(24) Fresno State 40

(5-1, 2-1 away)

Idaho 10

(1-6, 1-2 home)

5:00 PM ET, October 22, 2005

Kibbie Dome, Moscow, ID

1 2 3 4 T
#24FRES 14 2 10 1440
IDHO 7 3 0 010

Top Performers

Passing: P. Pinegar (FRES) - 228 YDS, 1 TD

Rushing: W. Mathis (FRES) - 11 CAR, 101 YDS, 1 TD

Receiving: J. Fernandez (FRES) - 7 REC, 93 YDS

Bulldogs score 24 unanswered points in second half

MOSCOW, Idaho (AP) -- Fresno State got a special win against Idaho.

In a game that was determined by special teams play, Joe Fernandez returned a punt 72 yards for a touchdown, and Jaron Fairman returned a blocked punt for another score as No. 24 Fresno State beat Idaho 40-10 Saturday night.

"In a game of football, you've got three separate phases," Bulldogs coach Pat Hill said. "I thought our special teams play was outstanding and our defense played very, very well."

It took awhile for the Bulldogs' offense to get started, but even that phase pleased Hill in the end.

"In the second half, we got the offense going a little, but give Idaho some credit, they did a good job on defense," Hill said. "In the first half, we had too many penalties and we never got in sync. But you know, it's a team victory and I'll take 40-10."

The Bulldogs (5-1, 3-0 WAC) started slowly in the first half, but scored 24 straight points and held Idaho scoreless in the second half to get the win.

It was the second consecutive week that the Bulldogs roared back in the second half. Last week, the Bulldogs fell behind early, then scored 46 straight points in a 53-21 victory over Utah State.

Fresno State quarterback Paul Pinegar was 21-of-33 for 228 yards and a touchdown. Wendell Mathis, who scored on a 58-yard TD run in the fourth quarter, finished with 101 yards on 11 carries for the Bulldogs.

Idaho (1-6, 1-3), in its first season in the WAC, hung with the Bulldogs in a gritty first half, forcing four fumbles, before being worn down in the second half.

Idaho's Steven Wichman was 13-for-22 for 84 yards, and was sacked four times for losses of 29 yards.

Despite the loss, Idaho coach Nick Holt saw some bright spots.

"I was obviously happy with a lot of things that happened, no question," Holt said. "I thought our kids were playing with some tenacity and were really competing. I have been saying all week we needed to do a good job on the special teams and that made a huge difference, as you saw. There were some good things in the game that we can build upon."

Leading just 16-10 at the half, Fresno State got untracked in the third quarter, when Devyn McDonald hauled in a 1-yard TD pass from Pinegar after a Vandals punt was blocked at the Idaho 11. The Bulldogs were never challenged after that.

Bryson Sumlin completed the scoring with a 2-yard run after Idaho's Mike Barrow was tackled short of a first down on a fake punt attempt, turning the ball over to Fresno State on the Idaho 32.

Idaho scored first, when Jason Brown ran in from 9 yards out 1:16 into the game.

Fresno State tied it at 7-all after Fernandez's punt return. The Bulldogs entered the game second nationally in punt returns, averaging 25.5 yards per return.

Later in the quarter, Barrow bobbled a snap and kicked the ball from the turf into the arms of Fairman, who returned it 26 yards to put Fresno State up 14-7.

The Bulldogs took their biggest lead of the first half shortly after the start of the second quarter when the Vandals' Rolly Lumballa was tackled in the end zone, giving Fresno State a safety and a 16-7 advantage.

Barrow hit a 50-yard field goal to bring Idaho within 16-10 with 2:30 remaining in the first half.

Clint Stitser added a 27-yard field goal to cap a 62-yard drive that stalled on the Idaho 11 to put the Bulldogs up 19-10 with 4:44 remaining in the third period.

Fresno State was the first ranked team to play Idaho at Moscow since October 1960, when Oregon State won 28-8. It was only the second time a Bulldog team played inside a dome, having beaten Idaho here 41-28 in 1978.

It was the first meeting of the schools since 1979, when the Bulldogs won 30-10 at home.