Vandals Fall to Washington

<b>Cliff Mason</b> and the Idaho football team made this tussle with Washington an exciting game to watch throughout most of the third quarter, when Idaho was down just 17-14. But inconsistencies on offense, particularly in the second half, along with some defensive breakdowns and some impressive UW play, helped the Top 25 Washington Huskies open the floodgates late in the 3rd quarter as the Dawgs won going away 45-14.

Official Site Write-Up with Stats

Washington Write-Up and Stats

ESPN Write-Up and Box Score

For most of 3 quarters Idaho (0-4, 0-0 SBC) was very much in this football game. The defense put up yet another outstanding effort, and Special Teams recorded a fumble recovery deep in Washington (2-1, 0-0 PAC-10) territory to set-up Idaho's first TD of the game, knotting the score 7-7 in the first quarter. The Idaho defense would yield just 1 more touchdown and a fieldgoal in first half, and held admirably as the Huskies tried to drive into scoring range at the end of the 2nd quarter.

With just over a minute to play before halftime, Idaho took over and looked to be in business themselves as Harrington hooking up with Cedric Thompson racing across the middle of the field on a 50+ yard pass play. Unfortunately for Idaho, the play was called back because of a penalty, and Harrington would be unable to connect again before the halftime gun.

The Idaho offense was able to move sporadically throughout the first half, and senior runningback Zach Gerstner had his biggest day of the season (21 carries, 104 yards). But the team continues to struggle with consistency, and has yet to put up more than one long, sustained, TD drive in a game.

After the half, Idaho came out and mounted a small drive near mid-field, and was forced to punt. On the Huskies ensuing series, the Vandal defenders forced a fumble and Idaho recovered inside the Husky 20 yard line.

In one play, Idaho scored on an impressive 18 yard tight-rope pass play from Harrington to Labita in the endzone across the middle of the field. The PAT made it a 17-14 ballgame, and momentum was on the side of the Vandals.

After the kick, Washington took over, and on the drive senior cornerback Rod Bryant intercepted a Cody Pickett pass intended for Reggie Williams. The Vandal sideline erupted, and Idaho took over near mid-field. But the possession would go no where, and Idaho ended up punting back to Washington.

On 2 more possessions the Vandal defense prevented Washington from mounting much of a drive (at the same time, the Vandal offense mostly went 3 and out). Then, with just under 4 minutes left in the 3rd quarter, Washington scored on a long drive, took back the momentum and the energy of the stadium (aided by a monstrous hit delivered by UW runningback Rich Alexis on linebacker Patrick Libey), and went on to score 21 additional points in the fourth quarter.

Idaho never mounted a serious drive from the middle of the 3rd quarter on, due in large part to dropped passes, but also to a few errant throws.

Senior Brian Lindgren played much of the fourth quarter (at the time he came in, the Idaho offense was seriously stalling, and UW was beginning its scoring barrage), but only went 3 of 7 for 32 yards, no TDs and an interception. Sophomore starter Michael Harrington went 6 of 23 for 54 yards, 2 TDs and no interceptions. Overthrown passes by both quarterbacks, and an increasingly alarming number of dropped passes throughout the receiving corp, was the rule of the day for Idaho. Our top receiver on the day was sophomore Jeff Stowe, who caught 3 passes for 24 yards. Junior Jimmy Labita caught 2 for 24 yards and a TD, while senior runningback Gerstner caught 2 for 20 yards and Idaho's other TD.

Ah, if that 50+ yard catch by Thompson in the 2nd quarter had counted....

The Vandal defense played a stellar game for 3 quarters, but looked like they ran out of gas in the fourth...and for good reason. The Vandal offense spent very little time on the field throughout the game, as evidenced by UW's 10 minute advantage in the time of possession. Idaho actually won the turnover war, as UW gave up 2 fumbles and a pick to Idaho's 1 fumble and 1 interception. For 3 quarters the Vandal defenders did an admirable job stopping the Washington attack of Cody Pickett, Rich Alexis, Charles Frederick, and Reggie Williams in the second half.

But you can only stop that much fire power for so long, especially when your own offense continues to falter. With all the momentum in the 4th quarter, the Huskies rolled to the win.

This week Idaho takes on the Montana Grizzlies in Missoula in the last game of the 100+ year old series for awhile. The defense has proven to be a stout group that has kept the team in every game its played so far this fall. The offense has had glimmers of brilliance, but has not been able to hit on all cylinders consistently yet this fall.

Obviously, we're hoping it happens for this Vandal football team this weekend, because we know the Griz will be bringin' the house come Saturday afternoon.

View from the endzone, 2nd quarter.( Image)

Mike Anderson brings down Husky runningback Rich Alexis in the first quarter, grabbing a handful of face mask in the was one of his only miscues on the day. (AP Photo/John Froschauer)

Quarterback Mike Harrington looks on in disbelief as his 50+ yard, 2nd quarter pass completion to senior Cedric Thompson just before halftime is called back because of a penalty. Idaho was down 17-7 at the half. (AP Photo/John Froschauer)

Redshirt freshman Mike Barrow kicks the PAT after a Harrington to Labita 18 yard touchdown pass mid-way through the third quarter made it a 17-14 game. ( Image).

Mike Anderson stops the ballcarrier on a short gain as Brian Howard comes in to help (about 5 minutes left in the 3rd quarter, Idaho down 17-14). Shortly after this play, UW picked up a first down on 3rd and long on a reverse that included a monstrous hit by Rich Alexis on Idaho linebacker Patrick Libey. Washington went on to score 21 unanswered points for the win. ( Image).

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