Vandals victimized by Aztecs aerial assault.
SAN DIEGO, Calif. - Saturday was a day when little when right for the Idaho Vandals. The result was a 45-17 loss to San Diego State at Qualcomm Stadium.
The defense had its bright moments but the Aztecs were adept at making the most of opportunities given them with a balanced run-pass attack.
On the other hand, the Idaho offense never seemed to find its groove. With starting running back Deonte` Jackson nursing an aching back, the running game sputtered and the pass attack misfired. Ultimately, the Vandals were outgained 603-351.
"There were too many big plays given up by our defense early," coach Robb Akey said. "That might have shaken their confidence. But, it happened. We have to learn to play through it."
The game followed a pattern that has haunted the 1-4 Vandals all fall.
"We didn't execute the way we wanted to in the first half," h-back Eddie Williams said. "We've got to be able to find a way to play four quarters. We either come out hard and end slow or the other way around.
"We have to execute better. There's no real secret to it. It's that simple."
The same thought process applied to the defense.
"It comes down to consistency," said senior defensive end Josh Shaw, who had six tackles and two of Idaho's 10 tackles for loss. "Every guy has to his job every play."
After trading possessions to start the game, San Diego State came back to score first when Atiyyah Henderson pushed through the right side of the line from three yards out with 6:27 to play in the first. Lane Yoshida's successful PAT capped the 58-yard drive.
The 7-0 score held through the first quarter before the Aztecs erupted for 17 second-quarter points to roll to a 24-3 halftime lead - the only Idaho score a 28-yard Tino Amancio field goal.
The Vandals started the second half with promise only to see a foray into SDSU territory thwarted - first with an offensive pass interference call and then a sack. What was field goal range at worst became punting distance.
The Aztecs made the most of the opportunity with Vincent Brown providing the dazzle when he juked Kenneth Patten at midfield en route to a 49-yard scoring play. That pass play boosted SDSU to a 31-3 advantage - a lead it enhanced to 38-3 when Henderson scored on a 3-yard run to cap a nine-play, 89-yard drive.
True freshman Troy Vital scored the Vandals' first touchdown when, after Shelton Miles - another true freshman, picked off a tipped Ryan Lindley pass, he toted the ball seven times on an eight-play drive to score on a two-yard run. Amancio's PAT made it 38-10 with 12:28 left in the game.
The Aztecs weren't done. They darted 66 yards on three plays to jump up 45-10 on Brand Sullivan's 45-yard scoring reception with 11:02 to go.
Idaho responded this time with an eight-play, 74-yard drive capped by McCarty's 12-yard run with 7:13 remaining. Amancio's PAT made it 45-17.
Akey has faith in the Vandals' ability to regroup.
"The important thing is to stay together; to stay united," he said. "We're on the cusp. We have to keep banging away."
Williams again led the Vandals in receiving with seven catches for 71 yards. With Jackson mostly sidelined, McCarty wound up with 82 yards and Vital tallied 46.