Ryan Bass gained 121 yards on 19 carries
THE VANDALS, FIGHTING FOR THEIR FIRST WIN OF THE 2012 SEASON, had their best shot yet against Wyoming. Unfortunately for Idaho (0-4), it would be Wyoming (1-3) getting away with the victory as the Cowboys connected for a touchdown in overtime to topple the Vandals 40-37 in Moscow. Idaho ammassed 509 yards of total offense, by far their best effort yet. But big Cowboy plays were the difference.
Despite the best offensive performance of the season by far by the Idaho offense (509 yards total offense and 34 points in regulation, balanced between 306 yards passing and 203 yards rushing), and heavy pressure by the Vandal defensive front for most of the game, it was Idaho's vulnerability to Wyoming's big play offense that thwarted the Idaho's effort. The Cowboys connected on passes of 80, 73, and 39 yards to set up Wyoming scores, nullifying an otherwise solid defensive effort that led to three QB sacks, six tackles for loss, five QB hurries, four pass breakups, and a forced fumble.
Below is a summary of Idaho's top performers against the Cowboys on Saturday:
Dominique Blackman - Against Wyoming, Blackman was the driving force behind the Vandal offense as he completed a stellar 34 of 46 pass attempts for 306 yards and three touchdowns. He also scored Idaho's lone rushing touchdown on a quarterback keeper. However, a second half Blackman fumble at the Wyoming goal line, followed by a big Vandal defensive breakdown that allowed the Cowboys to score, provided a pivotal turning point in the game. With the Vandals having completed another length of the field drive and nursing a 27-20 lead, Idaho lined up at the Wyoming two yard line and Blackman attempted a quarterback sneak that would have given the Vandals a two touchdown lead. Instead, as Blackman reached the ball towards the goal line a Wyoming defender knocked the ball loose, and the Cowboys recovered at the three yard line. Wyoming then drove the length of the field (aided by a 73-yard pass completion from their own endzone) to knot the game up at 27-27. The Cowboys later added another TD to give them a 34-27 lead. But a furious Idaho finish, engineered by Blackman, sent the game into overtime as he drove the Vandals 69 yards and connected on a dramatic 8 yard touchdown strike on the last play of regulation to send the game into overtime.
Quayshawne Buckley - The junior defensive tackle for the Vandals was part of a Vandal D-line that put substantial pressure on the Cowboy quarterback most of the day. Buckley recorded five tackles on the afternoon, but two of those were quarterback sacks that went for 15 yards in losses. As a defensive front, Idaho yielded just 80 net yards rushing to Wyoming, as their top rusher gained only 25 on the day.
Trey Farquhar - The senior field goal kicker was outstanding against Wyoming, going a perfect three of three attempts. He was good from 26 and 53 yards in regulation, and then connected on a clutch 49 yard attempt in overtime that gave the Vandals a 37-34 lead.
Ryan Bass - Behind a young offensive line that continues to develop effectively as the season progresses, Bass finally was able to kick it into high gear a few times Saturday against the Cowboys. He finished the day as the top overall rusher, finishing with 121 yards on 19 carries, including a long of 34 yards. The Vandals amassed 203 yards rushing on the afternoon (509 yards total offense), as this was clearly their best rushing effort of 2012.
Mike Scott - Time and time again, Idaho's receivers came up big against Wyoming, with very few dropped balls and numerous clutch receptions. On this day, it was senior Mike Scott that led the Vandals with 79 yards receiving on 8 receptions, including being on the receiving end of an acrobatic catch in the endzone that tied the game up at 34-34 as time expired.
Najee Lovett - Like Scott, Najee Lovett also had eight receptions against the Cowboys, but he also scored two touchdowns for the Vandals, including Idaho's first TD of the game.
Roman Runner and Jahrie Level - Runner and Level rounded out Idaho's top receivers for the Cowboys, and this group is proving to be very effective for the Vandals. Roman provided some explosion for the Vandal O, hauling in four passes for 56 yards, including a key 38 yard reception. Level has been steady throughout the season, and his five receptions on the day were crucial to keeping drives alive.
LINK: Heartbreak! Vandals fall in OT (OFFICIAL Idaho Site, Summary & Stats)
LINK: Idaho football team loses to Wyoming in Overtime (Times-News)
LINK: Wyoming beats Idaho in Moscow thriller (Star Tribune)