After falling behind two touchdowns, the mood in the Kibbie Dome was dampened yet again when wide receiver Marsel Posey left the game on a stretcher after running into the East end zone wall. The Vandals extended their current losing streak to four games, after dropping the Homecoming game to La. Tech 24-11 on Saturday.
“Very disappointed,” coach Robb Akey said. “The goal coming into this game was to get a winning streak started, getting ourselves to play the football that we can play and that certainly didn’t happen today.”
A defensive battle between the WAC opponents saw only 15 points scored in the first half and the only touchdown came from La. Tech’s Jay Dudley ran back an interception.
The Vandal defense proved a force to be reckoned with and late in the second quarter when defensive end Andre Ferguson brought down La. Tech running back Lennon Creer in the end zone for a safety.
Nevertheless, quarterback Brian Reader and the offense weren’t able to get things rolling and Idaho’s only other first half points came from a Trey Farquhar field goal.
“Some things weren’t falling all the way, I put a lot of this blame on myself, I need to play better, the team needs to play better,” Reader said. “The defense did a great job today, when they make stops we need to put points on the board. So once we start putting points on the board we’ll be a lot better off.”
Justin Veltung would finish with Idaho’s only touchdown, which came from a 81-yard punt return that saw the junior juke a few Bulldogs before burning down to the end zone to close the gap and leave La. Tech with a 13-point cushion.
Reader attempted to connect with Posey for the two-point conversion but the junior was unable to hold on and ran through the end zone into a set of curtains covering a metal wall. An ambulance and stretcher were brought onto the field but Posey’s status is yet to be fully determined.
“It looks very positive right now. He woke up and was fully able to move arms and legs so that’s very positive,” Akey said.
Less positive was Reader’s passing game, which took a turn for the worst as the senior went 19 for 47, completing 40 percent of his passes while throwing for three interceptions.
Though Reader had 244 passing yards, the inability to finish off drives led to 11 punts from Bobby Cowan.
“Losing four games in a row now, confidence starts to get lower and lower and lower especially after a game like that,” Reader said. “There’s no reason why that confidence can’t go back up, personally it’s got to go back up, as a leader on this team I have to show confidence.”
The Vandals’ rushing game was nearly inexistent and though running back Ryan Bass was in full uniform, the Arizona State transfer didn’t see any action. Princeton McCarty and Kama Bailey combined for 65 rushing yards on 20 carries, averaging less than 2.5 yards per carry.
The Bulldogs didn’t exactly have an offensive field day, and finished with 353 offensive yards. 18-year-old quarterback Nick Isham was sacked three times and was 25 for 39 with 163 passing yards.
La. Tech found a hole in the Vandals’ run defense and freshman running back Hunter Lee averaged almost five yards per carry, concluding with 135 rushing yards while Lennon Creer rushed for 55 yards on 12 carries.
Linebacker Korey Toomer tallied two sacks and 10 tackles but despite another strong defensive showing, frustration lingers.
“There’s always going to be frustration, but what we do on defense is rally around our offense, we’re going to pat them on the back and tell them to come on,” Toomer said. “We’re going to get them back on the field every time, that’s the way our defense is. We execute and we go out there and get them back on the field, that’s our job.”
The offense hasn’t scored in regulation for two games now and Akey welcomed the idea of giving sophomore quarterback Taylor Davis playing time in the wake of Reader’s current slump.
Idaho travel to Las Cruces, N.M. next weekend for a 5:00 P.M. match-up with WAC foe New Mexico State.