Idaho takes a pounding from Fresno State

Vandals suffer worst home loss, falling 61-14.

dsouthorn@idahostatesman.comOctober 6, 2013 

Idaho fullback Jake Manley tackles Fresno State’s Derron Smith after Smith intercepted a Chad Chalich pass during the first half Saturday at the Kibbie Dome.

DEAN HARE — The Associated Press

MOSCOW — The Kibbie Dome has seen some tough times in recent years, but nothing quite like what transpired Saturday.

No. 23 Fresno State, with Heisman Trophy candidate quarterback Derek Carr behind center, sliced and diced the Idaho defense, scoring the first 54 points of a 61-14 win.

The 47-point margin was the biggest loss for the Vandals ever in Moscow.

“We knew that was going to happen at times this year, but it shouldn’t happen that bad,” Idaho coach Paul Petrino said.

“It really shouldn’t. … That was pretty embarrassing.”

Idaho fell to 1-5, while Fresno State is off to its first 5-0 start since 2001.

The Bulldogs’ 734 yards of total offense were 23 shy of a school record, and their 312 rushing yards were the most since 2009 when they ran for 320 against Boise State.

Carr completed 31-of-37 passes for 390 yards with five TD passes and an interception in the first half alone, completing 6-of-11 for 29 yards in the second half. Carr hit receiver Davante Adams 16 times for 185 yards and three scores.

“He was on task,” Fresno State coach Tim DeRuyter said. “We expect that out of him. … We had some personnel matchups that were advantageous for us.”

Carr led the Bulldogs to touchdowns on their first five drives, with Carr throwing two to Adams, one to Josh Harper and another to Isaiah Burse in the first 13 minutes, 17 seconds of the game.

Fresno State did not punt in the first half, but did turn the ball over twice, though Idaho didn’t take advantage. The result of the other seven possessions: six touchdowns and a field goal. The Bulldogs amassed 577 yards of offense on 59 plays, with their first five scoring drives taking a combined 5 minutes, 49 seconds.

“Defensively, we really just couldn’t do anything against them in the first half,” Petrino said. “They just kind of picked us apart at will.”

The Vandals didn’t exactly do themselves any favors, either, giving Fresno State extra opportunities to score.

Idaho quarterback Chad Chalich, who began his collegiate career with 155 passes without an interception, had back-to-back picks midway through the first quarter. Both ended up as Bulldog touchdowns on the ensuing drive.

“Fresno wasn’t better than us, we just let down in the first half,” Idaho receiver Dezmon Epps said.

Even when Idaho created positive momentum, something went horribly wrong.

On the Vandals’ second possession, trailing 7-0, Chalich led Idaho to the Bulldogs’ 20, but was intercepted at the 14.

Five plays and 50 seconds later, Fresno State made it 14-0.

Down 28-0, the Vandals got to the Fresno 19, but tight end Michael LaGrone fumbled to end the first quarter. The Bulldogs went 81 yards in five plays to make it 35-0.

Jayshawn Jordan intercepted Carr at Idaho’s 9-yard line with 11:17 until halftime.

The next play, Chalich was sacked for a safety that made it 37-0.

Marius Burgsmueller forced and recovered a fumble at the Bulldogs’ 30-yard line on the ensuing drive.

Four plays later, running back James Baker was stuffed for no gain on a fourth-and-1. The Bulldogs turned that into another touchdown to go up 44-0.

“A week ago, we let momentum affect us, but I think we responded to adversity much better this week,” DeRuyter said.

Idaho got on the board with two fourth-quarter touchdowns, the first a 16-yard pass from Josh McCain to Epps with 13:11 to go, and the last a 15-yard pass from Chalich to running back James Baker with 5:49 left.

The Kibbie Dome had proven to be a place of comfort early on for the Vandals, who challenged Northern Illinois in a 45-35 loss Sept. 14, and defeated Temple 26-24 last Saturday.

Against the Bulldogs, it was a house of horrors.

“In the last four weeks, you really felt like we stepped forward a whole bunch (against NIU) and then got our butts kicked by Washington State (42-0 on Sept. 21), and then stepped forward a whole bunch and got our butts kicked today,” Petrino said.

Dave Southorn: 377-6420, Twitter: @IDS_southorn

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