|Vandals fall at home|
MOSCOW, Idaho - Saturday, the early-game ditch in which Idaho's Vandals found themselves was just a little too deep this time.
Down 24-0 before things started to click offensively and defensively, the Vandals rallied late only to fall 31-21 to Fresno State in a Western Athletic Conference game at the Kibbie Dome. Idaho is 7-3 and 4-2 in the WAC, while Freso State is 6-3, 5-1.
"We gave up too many points early," Idaho coach Robb Akey said. "That was a hole we had a hard time digging ourselves out of."
Fresno State needed just one run by the nation's leading rusher, Ryan Mathews, to take the lead in the game. His 77-yard romp from scrimmage gave the Bulldogs a 7-0 lead just 19 seconds into the game. From that point, however, Mathews, who carries a 164.5-yard rushing average, covered only 66 yards.
Fresno State tacked on three more scores - an 18-yard pass from Ryan Colburn to Seyi Ajirotutu, a 52-yard field goal by Kevin Goessling and a one-yard run by Mathews to take a 24-0 lead into the halftime locker room.
The second half was a different story. After being outgained 248-118 in the first half, Idaho had the edge, 352-92, in the second half. Brian Reader, in at quarterback in place of injured Nate Enderle, went from a 2-10 for 29 yards in the first half to 10-of-15 for 211 yards in the second. The running back trio of DeMaundray Woolridge (97 yards), Princeton McCarty (59 yards) and Deonte Jackson (31) added another 140 in the second half as the Vandals made dents in Fresno State's lead.
But, this time time ran out.
"What I appreciate very much and I love about this football team is that it does believe it's capable of accomplishing some things and it will compete," Akey said. "I saw that and that's great with this football team.
"We've got to start earlier than that. That's just plain and simple the way it is."
Maurice Shaw continued to show development as a threat in the passing game first with an athletic one-handed first-down grab in the first quarter then with a flashy 69-yard catch and run TD with 25 seconds left in the game. The two-point conversion pass fell short leaving the Vandals with a 10-point deficit instead of the eight, which, even though there was precious little time left, would have left them a chance after they regained possession with an onside kick.