The Idaho Vandals, relying on their senior led offensive line, rushed for 274 yards and eclipsed 500 yards in total offense on their way to defeating the San Jose State Spartans by a score of 29-25 on Saturday night in front of an announced crowd of 15,321. The win by the Vandals was their fourth in a row and improved their record to 5-1 (2-0 in Western Athletic Conference games). With the loss, the Spartans fell to a record of 1-4, (0-1 in WAC games). It was the first time in five tries that the Idaho defeated San Jose State since joining the WAC in 2005. The Vandals' leading rusher was Princeton McCarty, who gained 125 yards on 16 carries and one touchdown. De'Maundray Woolridge scored two touchdowns and gained 93 yards on 18 carries. San Jose State again struggled to run the ball. The Spartans leading rusher, Lamon Muldrow gained only 23 yards in nine carries.
After holding Idaho to one first down on the Vandals first possession, San Jose State struck quickly the first time that they had the ball. Utilizing a no huddle offense, the Spartans mounted a nine play drive, which covered 74 yards in little more than three minutes. Quarterback Jordan La Secla completed six of six passes to four different receivers, and capped the drive with a screen pass to wide receiver Josh Harrison which covered 17 yards for the games first score. La Secla would go on to complete 31 of 43 passes for 299 yards and two touchdowns, but would also throw two interceptions.
The Vandals answered back on the next possession. After picking up a key fourth and one play near midfield, when running back De'Maundray Woolridge ran 12 yards while carrying half the Spartans' defenders along for the ride, Vandals quarterback Nathan Enderle connected with Preston Davis for a 28 yard gain that set Idaho up with a first and goal inside the Spartans 10 yard line. The Vandals attempt at a little trickery backfired when wide receiver Max Komar knocked down his own player, Deonte Jackson, in the backfield. Jackson had lined up at quarterback in the Wildcat formation. After an incomplete pass in the end zone, Idaho was forced to settle for a Trey Farquhar 23 yard field goal.
On their second possession, it appeared the Spartans were going to pick-up where they left off; as La Secla connected on his next two pass attempts. But, La Secla's first incompletion of the night forced the Spartans to punt. Philip Zavala's punt pinned the Vandals back at their own one yard line, marking the third time this season that Zavala has done that to an opponent. Idaho quickly got out of trouble on a 15 yard Princeton McCarty run.. A 41 yard connection from Nathan Enderle to Maurice Shaw set the Vandals up in Spartans' territory. It appeared San Jose had stopped Idaho on an incompletion on third and 18, but a personal foul penalty was called on San Jose State safety Duke Ihenacho for a helmet to helmet hit on Enderle, which gave Idaho a first and 10 at the Spartan's 20 yard line. Woolridge walked into the end zone from the one, giving the Vandals a 9-7 lead. San Jose State defensive tackle Adonis Davis blocked the ensuing PAT. It was Davis' second block kick of the season, and the Spartans' third in two games.
Idaho missed out on a golden opportunity to extend their lead in the second quarter. After the Vandals again connected on a long pass play, this time a 33 yard catch by wide receiver Max Komar, San Jose State safety Tanner Burns forced wide receiver Daniel Hardy to fumble at the Spartans' one yard line. The fumble, which was the first fumble lost by Idaho this season, was recovered by the Spartans in the end zone for a touchback.
The turnover seemed to re-ignite the Spartans offense. Once again going to the no huddle attack, the Spartans gained 19 yards on a La Secla keeper. A late-hit penalty extended the play another 15 yards. A pass interference penalty on Idaho cornerback Kenneth Patten, while defending Kevin Jurovich, gave the Spartans a first and goal inside the 10 yard line. La Secla then scored on a seven yard keeper, which gave the Spartans a 14-9 advantage. On the touchdown play, Idaho's Tre'Shawn Robinson committed a persona foul and was ejected from the game.
Idaho turned the ball over once again on their next possession when an Enderle pass was intercepted by Spartans' cornerback Peyton Thompson at the Idaho 41 yard line. The Spartans failed to take advantage of the great field position, committing their first turnover of the game when a La Secla pass was intercepted by Jo Jo Dixon and returned to the San Jose State 35 yard line. With one second remaining in the half, Idaho kicker Trey Farquhar tied a school record with a 52 yard field goal to end the half, narrowing the San Jose State lead to 14-12.
To open the second half, it appeared the Spartans were intent on establishing a running game, as back-to-back carries by Lamon Muldrow gained a first down. A fumble by wide receiver Josh Harrison, after a short reception, gave the ball to Idaho at the San Jose State 45 yard line. The Vandals' Princeton McCarty busted a 41 yard run up the middle to the San Jose State seven yard line. McCarty scored two plays later on a four yard run, giving the Vandals a 19-14 lead.
The Spartans self-destructed on their next possession, twice committing illegal formation penalties, and twice dropping deep passes over the middle. Both drops were committed by wide receiver Jalal Beauchman, however the second drop would not have counted anyway, due to one of the illegal formation penalties occurring on the play.
After multiple penalties during the change of possession pushed Idaho back inside their own five yard line, De'Maundray Woolridge once again got the Vandals out of trouble with a 20 yard gain. Shortly thereafter the Vandals again had a huge run up the Spartans gut, this time for 47 yards by Deonte Jackson to the Spartans' 15 yard line. The San Jose State defense stiffened at that point, and the Vandals had to settle for a 27 yard field goal and an eight point lead.
The Spartans began their first series in the fourth quarter with another penalty, this time for a false start. However, Jordan La Secla quickly connected deep downfield to wide receiver Marquis Avery for a 38 yard touchdown bomb. Beauchman redeemed himself for his two earlier drop passes by catching a pass in the end zone for a two point conversion, which tied the game at 22 apiece.
It was then Idaho's turn to commit crucial mistakes. On a third and 10 play, Enderle's pass was intercepted by the Spartans' Duke Ihenacho at the Vandal 32 yard line. A quick 19 yard pass play to Marquis Avery set the Spartans up with a first a goal at the Vandal nine yard line. The Spartans, however, had to settle for a 29 yard field goal by Tyler Cope, and a 25-22 lead. Idaho again turned the ball over on their next possession when Nathan Enderle was intercepted for the third time in the game, this time by Tanner Burns, who returned it 35 yards to the Vandals' 33 yard line. The Spartans failed to capitalize on the turnover, and perhaps put the game out of reach, when La Secla's fourth down pass at the Idaho 32 yard line fell beyond the outstretched hands of a diving Jalal Beauchman.
For his team's final possession of the game, Idaho Head Coach Robb Akey replaced Enderle at quarterback with sophomore Brian Reader. Enderle ended his night completing 14 of 26 passes for 216 yards and no touchdowns. As it turned out, the Vandals would not need to rely on the passing arm of Reader to pull the game out. The Vandals went on a 10 play, 67 yard drive, with all but 11 yards coming on the ground. McCarty, Jackson, and Woolridge combined for the rest of the yards gained on the drive, which was capped by a three yard touchdown run by Woolridge, who pushed the pile of humanity into the end zone. The touchdown gave the Vandals a 29-25 lead with 1:10 remaining in the game, which would stand.
The Spartans failed to have any late game heroics. After a 13 yard reception to tight end Ryan Otten, La Secla threw a game ending interception to Idaho's Kenneth Patten at the Vandal 45 yard line. On the play, there appeared to be some miscommunication, as the intended receiver, Kevin Jurovich curled inside, with La Secla throwing deeper down the field. "It was an outstanding football game" said Coach Dick Tomey. "A tough game to lose. We just couldn't get it done in the end."
The Spartans next play at Fresno State next Saturday, October 17th, at 7:00 PM
Coach Dick Tomey, in his post game comments, indicated that both defensive tackle Kalvin Cressell and tight end Terrence Williams might be available to play next week.
Scouts representing nine different NFL teams were on hand, Most were here to watch Idaho offensive lineman Mike Iupati. However, the scouts also spend time during their visit reviewing film of San Jose State players. NFL teams represented included the Carolina Panthers, San Francisco 49ers, Oakland Raiders, Dallas Cowboys, Miami Dolphins, Atlanta Falcons, and Indianapolis Colts
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Mike Morgan is a Senior Editor for Inside Sparta. You may contact Mike with any questions, comments, or tips at firstname.lastname@example.org
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