The #3-ranked Vandals beat California for the first time in 12 years with their win over Cal Poly on Saturday.
Idaho (5-1) came into the game with two ranked wins, while Cal Poly (2-6) lost to #20 UC Davis. The Vandals dominated from start to finish in a 42-14 victory.
Leading the way in scoring was redshirt freshman wide receiver Jordan Dwyer. Of the five players who scored, only Dwyer got into the end zone twice. He also had just three receptions, one from each guy to throw a pass.
Two quarterbacks, redshirt sophomore Gevani McCoy and redshirt sophomore Jack Layne, completed a pass to Dwyer. However, none of them got past Dwyer’s first touch.
Senior running back Nick Romano took the snap, then handed it off to McCoy, who laid it off to redshirt junior WR Hayden Hatten. Hatten aired it 32 yards downfield to a fully covered Dwyer, but he managed to haul in the catch despite the pass interference. Hatten has now passed for as many touchdowns as he has received this season.
“Jordan caught a pass that interfered with the play and still went ahead and got it,” Head Coach Jason Eck said in a press conference. “It’s better to get a touchdown and get a penalty than just get 15 yards.”
Dwyer’s second touchdown was almost as good of a story as the first. It started with the ball falling out of redshirt freshman QB Bo Kelly’s hands and onto junior linebacker Syrr Barnes. From there, freshman running back Art Williams gained a yard on his second college snap. A one-yard run by Williams was followed by a one-yard pass from Layne, which broke for a 27-yard touchdown to Dwyer.
While Jack Layne put up his second touchdown of the season, his twin brother Dylan Lane put up defensive stats. The redshirt freshman linebacker made three solo tackles and two tackles for loss.
Leading the defensive side was graduate student linebacker Tre Thomas, with six solo tackles and a QB hurry. However, it’s a guy at the bottom of the stat sheet who probably has one of the biggest impacts.
Redshirt sophomore defensive lineman Zach Krotzer has a number on his stat line. It was one of two interceptions against the Mustangs.
“On the screen, Xavier Slayton tipped it, and Zach Krotzer intercepted it,” Eck said. “It’s great to see two backups play well.”
All around, it was a game for Idaho’s second boys. Romano leads in rushing yards with 77 on 13 attempts. Jack Layne, although he only entered with three minutes left in the third quarter, was 4/5 for 35 yards.
On the defensive side, with Krotzer, this is a guy who wasn’t a starter until a few weeks ago. Junior defensive back Kyrin Beachem stepped up after junior DB Murvin Kenion went down with an injury against Nevada. Beachem was the other player with an interception.
Although the Vandals played well today and have a chance to use their depth, they have a big challenge at #17 Montana next week. The Griz are coming off a 31-23 win over #20 UC Davis. Luckily for Idaho, the Kibbie Dome is almost sold out.
“When I was an assistant here in 2006, I was here for the Boise State game, and that was an electric environment, and I wish this environment was even more electric,” Eck said when asked about those men. “Every sports bar in America has a game show, so this is a great opportunity for our fans and our team to show what they’re all about.”
Idaho will look to not only appear on national television but also keep Little Brown Stein at home on October 14 at 7:30 pm The last game between Idaho and Montana until 2025 can be watched on ESPN2.