MOSCOW, Idaho – Idaho junior kicker Mike Barrow had a career day against Louisiana Tech Saturday making a school-record tying five field goals.
However, it was the one he missed that he will remember the most.
Barrow was wide left on a 54-yard field goal attempt with 0:08 remaining as a collective sigh of relief was heard from the Louisiana Tech sideline as the Bulldogs held on for a 41-38 win in Western Athletic Conference action.
With the victory, Tech (6-3, 5-1 WAC) clinched its first winning season since 2001 and kept its Western Athletic Conference title dream alive.
“I thought the game would never end,” said Tech head coach Jack Bicknell. “I said there is no way this game is going to end with me still living. Honestly, what was going through my mind was this one was going to be the one that does me in. Somehow we hung on (to win).”
Barrow’s near heroics were set up when Tech tailback Mark Dillard fumbled on the Idaho three-yard line on a third down carry with 0:59 remaining and the Bulldogs in position to add to their lead and take the majority of the time off the clock.
“It was unbelievable,” Bicknell said, referring to the fumble. “We had already figured out they would only have a few seconds left on the clock and we had a chance to increase the lead. Of course we told the players two hands on the ball.”
Idaho quarterback Steven Wichman, who passed for 344 yards and two touchdowns, led the Vandals to the Tech 33-yard line with completions of 40 and nine yards to Matt Askew and with the help of a 15-yard defensive pass interference penalty. A five-yard illegal procedure penalty moved the football back to the Tech 37-yard line and with 0:13 remaining, Vandals coach Nick Holt decided to go for the game-tying field goal.
After a relatively boring first quarter that saw Idaho take a 6-0 lead on two of Barrow’s field goals, the Bulldogs exploded for 28 second quarter points and were on the verge of taking the life out of the Vandals team.
Kubik ignited the second quarter scoring fest, tossing three touchdowns, a 56-yarder to Eric Newman, a 72-yarder to Josh Wheeler and a five-yarder to Freddie King. After passing for only 17 yards in the first quarter, Kubik passed for 162 in the second quarter and 284 for the game.
With Tech leading 28-6 late in the second quarter, Kubik made his one mistake of the game, throwing an interception deep in Bulldog territory. Three plays later, Idaho scored a touchdown and made the two-point conversion and the Vandals had the momentum heading into the locker room despite trailing 28-14.
“It was totally my fault,” Kubik said. “The linebacker looked like he was running with Freddie (King) and as soon as I brought my hand back to throw, he stopped and dropped into his zone. It was a great play by him. I threw it right to his chest. It was a terrible play by me.”
The two teams traded field goals in the third quarter, each team making two. A Danny Horwedel 37-yard field goal at the 6:46 mark of the third quarter gave Tech a 34-17 lead.
However, Idaho scored 13 straight points, the big play coming on an 80-yard return by Herb Cash of a blocked Horwedel field goal with 9:31 to play in the game, making the score 34-31.
Kubik and the Tech offense answered the special teams score by Idaho as Kubik directed a nine-play, 53-yard drive which was capped by a Dillard four-yard scoring run. On the drive Kubik completed two big third down passes to keep the drive alive.
A Wichman to Askew 14-yard pass with 2:10 remaining brought Idaho to within 41-38, setting up the crazy final minutes.
Dillard led Tech on the ground with 138 yards on 23 carries while Patrick Jackson added 27 yards and a score on 11 carries.
Barry Robertson led a Tech defense that held its own despite the 38 Idaho points with 11 tackles and an interception while Byron Santiago added six tackles, two tackles for loss, one sack, two pass break ups and a fumble recovery.
Tech returns to action Nov. 26 against Boise State at 1 p.m.