Idaho Spoils Walker's Coaching Debut With New Mexico State

By: AP Email
By: AP Email

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) - Princeton McCarty had the play of the game, and the Idaho Vandals sure got a good laugh out of it.

Nathan Enderle threw two touchdown passes and McCarty got most of his 96 yards rushing on one play as Idaho beat New Mexico State 21-6 on Saturday night to spoil DeWayne Walker's coaching debut with the Aggies.

McCarty had the highlight late in the first quarter.

With the Vandals (1-0, 1-0 Western Athletic Conference) at their own 32, McCarty broke free up the middle, burst past the linebackers into open field with no defenders anywhere nearby. As he sprinted untouched toward the end zone, he tripped at the 5 and put his face mask into the turf at the 1.

"Man, I was running so hard," McCarty said, laughing. "I tried to run all the way through it. I tripped. I straight tripped. That's all that happened. I don't think anybody was close. I just tripped."

McCarty, who had a career-high 160 yards rushing in last season's 20-14 win over the Aggies, scored on the next play to put Idaho up 14-0, then got a bear hug on the sideline from coach Robb Akey.

"I made a call to security so we could get the sniper off the roof of the press box," Akey joked. "He got shot. That had to have been what happened. I still don't know what could have happened. Fortunately, he got the touchdown. We got the points out of that, but he's never going to live that down."

New Mexico State (0-1, 0-1) has been one of the nation's worst programs for decades and Walker got off to a rough start in his bid to turn things around. The Aggies had a touchdown overturned by an officials' review, missed a field goal and PAT kick and lost two fumbles.

"There are a lot of things we need to work on, but I think we fought," Walker said. "That's just who we're going to be. We've got 12 games left. I felt we let one get away."

Enderle completed 11 of 21 attempts for 179 yards with one interception. He threw a 6-yard TD pass to Daniel Hardy to cap Idaho's first drive, then found Max Komar on a 38-yard catch-and-run that helped the Vandals to a 21-0 halftime lead.

Idaho converted six of its first eight third-down tries and finished 9-of-14.

"It was a good win, and I'm happy about that," Akey said. "It was a team win. All three phases of the game contributed and made the victory happen."

Idaho has beaten New Mexico State five of the past six years. The Aggies ended last season on a seven-game losing streak, which led to the firing of former coach Hal Mumme, and things didn't look much better much of the night even with a new coaching staff.

Despite finishing with 342 total yards, New Mexico State struggled to find an offensive rhythm but avoided a shutout on Tonny Glynn's 3-yard TD run late in the third period.

"We spotted them 21 points in the first half, and we had none," said Aggies safety Stephon Hatchett, who returned a fumble for a TD midway through the first quarter only to see officials reverse the call. "We knew coming back in the second half, it would be tough."

Jeff Fleming, a junior college transfer who won the quarterback job in fall workouts, threw a fourth quarter interception that ended any hope for a rally.

Fleming was 21-of-33 for 230 yards.

"We really wanted to get off on the right foot, as any team would," Fleming said. "That's obvious. We played well at points and not well at points. That's just the way things fell into place."


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