|Idaho wins thriller|
SAN JOSE, Calif. - Idaho coach Robb Akey talks to the Vandals about streaks. Saturday night, they were able to stretch the ones they've started and remain atop the Western Athletic Conference standings after a thrilling 29-25 decision over San Jose State before a homecoming crowd at Spartan Stadium.
A common thread ran through the post-game quotes with "great" being the consensus of players and coach about the victory.
"It was a great game," said running back DeMaundray Woolridge, who scored the winning touchdown on what is being a trademark bullish run with 1:10 to play.
"A great win - in my opinion," said Akey, whose team stretched its win streak to four, its conference win streak to two and, for the first time since 1999, won back-to-back on the road.
"It's great," said linebacker JoJo Dickson, whose late first-half interception set the stage for freshman kick Trey Farquhar to boot a 52-yard field goal and give the Vandals an emotional boost headed into the lockerroom.
The Vandals (5-1 overall, 2-0 in the WAC) appeared to be taking control after scoring three successive times to go up 22-14. But San Jose State (1-4, 0-1) wasn't about to let the Vandals off easy. The Spartans scored on the first play of the fourth quarter to tie the game and then tacked on a field goal after nabbing one of three interceptions to go ahead 25-22 with 10:46 to go.
Idaho's next drive ended on an interception but the Vandal defense held and SJSU gave up the ball on downs with 5:58 to play. That set up Idaho's final march - this one with Brian Reader under center. He mostly handed the ball to Princeton McCarty, who netted 125 yards, and Woolridge, who wound up with 93, but he mixed in an 11-yard pass to Eric Greenwood in directing the play scoring drive.
Kenny Patten put the finishing touch on with an interception with 28 seconds left to end San Jose State's chances.
"Winning is addicting," Woolridge said. "We never quit. It was tough but we said this game's not over."
While the Vandals covered 501 yards, they were more turnover prone than they have been all season with one lost fumble and three interceptions.
"Our players have confidence in their ability to get the job done," Akey said., "Now, there were some things we did that contributed to that."
The Vandals struggled early on both sides of the ball. After being thwarted on their first possession, San Jose State marched down to score and take a 7-0 lead the first time it had the ball.
Idaho responded with a more productive drive but still settled for a 23-yard Trey Farquhar field goal to close to 7-3 with 3:05 left in the first.
After forcing another San Jose State punt, the Vandals went 73 yards in seven plays before DeMaundray Woolridge pushed through from the one. Big plays on the drive were catches by Maurice Shaw and Eric Greenwood with Greenwood's a 19-yard pickup to put Woolridge in position to score from the one with 11:41 left in the second quarter. Farquhar's kick, however, was blocked and the Vandals led 9-7.
The Idaho defense held again and forced another punt and the offense was on the move this time with Princeton McCarty carrying the ball and Max Komar and Daniel Hardy coming up with the receptions. Trouble struck on first-and-goal from the five when it was ruled Hardy fumbled and the Spartans recovered in the end zone for a touchback.
This time SJSU made the most of the opportunity with an 80-yard march to score on Jordan La Secla's seven-yard run with 2:47 to play.
Idaho turned the ball over again on its next possession when Enderle was intercepted by Peyton Thompson. The Spartans drove to the Idaho 30 before JoJo Dickson returned the favor with an interception he returned to the San Jose State 35. Farquhar's 52-yard field goal was good as time expired for a 14-12 SJSU lead at the half.
J.J. Jones recovered a San Jose State fumble at the Spartan 45 to end SJSU's first drive of the second half and give Idaho its first offensive opportunity. After an illegal block call pushed the Vandals to their own 46, Princeton McCarty first dashed and darted downfield 47 yards to the San Jose State 7. He moved the ball to the SJSU 3 on the next play and finished the score on a three-yard yard that started with him heading up the middle before scampering right. Farquhar's kick made it 19-14 with 11:56 left in the third.
San Jose State punted again on its next possession after Jalal Beauchman dropped a first-down pass in Idaho territory. The Vandals were backed up to their 3 after two penalties - an illegal block and a personal foul - on the return.
They went to their stable of running backs to move deep into SJSU territory with Woolridge pushing through to move the Vandals away from their own end zone and Jackson breaking loose on a 47-yard gain to the SJSU 15. McCarty moved them to the 10 only to have the drive stall there. Farquhar came on for his second field goal of the game - a 27-yarder with 2:55 left in the third for a 22-14 Idaho lead.
Undaunted, the Spartans tied the score on a 38-yard pass to Marquis Avery with a successful two-point conversion from La Secla to Jalal Beauchman.
Enderle was intercepted by Duke Ihenacho, who returned the ball to the Idaho 32. The Spartans moved to the 2 but had to settle for a 20-yard Tyler Cope field goal with 10:46 remaining.