Western Athletic Conference News and Notes

9:31 AM, Oct 8, 2012   |    comments
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Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -

IDAHO: It was a long time coming, but finally the Vandals broke into the win column on Saturday as they defeated New Mexico State in Western Athletic Conference action, 26-18, at the Kibbie Dome in Moscow. Kicker Trey Farquhar played a major role in the outcome as he knocked through all four of his field goal attempts in the outing. Aside from an early interception, quarterback Dominique Blackman played well also with 304 yards and a couple of touchdowns on 26-of-48 passing. Jahrie Level caught eight balls for 92 yards and a score in order to help compensate for a lackluster rushing attack which generated a mere 82 yards on 28 attempts. The Vandals hit the road this coming weekend to take on one of the newcomers to the WAC in Texas State, marking the first-ever meeting between the two schools on the football field.

LOUISIANA TECH: The Bulldogs put together yet another exciting offensive effort on Saturday night in Ruston, as Kenneth Dixon ran for four touchdowns in a 58-31 romp over UNLV in non-conference play at Aillet Stadium. Dixon carried the ball 16 times for the Bulldogs as they remained perfect on the season and ran their regular-season win streak to 12 games in a row. Ray Holley led all ball carriers with 139 yards and scored once on 22 attempts. Quarterback Colby Cameron converted 31-of-45 passes for 316 yards and a score for the hosts. Now ranked third in the country in scoring with an average of 53.2 ppg, head coach Sonny Dykes has the Bulldogs off to their best start since 1975, and that has also earned the team a spot in the AP Top-25 this week (No. 23) for the first time since 1999. The Bulldogs were supposed to have a bye this coming week before diving into the Western Athletic Conference schedule against Idaho on Oct. 20, but instead the team is taking on a Texas A&M squad that was originally scheduled for Aug. 30 before potentially poor weather conditions postponed the meeting until now. LaTech has taken on the Aggies 10 times previously and lost each of those encounters, so maybe the Bulldogs are finally due to break through.

NEW MEXICO STATE: Andrew Manley threw for a touchdown and ran for another on Saturday, but his efforts were still not enough to keep the Aggies from falling to Idaho, 26-18, in Western Athletic Conference action at the Kibbie Dome in Moscow. Manley completed 28-of-45 passes for 309 yards, was sacked twice and had two passes picked off in the team's fifth straight loss. Austin Franklin recorded a fourth straight 100-yard receiving game and the fifth in six tries this year with 115 yards on nine catches, but still the squad has lost eight consecutive games against members of the Football Bowl Subdivision dating back to last season. New Mexico State is now ranked 117th in the nation in rushing (85.7 ypg) and is 113th in sacks allowed (3.5 per game), which doesn't help matters when Manley is trying desperately to put together successful drives. Enjoying their first open date of the 2012 season this week, the Aggies get some time off before visiting Utah State on Oct. 20 for a WAC battle in Logan.

SAN JOSE STATE: Back in action this coming weekend after a bye, the Spartans go after the Utah State Aggies in Western Athletic Conference play in California. Riding a four-game win streak, SJSU owns a 20-13-1 edge in a series that dates back to 1940 according to Spartan records. However, San Jose State has lost the last three meetings with USU, the most recent coming last season by a score of 34-33 on the road in Logan. The Spartans need just one more win to match their entire total from 2011 when they finished 5-7 and were 3-4 in conference play. While it is still early in the campaign, the Spartans are ranked second in the country in sacks with 4.4 per game, their total of 22 through five contests already ahead of the 16 sacks they recorded all of last year.

TEXAS STATE: The Bobcats lost their second straight outing on Saturday and the third in the last four games when they bowed to New Mexico, 35-14, in Albuquerque. Texas State head coach Dennis Franchione, who was in charge of the UNM program from 1992-97, saw his squad produce just 248 yards of total offense as it turned the ball over four times in the setback. Starting quarterback Shaun Rutherford completed 16-of-21 passes for 186 yards and two touchdowns, but he was picked off once and sacked five times before giving way to Tyler Arndt who converted 5-of-13 attempts for 30 yards with two interceptions of his own. While the Texas State defense was allowing the Lobos to generate a hefty 361 yards and five touchdowns on the ground, the Bobcats managed just 32 net yards on 20 carries. Texas State is back home for the fourth time in the last five games this weekend as it entertains the Idaho Vandals in the first-ever meeting between the two teams.

TEXAS-SAN ANTONIO: Getting back to work this week, the Roadrunners try to remain perfect on the season as they clash with the Rice Owls in non- conference action on the road. This is just the second season for UTSA football, which means many opponents on the 2012 schedule are brand new foes and that includes the Owls. The Roadrunners have one of the longest win streaks in the nation at the moment, having run off six consecutive victories dating back to last season.

UTAH STATE: The Aggies went into last week averaging 28.2 ppg, third-best in the WAC, but the team's offense was nowhere to be found as the squad came up short in a 6-3 final against BYU in Provo. Utah State was held to a mere 243 yards of total offense, a far cry from the unit's 452.2 ypg heading into the matchup. Quarterback Chuckie Keeton converted 22-of-38 passes for 202 yards, but his longest was just 16 yards and he was sacked three times in the outing. Kerwynn Williams, one of the most exciting players in the league, was held to just 18 yards rushing on 14 carries and he caught five passes for another 39 yards in the loss. The Aggies get back to playing on Saturdays this week as they make the trip to San Jose State to challenge the Spartans in WAC action. Utah State trails in the all-time series by a count of 20-13-1, but the Aggies are the ones who have rattled off three straight wins in the relationship, including a 34-33 final last season at home.

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