end of the day, I wanted to win more than anything.”
Hatten hailed Idaho’s offensive line for giving McCoy time to throw. Hatten finished with 10 receptions for 146 yards.
He was not the only Vandals player who had a big game. Elisha Cummings ran for 128 yards on 16 carries, and Roshaun Johnson added 67 yards rushing and a pair of touchdowns. Anthony Woods followed with 63 yards on the ground.
McCoy completed 16 of 28 passes for 218 yards and his four touchdown to Hatten.
Fa’Avae Fa’Avae led Idaho with six tackles from his linebacker position, and defensive end Kemari Bailey had two tackles for losses for the Vandals for a total of 12 yards.
Talkington connected on 15 of 24 passes for 232 yards and a pair of touchdowns. His biggest play came on the 87-yard score to Ulm, who led the Eagles with three catches for 99 yards .
Idaho bottled up EWU’s rushing attack , giving up just 36 yards. Justice Jackson led the with 25 yards.
Idaho had a robust 308 yards rushing on 52 attempts, for an average of 5.9 yards per carry.
The Eagles played boldly, going for it on three fourth-down attempts. The first time, on fourth-and-6 at Idaho’s 34-yard line, Talkington completed an 11-yard pass to Anthony Stell Jr. that kept a drive alive. Wyatt Haskins kicked a 35-yard field goal to give EWU its early 3-0 lead.
Later in the first quarter, on fourth-and-1 on the Vandals’ 26-yard line, Talkington kept on an attempted conversion, but Vandals safety Tommy McCormick tackled him for a loss. In the third quarter, on a fourth-and-6 on their 43-yard line, the Eagles went for it again, but Idaho linebacker Paul Moala broke up Talkington’s pass.
Eagles coach Aaron Best pointed to his team’s explosive plays against Idaho, but said, “We had a lot of good stuff, but just not a longevity of good stuff … a few explosive plays is good, but you’ve got to move the chains.”
With a pair of games remaining against UC Davis and Idaho State, the Vandals are pursuing a spot in the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs.
“With six wins, we clinch a winning season for our program. It’s a step for our program,” said Eck, who noted the Vandals have had only three winning seasons in two decades.
“But we’re not done yet,” he said.
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