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Western Athletic Conference News and Notes

8:57 AM, Oct 1, 2012   |    comments
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Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -

IDAHO: Now winless in eight straight games, tied for the second-longest slide in the nation, the Vandals took a huge beating on Saturday when they were crushed by North Carolina on the road, 66-0. Under a steady rain, very little went right for Idaho as the team surrendered the most points since a 70-45 loss to Nevada in Reno in 2009, the shutout also being the first since the Vandals were blanked by Arizona in the 2008 season opener (70-0). Idaho managed just nine first downs and 189 yards of total offense in the onslaught. Quarterback Dominique Blackman was under pressure the entire game, completing 19-of-35 passes for 109 yards, and he was intercepted four times. Defensively, Idaho allowed nearly the same number of yards on the ground (287) as it did through the air (288), permitting the Tar Heels to average better than seven yards per snap. The Vandals are back home this coming weekend as they welcome the New Mexico State Aggies to town for a Western Athletic Conference battle. Idaho lost last year's encounter by a score of 31-24 in Las Cruces, but still leads the all-time series by a 13-5 margin.

LOUISIANA TECH: The Bulldogs scored 34 straight points between the second and fourth quarters on Saturday as they captured a thrilling 44-38 win over the Virginia Cavaliers in Charlottesville. LaTech, which was playing without running back Tevin King (123.0 ypg) who has been lost to injury for the remainder of the season, instead leaned on quarterback Colby Cameron who converted 23-of-36 passes for 218 yards and a score, adding another 23 yards and a TD on the ground as the team remained perfect on the season at 4-0. Kenneth Dixon took the lead in the rushing attack with 78 yards on 16 attempts, followed by Ray Holley with 69 yards and two scores on another 14 carries. Also getting in on the scoring were kicker Matt Nelson with three successful field goal attempts and linebacker Chip Hester who returned an interception 32 yards for a touchdown in the third frame. Louisiana Tech survived despite converting just 6-of-17 on third down and giving up a hefty 625 yards of total offense to the Cavs. The Bulldogs rekindle a long-lost series against the UNLV Rebels this coming weekend. Louisiana Tech hasn't matched up against UNLV since 1994 when it suffered a 24-20 setback on the road. The Bulldogs have lost both previous meetings with the Rebels.

NEW MEXICO STATE: The Aggies scored the first points of the game against new WAC foe Texas-San Antonio, but then offense fell virtually silent for NMSU as the team suffered a 35-14 loss at home on Saturday. Losers of four straight since opening the season with a 49-19 romp over Sacramento State, the Aggies were paced by Andrew Manley who converted 21-of-40 passes for 276 yards and two touchdowns, but he was also picked off twice and his five sacks brought the team's overall rushing total down to just 74 yards on 33 attempts. Austin Franklin caught seven balls for 105 yards and a touchdown for a squad that is now 102nd in the country in scoring defense with 34.6 ppg allowed. The Aggies head to the Kibbie Dome in Moscow this coming weekend to do battle with the Idaho Vandals in Western Athletic Conference action. Idaho owns a 13-5 edge in the all-time series, but it was NMSU that posted a 31-24 triumph in the most recent meeting last season in order to snap a three-game series slide.

SAN JOSE STATE: Kicker Austin Lopez claimed the spotlight all to himself on Saturday afternoon as he tied a San Jose State record with four field goals as the Spartans posted a 12-0 victory over Navy in Annapolis. Not only did SJSU log its first shutout since 2003, it also became the first team in program history to finish the month of September with four wins as well. Navy, which recorded just two drives of 10 plays or more, finished with a mere 144 yards of total offense, the fewest in a game since the Academy was held to just 82 yards in a loss to Connecticut back in 2002. Ranked ninth in the nation in rushing coming into the week with 269.0 ypg, the Midshipmen were limited to only 70 net yards. The Spartans, fourth in the country in sacks with 4.25 per game, registered five in the meeting. David Fales connected on 29-of-34 passes for 276 yards, but he was picked off once and sacked three times as he too struggled a bit on the day, but still moved the ball enough to put Lopez in prime range to knock through every one of his field goal attempts. The Spartans are set for a break in the schedule this week and will return to action on Oct. 13 at home versus Utah State.

TEXAS STATE: The Bobcats scored the first points of the game on Saturday and held a 21-13 lead over Nevada in the second quarter, but the offense dried up in San Marcos as the hosts suffered a 34-21 setback in non-conference play. Shaun Rutherford completed 15-of-22 passes for 143 yards and two touchdowns, but he was sacked three times in the losing cause. Backup signal-caller Tyler Arndt accounted for just 43 yards on 3-of-12 passing, as the team generated just 254 yards of total offense. Andy Erickson was responsible for 108 yards and one touchdown on a game-high eight receptions. The Bobcats take on New Mexico in non-conference action this coming weekend. The only previous encounter between the two teams took place nearly a decade ago with Texas State suffering an unsightly 72-8 loss.

TEXAS-SAN ANTONIO: Eric Soza threw for 269 yards and three touchdowns as the Roadrunners registered a 35-14 win over the New Mexico State Aggies in Western Athletic Conference action at Aggie Memorial Stadium. Soza converted 19-of-32 passes for Texas-San Antonio, which remained undefeated on the season and posted its first-ever WAC victory. Soza also led the team in rushing with 55 yards and a score on eight attempts. Winners of six in a row dating back to last season, the Roadrunners have outscored foes 238-85 during the stretch and have taken all three of their road dates in 2012, something the team failed to do even once all of last season. Evans Okotcha scored a pair of touchdowns on Saturday, one on a 48-yard pass from Soza in the first quarter and the other a nine-yard run to finish off the night's scoring late in the fourth. Next up for the Roadrunners is another game outside of conference play as the team meets up with the Rice Owls for the first time this coming weekend.

UTAH STATE: Chuckie Keeton threw for a career-high 402 yards and four touchdowns, as the Utah State Aggies posted a 35-13 win over the UNLV Rebels in non-conference action at Romney Stadium. Keeton completed 20-of-33 passes, was picked off once and sacked two times on the night, as the Aggies picked up their second straight victory. Kerwynn Williams not only led the team in rushing with 113 yards on 20 rushing attempts, but he also caught seven passes for 147 yards and a score in the triumph. Ranked 11th in the nation in yards allowed (274.8 ypg) heading into the week, the Aggies permitted 305 yards to the visiting Rebels. USU steps out of conference again this week, but remains in the state, as it takes on the BYU Cougars in Provo. Utah State trails in the all-time series, 44-34-3, after losing the most recent meeting last season by a score of 27-24 at home. Since 1975, the Aggies have defeated BYU just four times, the most recent coming in 2010 with a 31-16 victory at home.

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