Vandals stop Texas State's run game, but can’t slow down air attack

Bobcats dust off their passing game with great success; Idaho drops its fourth in a row.


MOSCOW — Tyler Jones passed for two touchdowns and Robert Lowe ran for two as Texas State cruised past Idaho 37-21 on Saturday in the Kibbie Dome.

The Bobcats (6-3), who won their third consecutive game to become bowl eligible, averaged just 139.8 passing yards per game before Saturday. They instead relied on their read-option-based rushing attack (199.2).

They flipped the script this time.

Jones was 13-of-14 passing in the first half, and he finished 19-of-24 for 228 yards. The visitors gained just 108 yards on the ground, led by Lowe’s 61 on 17 attempts.

“We committed to saying they’re not going to beat us with the run,” Idaho head coach Paul Petrino said. “We didn’t want to let them run the ball right down our throats. We wanted to make them beat us throwing — and they did.”

Trailing 23-14 in the third quarter, the Vandals (1-8) failed to convert on fourth-and-5 from their 38. The Bobcats took advantage, twice converting on fourth down, including Tim Gay’s 20-yard scoring run.

In the fourth quarter, Jones faked a keeper and found Terrence Franks alone for a 67-yard score and a comfortable 37-14 lead.

Texas State took a 23-14 lead as the first half ended when Isaiah Battle made a one-handed, 4-yard reception in the corner of the end zone.

Idaho’s James Baker rushed for 114 yards and a TD, his second 100-yard effort in the past three games. Taylor Davis, who started the year as the third-string QB, was 20-of-35 passing for 181 yards and two TDs to freshmen — one each to Richard Montgomery and Deon Watson.

It was Davis’ first game completing more than 50 percent of his passes since taking over for the injured Chad Chalich as the starter.

“We’re just not quite there yet,” Petrino said. “Our kids fought. They fought from play one to the end. That’s part of the process. We’re going to keep fighting.”

Idaho, which will join Texas State in the Sun Belt Conference next season, completes its home schedule next week against Old Dominion, which is 0-3 against FBS foes this season (East Carolina, Pittsburgh, Maryland).

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