Utah State Defeats Idaho 14-7
Sept. 11, 2004
LOGAN, Utah - Travis Cox threw two touchdown passes Saturday to lead Utah State to a 14-7 win over Idaho.
Cox, who threw two interceptions in the first half, was 20-for-31 with 165 yards and two touchdowns.
His 5-yard touchdown pass to Tony Pennyman and successful two-point conversion with 6:17 left in the third quarter gave the Aggies (1-1, 1-0 Sun Belt) a 14-7 lead.
The Aggies turned back a late Idaho challenge after the Vandals had driven to the Aggies' 7-yard line.
But a false start penalty by Idaho moved the ball back to the 12. On fourth down, Utah State linebacker Jared Johnstun stripped the ball away from Idaho quarterback Michael Harrington, and Aggies took over on their own 30 with 1:15 remaining.
Idaho's defense forced five turnovers, but the Vandals' offense was only able to capitalize once after a Cox fumble in the second quarter.
Michael Harrington led the Vandals (0-2, 0-1) on a 56-yard, eight-play drive capped by his 12-yard touchdown pass to Wendell Octave that gave Idaho a 7-6 halftime lead.
Harrington completed 17 of his 23 pass attempts for 101 yards and an interception. The Vandals finished with 235 yards of total offense, including 94 yards rushing from Jayson Bird. Utah State was limited to 223 yards of total offense.
Cox gave the Aggies a 6-0 lead with 3:13 left in the first quarter when he teamed up with Kevin Robinson for a 24-yard touchdown pass. Robinson caught five passes for 106 yards, but fumbled once on Idaho's 1-yard line to stop another potential scoring drive.
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IDAHO AT UTAH STATE POSTGAME NOTES Sept. 11, 2004
O - USU has started a conference season 1-0 for the fifth straight year it has played in a league... USU is now 3-2 in home openers in the Mick Dennehy era... USU is now 15-4-2 against Idaho all-time... USU is now 4-4 in league games since joining the Sun Belt Conference last season... USU is a perfect 6-0 in home conference games in the Mick Dennehy era.
O - USU's 14 points were its fewest in a win since beating Ohio 5-0 in 1994.
O - Idaho's seven points were the fewest allowed by the Aggies since shutting out Arkansas State 49-0 last year.
O - WR Kevin Robinson and WR Tony Pennyman each caught five passes for the second consecutive game. Robinson scored on a touchdown reception in both games as well.
O - USU improved to 4-27 in the Mick Dennehy era when the opponent s gained more yardage than the Aggies. Idaho also held a decisive time advantage in this game as well.
O - Utah State started the same 11 players on defense it started against Alabama. On offense, USU used three new starters in RG Pace Jorgensen, RT E.J. Reid and WR Rod McNeal. Jorgensen and Reid are freshmen and that meant USU started four freshmen on offense tonight (TB Chris Forbes and WR Kevin Robinson were the others).
O - USU QB Travis Cox reached the 3,000-yard passing mark in his career with a 13-yard pass to Lawrence Lovelace in the first quarter. He entered tonight's game with 2,976 yards.
O - Cox threw multiple interceptions in a game for just the third time in his 23-game career, which includes 14 starts. He threw three against Arizona State last year two against Alabama and then two tonight.
O - Cox has now thrown at least one touchdown pass in 13 of his 14 career starts and has thrown at least two touchdowns in six of his last eight starts, including both games this year.
O - CB Jerome Dennis forced the first fumble of his career, while CB Andre Bala recorded his second career fumble recovery.
O - CB Cornelius Lamb recorded his third career interception and first of the season in the second quarter.
O - The 13 combined points in the first half mark the fewest points in a first half of an Aggie game since USU led New Mexico State 7-3 at the break of last year's 10th game. NMSU went on to win 26-21.
O - USU entered tonight 5-24 when trailing at the break in the Mick Dennehy era.
O - USU had just two turnovers in the whole game at Alabama last week and had three at halftime tonight.
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IDAHO AT UTAH STATE POSTGAME QUOTES Sept. 11, 2004
Utah State Head Coach Mick Dennehy
"I'll go ahead and just start with a quick impression. I don't know that we'll win another game if we come out and play as sloppily as we played particularly offensively as we did in the first half. We dropped a couple of touchdown passes, we had our chances to blow this thing wide open. We didn't blow it wide open but we won a game that we didn't play particularly well in. We did it, we had to come back in order to get it done and I am proud of the kids effort."
On being in control of the game... "Well yeah, I feel like we were always in control of the game. We opened up the second half, we had a good play, good first down , dropped the ball, and drove the ball again late in the game. They did a great job of milking the clock, getting in the formatted offense in the second half, and trying to keep our offense off the field. I think they felt the same way. In this situation, I think what we did was good. We just need to finish. We have got to do a better job executing and finishing. So we are not hanging on for dear life."
On good defense... " I thought, except for the last drive, the 80 yard drive. I thought our guys played very well. They lined up bowed their necks. I think down when we got our backs against the wall our kids responded very well."
On the 47 yard run... "We hope so, we struggled a little bit at running the football tonight. We have to get better in that area. Travis wasn't as sharp as he was in the first half. He snapped out of it in the second half. He dealt with it very well. We have got to be able to run the ball better. I thought Idaho played very well, their front defensively handled our guys offensively. We are playing a couple of young guys that need to understand what Division I football is all about. We have to get off the ball more."
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On much improved stats from last weeks Alabama game
"At Alabama I was a little bit passive and didn't play downhill as much as I should and this game I tried to correct it and it ended up working out for the better."
On the way the defense played
"We were on the field a whole lot today but we stepped up when we needed to." They only gained 235-yards, I think we will take that, and seven points we'll definitely take that. I think it was a good day for us."
On the devastating fumble at the goal line
"It was one of the better drives we have had this season and it ends like that. It is too bad but you have to give the credit to Idaho. They made the play. I am not sure it was a fumble or not but they made the play."
On not being able to cash in on great field position
"I am not saying we couldn't execute we just couldn't hang on to the ball. We were lucky we had five turnovers and we still won a game. That's crazy. You have to give all the credit to the defense there."