GAME NOTES: Two teams tied for fourth place in the Western Athletic Conference standings get together at the Kibbie Dome in Moscow on Saturday, as the Idaho Vandals entertain the Roadrunners of Texas-San Antonio.
One of the newest members to the WAC, the Roadrunners had much success during their non-conference schedule as they rattled off four straight wins to begin the season and then took out New Mexico State in their first league bout, but since then there hasn't been too much celebrating in San Antonio.
However, last weekend the team did manage to bring an end to a four-game slide with a 31-24 win over McNeese State. While the victory came outside of conference and outside of the Football Bowl Subdivision for that matter, the good news is that the Roadrunners are now two games over .500 with two games to play.
As for the Vandals, the 2012 campaign has been a huge disaster, to the point where head coach Robb Akey was let go and offensive coordinator Jason Gesser was asked to step in as the interim. Like the Roadrunners, Idaho has also defeated New Mexico State in conference play, but in this case that's been the only triumph for the Vandals during the long grind.
Last week was another disappointing effort as Idaho was crushed by BYU on the road in Provo, 53-12, which means the team has now fallen in four straight and nine of the last 10, not to mention being outscored during this current slide by a combined 202-61.
This is the first-ever meeting between these two schools on the football field.
Against the Cowboys in the Alamodome, UTSA got a wake-up call in the second half as it generated more than 200 yards of offense and 24 points as it held on for the seven-point home win. Eric Soza led the way with 262 yards and two touchdowns through the air, as well as one touchdown on the ground. Also playing a key role on offense was Evans Okotcha with his 50 yards and one TD running and three catches and a score through the air.
The pass defense for the Roadrunners was exposed by McNeese State as the visitors threw for 346 yards and a couple of scores, but at the same time UTSA was able to log a couple of sacks and an interception. Brandon Reeves and Nic Johnston led the way with 13 and 10 tackles, respectively, with a combined 1.5 sacks as well.
Reeves now has a team-best 77 tackles in 10 starts for the Roadrunners, while Steven Kurfehs has accounted for 4.5 TFLs and 3.5 sacks on the campaign.
Soza, who missed a couple of games due to injury, continues to put up solid numbers for the Roadrunners, from his 59.3 percent accuracy to his 17 touchdowns and just one interception. Okotcha not only leads the way with eight rushing TDs, he is also tied for the most overall receptions with 20, leading to another three scores.
To be honest, the Vandals are lucky the score with BYU wasn't even more lopsided last week, given the other opportunities the Cougars had to score but did not capitalize. Nevertheless, the Idaho defense still surrendered 537 yards of offense and was left out on the field for 87 plays. The visitors did come up with a pair of fumble recoveries, but those were not nearly enough to make the game even remotely competitive.
Logan Bushnell converted 19-of-35 passes for 206 yards, one touchdown and a couple of picks, while kicker Trey Farquhar booted a pair of field goals in the second half.
Idaho's offense has been abysmal in 2012, generating a mere 15.4 ppg which is easily the lowest average among 120 FBS schools. The run game is virtually non-existent as the group produces just 78.6 ypg, last in the conference and 117th in the nation. Part of the problem came with former starting quarterback Dominique Blackman, who has since been dismissed from the program, and his learning the system. Now everything has to be turned around to suit the abilities of Bushnell.
But the problems don't only lie on offense in Moscow, because the defense is just as culpable while giving up more than 500 ypg in total offense and a staggering 43.0 ppg which is third-worst in the nation right now.
If the Vandals hope to add even one more win to their ledger this season it has to come this weekend because the next and final opponent on the schedule is Utah State on the road and that's just not going to be a comfortable situation for Idaho. Unfortunately, Soza and the Roadrunners won't let it happen here either.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Texas-San Antonio 38, Idaho 17
11/14 10:41:34 ET
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