MOSCOW, Idaho – There was a lot of fight in the Idaho Vandals Saturday afternoon – just not quite enough to subdue San Jose State in a Western Athletic Conference football game at the Kibbie Dome.
In coach Jason Gesser’s debut as the Vandals’ interim head coach, Idaho held strong for nearly quarters before a bobble here and a stumble there sent the Spartans rolling to a 42-13 victory before 14,429 Dads’ Weekend fans.
“It didn’t go the way we wanted it to go,” Gesser said. “Our defense came out and played very well tonight. Offensively, we need to convert on third down. We just need to convert. We need to execute. We need more reps. Bottom line.”
Senior Logan Bushnell, starting in lieu of the dismissed Dominique Blackman, was 14-of-29 for 196 yards and one TD, while junior Taylor Davis was three-of-eight for 11 yards in his second quarter stint. Senior Mike Scott was the team’s leading receiver with nine catches for 79 yards, while junior Najee Lovett had the scoring catch on a 12-yarder from Bushnell in the opening seconds of the game.
It was that strong start – D’Mario Carter’s recovery of David Freeman’s fumble on the opening kickoff, that put the spark in the Vandals that lasted until a four-minute flurry that saw the Spartans bolt from a 21-13 lead into a commanding 42-13 edge with 9:07 left in the game.
SJSU quarterback David Fales found Chandler Jones between Vandal defenders for a 35-yard scoring strike with :34 left in the third for a 28-13 lead. After trading possessions to start the fourth quarter, the Vandals again were punting only to have a kick catching interference call give San Jose State the ball on the Idaho 45. Fales handed off once then went to the air for three straight plays with the final one a six-yarder to Noel Grisby to score with 9:42 left in the game and a 35-13 SJSU lead.
On his second pass of the Vandals’ next series, Bushnell was intercepted and Bene Benwikere returned the ball 47 yards for the 42-13 lead with 9:07 to go in the game.
“There were just a couple quick plays here and there that got away from us,” Bushnell said. “My interception didn’t help.”
Nevertheless, Gesser praised the effort of the Vandals.
“For the most part,” he said, “I was very proud of how they stayed together. It was good to see that. We have to keep pushing forward.
“I hate losing more than I like winning. I’ll tell you that much right now.”
Gesser also was appreciative of the raucous Vandal crowd.
"I want to thank all the fans and students who came out," Gesser said. "I looked at that student section and it was rocking. It was awesome.
"I appreciate all their support through these tough times."