Victory no option in Texas
The Vandal football team dealt with game-delaying lightning storms ahead of kickoff Saturday in San Marcos, Texas. Shortly after kickoff, Idaho dealt with more lightning, this time stemming from the efficient, option-style offense Texas State used to perfection in a 38-7 Bobcat victory.
A week after their first season victory made them 1-0 in the WAC, the Vandals were worn down in almost every aspect of the game by the host Bobcats, who joined FBS ranks in early July.
“It was a miserable game,” Idaho coach Robb Akey said. “We have to play better on defense. We didn’t tackle well. Texas State played well. It was a bad combination.”
Led by quarterback Shaun Rutherford, Texas State opened up with its option scheme and went airborne to close out its initial drive with a 30-yard touchdown pass from Rutherford to receiver Andy Erickson.
On their first offensive possession, the Vandals drove 41 yards before handing it over to WAC Special Teams Player of the Week Trey Farquhar. Farquhar sent the 55-yarder wide, his second missed field goal of the season. That’s the kind of day it would be for the now 1-6 Vandals, who visit Ruston, La., next week to meet a La. Tech team that was a field goal shy of beating Texas A&M Saturday evening.
Rutherford ran riot on a helpless Vandal defense, and the senior captain led all players with 85 rushing yards on 15 carries.
“I think it was a game of opportunity that we had plenty of, it was a one score game for a long, long period of time and that tells me we had opportunities in all three phases of the game,” Akey said.
The teams exchanged punts before Rutherford led another Bobcat drive, which would last eight and a half minutes before the Bay City, Texas, native called an option keeper and ran into the end zone untouched.
Dominique Blackman and the Vandal offense did little right Saturday afternoon, but they caught a break midway through the second when Blackman heaved a deep pass to an athletic Jahrie Level, who pulled it down over cornerback Craig Mager.
The pass accounted for 38 of Blackman’s 161 yards on the game and set the Vandals up on the Bobcat 32-yard line. A 21-yard run from Ryan Bass followed and promptly moved the offense to the 3-yard line, where power back James Baker took it into the end zone for his first touchdown as a Vandal.
Akey praised the play of his JC transfer running back.
“James was someone that we recognized yesterday as a guy that made a lot of positive things throughout the course of the game, he’s going to continue to contribute for us,” Akey said.
Idaho’s only touchdown cut the deficit to seven points, but Texas State reeled off 24 consecutive points. The option continued to thrive throughout the second half as all three of the Bobcats’ second half scores came on the ground.
Eight Texas State players rushed for 339 yards and four touchdowns while the Bobcats racked up 519 yards of total offense.
With Blackman throwing just 15 of 28 for 161 yards, the Idaho offense failed to exceed 350 yards of offense for the fourth time this season. Five players combined for 129 rushing yards.
Idaho faces a more than daunting test in Ruston Saturday. The Bulldogs, who were ranked No. 23 in the nation prior to their loss against the SEC Aggies, are still receiving Top 25 votes.
Theo Lawson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org