Northern Colorado football loses to Idaho, 55-35, in Moscow


MOSCOW, Idaho – Self-inflicted wounds and injuries were the story again in Northern Colorado’s loss against Idaho on Saturday night.

UNC (2-3, 1-1 Big Sky) lost to the Vandals, 55-35, at the Kibbie Dome in its second conference game of the season.

It was down by just three points midway through the third quarter, but two interceptions and defensive struggles created a more lopsided result late in the contest.

“It was a really loud indoor environment. We played a very talented football team. I thought we traded punches with them for three quarters; extremely proud of our offense and how we fought back and put points up on the board,” UNC coach Ed McCaffrey said. “At one point, we cut it to 31-28 and were still right in the game. Unfortunately, their offense is really on a roll today. We had trouble stopping them.”

Northern Colorado gave up a touchdown on the first drive, which included 48-yard and 26-yard passes. The Bears responded on the next drive, scoring a 14-yard touchdown from sophomore running back David Afari.

Freshman kicker Hunter Green’s extra point was blocked and put the Bears down by one.

Both teams went back and forth throughout the game, with UNC even taking the lead for a while in the second quarter. There were times when Idaho gave up important first downs that the Bears capitalized on.

“Something similar happened last week. They caught us a couple of times, and I figured we would regroup and maybe create a takeaway, get a couple of stops,” McCaffrey said. “Our offense was feeling pretty good, so at that point, I still felt confident that we could score points. Those stops just never came and the takeaways never happened. It turned into a little bit of a shootout and we couldn’t stop them. They got a couple of stops and that was really the difference in the game.”

The Vandals recorded two turnovers in the second that they converted into points. Those took the game from a 17-point game to nearly 30.

UNC scored again with less than a minute left, but the damage had been done.

McCaffrey said there were a number of players who did not play, or played limited minutes, due to injuries. Senior defensive lineman Brooks Talkington, freshman defensive lineman Joe Brown and junior linebacker Elias Rantissi were some of the players who didn’t start or came out of the game. Plus, the team is still missing junior David Hoage.

“Sometimes when you’re really thin in certain spots, by the time the fourth quarter rolls around, your guys are worn out,” McCaffrey said. “I think we’ll get some guys back (next week), we’ll have a better rotation, keep guys fresher, and hopefully make more plays.”

Penalties were also an issue again. Despite giving up 32 yards, the second-fewest this season, they often came at inopportune times. Those, plus the interceptions, affected the momentum significantly.


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