Idaho's strong defensive start falls by the wayside

Wyoming rebounds from a scoreless first quarter to hand Idaho a big loss.

STAFF AND WIRE REPORTSSeptember 8, 2013 

Idaho Wyoming Football

University of Wyoming defender Sonny Puletasi sacks University of Idaho quarterback Chad Chalich during the first half of an NCAA college football game at War Memorial Stadium Saturday, Sept. 7, 2013 in Laramie, Wyo. (AP Photo/The Wyoming Tribune Eagle, Michael Smith)


LARAMIE, Wyo. — The Idaho Vandals started strong.

And faded quickly.

Idaho played Wyoming to a scoreless tie in the first quarter, then after a 33-minute lightning delay, gave up three second-quarter TDs en route to a 42-10 loss.

“Our defense played really well in the first quarter and our offense let them down,” coach Paul Petrino said after the Vandals fell to 0-2. “We had some opportunities to move the ball and give the defense a chance.”

The Vandals scored twice in the fourth — on a 41-yard field goal by Austin Rehkow and a 1-yard run by James Baker.

Quarterback Chad Chalich completed 22-of-32 passes for 182 yards, and Joshua McCain was the Vandals’ leading rusher with 49 yards on 10 carries.

An emphasis on the running game didn’t pan out. The Vandals finished with 139 yards on the ground.

“It was disheartening,” Petrino said. “I was going to run it all night. We just didn’t execute. We were doing a lot of silly things that kill you. ... Our football intelligence right now is not very high.’’

The Cowboys limited Idaho to 5-of-20 on third-down conversions and had seven sacks.

Dezmon Epps had six catches for 61 yards, and Mike LaGrone had six for 56 to lead the receiving corps. Jayshawn Jordan and Marc Millan led the defense with nine tackles each, with Millan accounting for two sacks and three tackles for loss.

Wyoming quarterback Brett Smith was the difference-maker.

He set a school record by netting 72 passing and rushing TDs in his career. Just a junior, Smith surpassed the previous record of 70 set by quarterback Casey Bramlet from 2000-03.

“It makes me feel good because that means we’re putting points up on the board and doing well as an offense,” Smith said after throwing four TDs.

After starting 1-of-10, Smith hit 22-of-38 passes for 295 yards for Wyoming (1-1). Three of his TD passes went to Dominic Rufran, who scored on passes of 1, 6 and 40 yards — all in the third quarter.

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