Thursday, September 21, 2023
HomeCruiseEasy does it - Vandals score game’s first 35 points, cruise past...

Easy does it – Vandals score game’s first 35 points, cruise past Lamar in opener

BEAUMONT, Texas — Opponents already had to worry about Hayden Hatten the star pass receiver.
Now, they might also have to be concerned with Hayden Hatten the passer.
Hatten caught a pair of touchdown passes from Gevani McCoy, then connected on a double pass with Nick Romano for another score as the Idaho Vandals rolled past the Lamar Cardinals 42-17 in the season opener Thursday night before 5,321 at Provost Umphrey Stadium.
“That was a blast,” Hatten said of throwing a touchdown pass for the second time as a Vandal. “I love having the opportunity to throw the ball. Naturally, I’m a wide receiver, right, but I’m also a twin who grew up playing a lot of catch, and a lot of throwing back. I’ve caught over a million balls in my life; fingers crossed I learned how to throw it properly.
“Last year coach (Luke Schleussner) said ‘Who can throw it?’ and I said ‘I got this.’ So we started doing it, and we get to the sideline after the TV break and they’re like ‘Hey, we’re thinking about doing this play.’ I saw the guy cheating down from the start and just trusted that I could put it on Nick.”
Second-year Idaho coach Jason Eck said the play was designed for sophomore running back Anthony Woods, but Woods was out of the game at the time with cramps. In stepped Romano, a backup running back from Rocky Mountain High in Meridian.
“We had some cramping, and Woodsie cramped right before that play,” Eck said. “We practiced that play all week for Woodsie, and I told the team, the main reason I don’t want you guys to cramp is for you; we have backups that will come in and make the play, and you don’t want to miss your play, a play that was designed for you. And sure enough, Romano stepped up.”
Hatten caught a 6-yard TD pass to cap the Vandals’ first drive of the season, then caught a 20-yarder from McCoy in the second quarter to make it 28-0 at halftime.
Idaho scored on four of its five possessions in the first half.
Hatten then found Romano wide open for a 45-yard score to make it 35-0 early in the third quarter.
Hatten finished with six catches for 86 yards and the two scores.
McCoy, last year’s Jerry Rice Award winner for the top freshman in FCS, completed 14 of 19 passes for 164 yards and two touchdowns, with one interception.
Woods rushed for two first-half scores, on runs of 9 and 6 yards. Late in the half, from the Idaho 2, Woods broke a 93-yarder to set up the Vandals’ final score of the half. He finished with 138 rushing yards on 13 carries.
Tight end Jake Cox caught a 15-yard TD pass from backup quarterback Jack Layne — his only pass of the game — in the fourth quarter to make it 42-3, as well as two-point conversion pass from McCoy late in the first half.
“I thought our effort was good. I thought we really played hard,” Eck said. “But there’s a lot of things we can get better at, I thought we had a lot of self-inflicted things, we’ve got to clean up a lot of our penalties. We helped them on a lot of drives with some foolish errors that we’ve got to learn from, but it’s always better to correct those things after a win.”
Idaho was penalized eight times for 101 yards.
“To beat the teams we need to beat, and be a championship team, we have to play a lot cleaner,” Eck said. “101 yards in penalties and a lot of stupid errors.”
Still, Idaho outgained Lamar 497-190, including 273-71 on the ground.
“I did think our D-line played well,” Eck said. “It starts with the main three guys inside, Jakari (Larmond), Aamarii (Notice) and Ben Bertram, and then our D-ends are very good — Malakai (Williams), Keyshawn (James-Newby) and Sam Brown and Tylen (Coleman).”
Marcus Harris had an interception for Idaho in the third quarter.
Idaho dropped Division II Western Oregon from this year’s schedule and added Lamar, an FCS team from the Southland Conference, as only wins over Division I teams count for FCS teams trying to make the playoffs.
“We were pretty fortunate, because it wasn’t that humid here tonight,” Eck said. (It was 92 degrees at kickoff, with 32% humidity.) “But we got our Division I win; that’s why I wanted to play this game, to get another Division I win and not play a Division II team, so we got that done. Now we have a great edge, having a few extra days to get healthy, we get to watch Nevada play USC on Saturday and get an early scouting report on them. We’ve got to make a lot of improvements, because I don’t think we played well enough tonight to beat a Mountain West team like Nevada.”
Idaho returns to action Sept. 9 at Nevada (0-0).



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

- Advertisment -

Most Popular

Recent Comments

Translate »