Teejay Gordon passed for 298 yards and three touchdowns as the College of Idaho stunned six-time NAIA national champion Carroll College 35-21 on Saturday before 4,455 fans on Senior Day at Simplot Stadium.
The Yotes (4-7, 4-6 Frontier) used three huge defensive stops in the fourth quarter to defeat the Fighting Saints — avenging a 69-12 loss in Helena, Mont., last season — and pulling the C of I into a tie for fourth place in the final conference standings.
Leading 28-21 in the fourth quarter, the C of I defense forced the Saints into three 3-and-outs — including a sack by Carroll transfer Nate Moore (Mountain View High) and two sacks by Josh Price (Borah High) — to keep the defending league champs at bay.
Taking over at their own 32-yard line with just over five minutes remaining, the Yotes got a 43-yard pass play from Gordon to Shayne Robinson on third down to move the chains. Gordon added a 6-yard run on a third-and-6 to extend the drive, followed by a 4-yard scoring run to put the game out of reach.
Gordon added 72 of the Yotes’ 208 yards on the ground, part of a 506-yard offensive attack.
Carroll (4-6, 4-6) took the opening kickoff and marched 81 yards in nine plays, as Dylan Green bowled over from a yard out for a 7-0 lead. C of I answered with a four-play, 75-yard drive, as Kyle Merritt busted loose for a 60-yard touchdown run, the longest running play of the year for the Yotes.
The Saints took advantage of two C of I penalties to drive to the Yotes 3-yard-line, but were unable to find the end zone, with freshman Marcus Kroma blocking Braden Braesicke’s 20-yard field goal attempt.
On the Yotes next play, Gordon found Tyler Higby (Borah High) on a hitch route, with the junior racing 87 yards to the end zone for a 14-7 lead.
After a Carroll punt, the Yotes pushed the lead to 21-7 on a quick three-play, 59-yard drive, with Gordon heaving a 34-yard touchdown pass to Higby, who finished with three catches for 136 yards and two touchdowns.
Leading 21-14 at the break, C of I extended the lead on the first drive of the second half, as Gordon found a wide open Robinson on a 35-yard scoring strike. Carroll answered, as Mac Roche looped a 45-yard touchdown pass to Troy Arntson, before the defenses took over.
Merritt led the Yotes with 85 yards rushing on 16 attempts, while Higby added 188 all-purpose yards — catching three passes for 136 yards and rushing three times for 52 yards.
Roche was 17-of-33 for 293 yards for the Saints, with Arntson catching four passes for 105 yards and a score. Walsh rushed 21 yards for 85 yards in the loss.
NOTES: The 87-yard pass reception by Higby was the second longest in program history, behind a Cisco Limbago 93-yard touchdown catch in 1968 vs. Willamette. ... B.J. Newman led the Yotes with 12 tackles and a fumble recovery, while Jordan Vielma had nine tackles and two sacks. ... Kevin McLemore punted five times for 49.2 yards, including a monster 71-yard punt — the second-longest in program history. ... Gordon finished the season with 2,372 yards passing — the most in program history, while his career total of 4,100 yards sets a career school record. ... Both Austin Diffey (44 receptions) and Marcus Lenhardt (40 receptions) — both from Eagle High — become the first C of I players to record 40 or more receptions in back-to-back seasons.