Fresno State struggles to beat Idaho 45-32

10/12/2008 Fresno, CA Coming off a disappointing loss to Hawaii that knocked them out of the top 25, the Bulldogs (4-2 overall, 1-1 Western Athletic Conference) struggled to put away a Vandals squad that has lost 16 straight conference games.

Nathan Enderle passed for 237 yards and three touchdowns for Idaho (1-6, 0-3), including two to Preston Davis.

After pulling to within 42-32 on Deonte Jackson's 2-yard touchdown with 7:48 left, Idaho tried its second consecutive onside kick but was unsuccessful after recovering one and converting it into a touchdown a few minutes earlier.

The Bulldogs drove 12 yards on six plays before Kevin Goessling booted a 46-yard field goal, a line drive that almost skimmed the crossbar, with 4:57 left.

Seyi Ajirotutu scored two touchdowns for Fresno State, one on a 15-yard reception to close the first half and another on a fumble recovery.

Idaho outgained the Bulldogs 452 to 433 in total yardage and won the time of possession battle but couldn't stop Fresno State's three-headed ground game, which combined for a season-high tying 318 yards. Besides Miller, who had a 90-yard touchdown, Anthony Harding rushed for 94 yards and Ryan Mathews added 57.

Leading by 11 points at halftime, the Bulldogs went ahead 28-10 with a touchdown on their opening possession of the third quarter. The four-play, 85-yard drive was capped by three consecutive runs of 19 yards or longer by three different tailbacks.

After Miller gained 19 yards, Harding burst through a gaping hole in the Vandals' defense for a 44-yard pickup to the 20. Then Mathews took over, dodging several would-be tacklers on his way to a 20-yard score.

Idaho answered with a drive deep into Bulldogs territory, but quarterback Quin Ashley coughed up the fall when hit by linebacker Nico Herron. Defensive end Chris Lewis made the recovery at the 10.

On the next play, Miller burst off tackle and sprinted down the sideline for a 90-yard touchdown without any Idaho defender even laying a hand on him.

Fresno State led 21-10 at halftime after the teams traded touchdowns in the final 1:28 of the second quarter.

The Bulldogs moved 65 yards on nine plays on their final possession, capped by Brandstater's 15-yard touchdown pass to Ajirotutu with 22 seconds left. The score came two plays after Ajirotutu dropped the ball on a similar pass.

Ajirotutu scored his first touchdown by recovering Anthony Harding's fumble in the end zone with 13:18 left in the second quarter, which put Fresno State ahead 14-3.

Idaho pulled to within 14-10 on Enderle's 17-yard touchdown pass to Davis with 1:28 left before halftime.

Jackson finished with 93 rushing yards on 18 carries for the Vandals.

Last night's game was the Bulldogs first home win of the season. They'll get next weekend off before visiting Utah State.


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