LOGAN, Utah – The Idaho Vandals put forth a spirited effort at Utah State Saturday afternoon but the same troubles that haunted the Vandals throughout the season – turnovers, penalties, an inability to convert on third down, continued to plague them.
The result was the No. 25 Aggies won 45-9 to claim the final Western Athletic Conference football title and improve to 10-2 overall and 6-0 in the league. Idaho fell to 1-11 and 1-5.
"That was the story of our season," said interim head coach Jason Gesser, who led the Vandals through the final four games of the season. "I'm proud of our guys' fight. They battled."
Gesser did apologize for a late-game scuffle on the USU sideline.
"I do apologize for that," he said.
Junior quarterback Taylor Davis threw three inceptions in the first half. One was returned 59 yards for a score and the Aggies ultimately scored off of the other two for a 21-0 lead with 13:03 left in the first.
Idaho was, however, able to rely on the consistent leg of senior Trey Farquhar. After a second-quarter Vandal drive fizzled in the second quarter, Farquhar added the first points for Idaho with a 38-yard field goal with 7:59 left in the first half.
Freshman Solomon Dixon set up Idaho’s next score with his third interception of the season. Again, the Vandals couldn’t make their way into the end zone and Farquhar was summoned for a 46-yard field goal as time expired in the first half for a 21-6 halftime score.
"They racked up a couple of big plays," Gesser said. "Our defense made some stops; did some good things. Offensively, we could not move the ball."
The Vandal defense did hold the high-octane USU offense to just 250 total yards - well below its season average of nearly 480.
Idaho’s first drive of the second half had a couple big scares – a possible fumble, but wound up with Farquhar called upon again. This time is was a 52-yarder that was good to cut the gap to 21-9 with 9:55 left in the third.
The Aggies responded quickly, though, with a two-play, 55-yard drive to push its lead to 28-9 with 9:20 left in the third. The teams traded punts throughout the remainder of the quarter but the Aggies added another score – a 45-yard field goal by Nick Diaz with 11:37 left in the game.
The Aggies tacked on two fourth-quarter touchdowns for the final score.