After allowing North Texas to gain yards at will the week before, Idaho came out of the gate strong against Wyoming defensively, holding the Cowboys to just 77 yards of total offense in the first quarter and forcing QB Brett Smith to complete only one of his first eleven passes.
While Idaho was shutting down Wyoming’s offense early, they were also experiencing offensive issues of their own. The Vandals could only gain 40 total yards of offense in the first quarter. Idaho’s first four drives of the game netted less than 10 yards a drive.
“Our defense played really well in the first quarter and our offense let them down,” said Coach Paul Petrino about the first quarter. “We had some opportunities to move the ball and give the defense a chance.”
Following a 35-minute delay due to lighting in the area, Wyoming would get on the board first early in the second quarter on a 10-yard run by Brandon Miller. That first touchdown sparked a big 21 point quarter and started a 42-point unanswered streak for the Cowboys that lasted till the fourth quarter.
In the fourth, the Vandals managed to get on the board twice thanks to a 41-yard field goal by Austin Rehkow and a one-yard sprint at the end of the game by James Baker. In total, the Vandals gained 344 yards of total offense, but were a miserable 5-20 on third down conversions.
Along with his comments about the defense’s play, Petrino said that the performance from his quarterbacks was solid. Starter Chad Chalich had 217 all-purpose yards, while back-up Josh McCain had 72 yards, showing off his skills as a fast paced scrambler. Both quarterbacks had critical fumbles during big drives for Idaho, bringing the total of QB related fumbles to four on the season for the team.
In the post-game news conference, Petrino expressed his dissatisfaction with how the running game performed.
“It was disheartening,” said Petrino about the Vandals only being able to rush for 139 yards. “I was going to run it all night. We just didn’t execute. We were doing a lot of silly things that kill you.”
Wide-out Dezmon Epps led the Vandals for the second game in a row in receiving, totaling 61 yards on six catches with Michael LaGrone next in line with 56 yards on six catches.
Falling to 0-2 to open a season for the eighth time since 2000, Idaho will return home this next weekend looking to get their first win in a home opener since 2010 against Northern Illinois.