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Vandals hold off Portland State

| October 10, 2021 1:25 AM

From wire and news services, and staff reports

MOSCOW — What was shaping up as a blowout slowly turned into a nailbiter Saturday afternoon.

Zach Borisch threw for a touchdown on his only pass and ran for a touchdown, and Idaho built a big lead before holding on to defeat Portland State 42-35 in Big Sky Conference play at the Kibbie Dome.

Aundre Carter rushed for two touchdowns for the Vandals (2-3, 1-1 Big Sky) and Mike Beaudry threw a touchdown pass to Terez Traynor for 42 yards.

“Everything’s out there in front of us,” Idaho coach Paul Petrino said. “Obviously we’ve got two really good opponents coming up (Eastern Washington and Montana), but all that mattered today was this one. They’re a good team, they’re a physical team, they’re a tough team, so that was a big win.”

Borisch started the scoring with a 2-yard run and found Dalton Cash behind the defense for a 46-yard score as the Vandals opened a 34-7 lead. But it was a Roshaun Johnson 3-yard touchdown run midway through the fourth quarter that won the game.

Portland State (2-4, 1-2) cut it to 35-14 with Davis Alexander throwing his second touchdown pass to Beau Kelly on the last play of the first half. Alexander ran for a score and twice connected with Mataio Talalemotu to trail by a touchdown.

“That first half came down to who wanted it more, and our O-line and tight ends just wanted it more, and they just punished those defenders all day,” Borisch said. “They knew what was coming, and couldn’t stop it. There was a time where even (fullback) Logan Kendall was telling them, ‘We’re going to run the same play, we’re going to run it down the pipe,’ and we kept doing it, and they couldn’t stop it.”

Really?

“They were saying, ‘They’re running the same play, they’re running the same play,’ and Logan goes ‘Yeah, and you guys can’t stop it.’ He’s a confident guy; that’s a guy you want to be behind all the time,” Borisch added.

Idaho was running out the clock inside the 10 when Borisch, replacing the injured Beaudry (shoulder), fumbled with 27 seconds left. The Vikings reeled off six plays, going from the 3 to the 47 but a last-play pass into the end zone was knocked down.

Alexander was 32 of 48 passing for 424 yards.

Borisch, a converted running back, led the Vandals with 83 rushing yards. Beaudry was 10 of 15 for 162 yards and a touchdown. Traynor finished with five catches for 114 yards.

Petrino said the Vandals ran the ball instead of taking a knee late because Borisch hadn’t practiced the victory formation, and Beaudry was unable to come in because of his shoulder.

“I thought the offense played great in the first half,” Petrino said. “I thought the defense saved us in the second half. The offense finally got going in the fourth quarter … bottom line, we found a way to win. We probably made it closer than we had to.

Tre Walker finished with 18 tackles for Idaho, nine solo.

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