MOSCOW, Idaho - The University of Idaho Vandals were determined to not let Texas State beat them with its efficient run game. While the Vandals managed to corral the Bobcats on the ground, it was the air attack that led to TSU's 37-21 Saturday afternoon victory at the Kibbie Dome.
TSU quarterback Tyler Jones connected on 19 of 23 passes for 228 yards and two TDs. That was the telling stat, Idaho coach Paul Petrino said.
"We committed to saying they're not going to beat us with the run," Petrino said. "We didn't want to let them run the ball right down our throats. We wanted to make them beat us throwing - and they did."
While the yardage wasn't monstrous (228), the timing was damaging. Jones was 13-of-14 in the first half and put the game out of reach with a 67-yard hookup with Terrence Franks with 8:47 left in the game.
For the Vandals, though, there were signs of a young team starting to catch on. Senior James Baker had 114 yards on 24 carries, and backup quarterback Taylor Davis connected on 20 of 35 passes for 181 yards and two of Idaho's three TDs. Freshmen - redshirt Deon Watson and true Richard Montgomery, were on the receiving ends of those scoring throws. Watson's came after Najee Lovett tipped the ball and it went toward Texas State's Colby Targun, who in turn tipped it to Watson in the end zone.
"We're just not quite there yet," Petrino said. "Our kids fought. They fought from play one to the end. That's part of the process. We're going to keep fighting."
Dezmon Epps led the Vandal receivers six catches for 54 yards, while Watson had three.
Freshman punter Austin Rehkow continued to near the national lead with his average of 54.3 yards on three punts.
Linebacker Marc Millan powered the defense with 10 tackles, while includes one sack and two tackles for loss. Trey Williams had nine tackles and Maxx Forde had eight with one tackle for loss. The Vandals' 10 tackles for loss was their best total for the season. Marius Burgsmueller also had two to match Millan for the game high.
Idaho concludes its home season next Saturday against Old Dominion. Kickoff is 2 p.m.