The Idaho Vandals must have been feeling generous Saturday, and now New Mexico State no longer has the longest losing streak in the nation.
Idaho led by 20 points in the first half and 23 in the third quarter before the Aggies rallied back to force overtime, where they won 55-48 for their first victory in 18 games.
“We were up by 14 points with five minutes left to go and we shouldn’t lose. ... Bottom line is, we can’t lose that game. We were ahead by way too much way too many times to lose that game,’’ coach Paul Petrino said.
Larry Rose III scored on 1-yard runs three times in the fourth quarter to bring New Mexico State back from its 23-point deficit to start the second half, then punched in from the 2-yard-line in overtime.
Idaho (3-5, 2-3 Sun Belt) quarterback Matt Linehan was intercepted to end the Vandals’ possession in overtime. Linehan scored on a 19-yard run to make it 40-21 with 14:13 left in regulation.
Andrew Allen hit Royce Caldwelll with a 61-yard touchdown pass to spark the comeback for New Mexico State (1-7, 1-3), and Rose crunched in three times in a span of 9 minutes and tied the game at 48-48 with 51 seconds left.
The Vandals, who had won two straight for the first time since the 2009-10 seasons, play at South Alabama on Saturday.
MONTANA WESTERN 27, COLLEGE OF IDAHO 23
CALDWELL — Despite record-setting performances by quarterback Teejay Gordon and wide receiver Tyler Higby, the Yotes (3-6, 3-5 Frontier) could not overcome 12 penalties and four turnovers in a loss before 3,388 fans at Simplot Stadium.
Gordon broke school record for pass completions in a game (27), passing yards in a game (371) and his own record for single-season passing yards (1,957).
Higby (Borah High) had the school’s most prolific day receiving since 1969. He caught 10 passes for 168 yards, becoming just the third Coyote with at least 10 receptions and 160 receiving yards in a game. Kyle Merritt led the Yotes with 55 yards rushing.
C of I set the tone on the opening kickoff and marched 95 yards in nine plays, with Gordon finding Higby on a 45-yard touchdown pass. But the 16th-ranked Bulldogs (6-2, 6-2) responded with two scores in less than 90 seconds to make it 13-7.
Montana Western led 20-10 at halftime, but was outscored 13-7 in the second half when A.J. Martin (Idaho Falls High) scored on runs of 9 and 2 yards for the Yotes.
The Yotes play at Eastern Oregon next Saturday.
SIMIS, MONTANA LOSE IN PORTLAND
PORTLAND — Alex Kuresa threw two touchdown passes and ran for two more to lead Portland State (7-1, 4-1 Big Sky) to a 35-16 victory over Montana (4-4, 3-2).
Makena Simis (Capital High), who threw a school-tying six touchdown passes in his first collegiate start last week against North Dakota, was picked off three times by Patrick Onwuasor on consecutive drives in the first quarter. Simis finished 15-of-36 for 134 yards, and he ran for a team-high 62 yards, including a 1-yard score with 5 minutes to play.