As the temperature dropped and the rain turned to snow, Utah State dropped their final home game of the season to Idaho, 28-6. Twice the Aggies were in the red zone and both times could only muster field goals. The Vandals, on the other hand, utilized big plays by their senior quarterback Nathan Enderle. “If you break the game down, they were able to execute,” USU head coach Gary Andersen said following the game. “Two for two in the red zone kicking field goals won’t win you games.” “This was a very disappointing football game,” Andersen continued. “I take the blame for that.” Enderle threw for 243 yards and three touchdowns, two of them to senior 6’6″ wide receiver Eric Greenwood who tallied 114 yards on only four receptions. “Big plays killed us all season and that’s what we saw today,” USU senior defensive tackle Sean Enesi said of the game Saturday. Vandal running back Deonte Jackson also accounted for two touchdowns, one on the ground and one through the air. Enderle did throw one interception as Idaho took a shot at the endzone but was picked off by Curtis Marsh. Diondre Borel, by contrast, was 14 of 35 for 103 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions. Several of his passes were on target, particularly in the second half, but were dropped. Borel has become notorious for playing poorly in bad weather and Saturday was no different. “Tough way for Diondre to go out,” Andersen said of his senior signal caller. “He battled through a tough senior year, battled very admirably after losing so many teammates. He’ll come to play his last game for sure.” Derrvin Speight tallied 80 yards rushing on 17 carries, leading the Aggie rushing attack. The young freshman Robert Marshall also carried the ball seven times for a pounding 27 yards. Marshall was also responsible for a 4th down conversion on USU’s second drive of the first quarter. Facing a 4th and 3 on Idaho’s 36 yard line, Marshall got the hand off and bulldozed his way to the 32, giving USU another set of downs. USU was faced with another 4th down on the 29 yard line. It appeared that the Aggies were opting for a squib kick by Caldwell but it quickly turned into a fake. Caldwell pitched the ball to Diondre Borel who then threw the ball 11 yards downfield to Bobby Wagner, USU’s outstanding linebacker who was in on special teams. Despite the fourth down conversions and trick play, USU only managed a field goal after getting as close as the 18 yard line. The Idaho offense started clicking late in the first quarter and throughout the second quarter. In the second quarter, Idaho threw the ball for 98 yards on seven attempts, compared to USU’s four yards on seven attempts. The weather turned south at half time and kept getting worse throughout the second half with rain turning to snow and eventually sticking to Merlin Olsen Field in the fourth quarter. While USU ended up with more team rushing yards (139 compared to Idaho’s 112), it seemed Idaho controlled the line of scrimmage throughout the game. “We didn’t win the line of scrimmage and that affected the outcome,” explained senior offensive tackle Spencer Johnson. Idaho used a methodic, 79 yard, 15-play drive taking over seven minutes off the clock to keep the USU offense off the field early in the fourth quarter with the game close at 14-6. The drive included two fourth-down conversions and Jackson ended the drive on a three-yard run with 8:50 to play to give Idaho a 21-6 lead. Jackson would score three minutes later on a 10-yard pass from Enderle to put the game away for the Vandals. “We’ll continue to progress with the young kids and take extra time to prepare for Boise,” Coach Andersen said of how USU will utilize the bye week late in the season. “We’ll take a lot of the time to work with the young kids and they’ll have about 20 extra practices in them which should pay dividends down the road.” NOTES: Announced attendance was 14,072 although it didn’t look like there could have been more than 8,000 fans in attendance. 23 seniors were recognized before the game began on USU’s final home game of the season.
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