CALDWELL, Idaho – Darius-James Peterson rushed for 230 yards and two touchdowns, and passed for two more, as the College of Idaho rolled up 638 yards of total offense in a wild 59-27 victory over Montana Western at Simplot Stadium.
The Coyotes (3-4, 3-3 Frontier) won for the second-straight time since their bye week – scoring their most points in a game since a 67-0 win over Whitman in 1961. The 638 yards of offense were the second-most in program history (714 yards vs. Lewis & Clark in 1953), with the 411 yards rushing the fourth-highest total ever and the most since 1956.
C of I took a 7-0 lead less than two minutes into the game, as Jordan Nero blocked a George Sherwood punt on the Bulldogs (3-4, 3-3) first drive, with Mike Kirby corralling the ball in the end zone for a touchdown.
The teams see-sawed for the next 20 minutes – as Western drew even as a 42-yard pass from Bennett Gibson to Walker McKitrick set up a Gibson 1-yard touchdown run – only for the Yotes to march 70 yards in seven plays, with Zach Garzoli scoring the first of his three touchdowns on a 15-yard run to put the hosts up 14-7.
Following a Gibson short scoring run to make it 14-14, C of I answered, as Peterson found Garzoli for 33-yards on a screen pass, with the Yotes signal-caller dialing up his own number from 8-yards out for the 21-14 lead.
Western answered quickly, as Hunter Thomson rumbled in from 21-yards out on a draw play to tie the game for a third time – but the Yotes took command from there. Peterson found a seam and sprinted 72-yards for a touchdown, and following a UMW punt, Garzoli ripped off a 64-yard touchdown run, giving C of I a 35-21 lead at the half.
The onslaught continued in the third quarter, as the Yotes turned a Gibson interception into seven points. Peterson found Ben Hruby for a 19-yard gain on a 4th-and-5, setting up a short Nick Calzaretta touchdown run to extend the lead to 42-21.
Following a Western punt, Peterson hooked up with Garzoli on a 50-yard touchdown pass to make it a four score game. The C of I quarterback made it 56-21 late in the quarter, lofting a 27-yard touchdown pass to Keegan Crafton.
Garzoli finished with 90 yards rushing on eight carries, adding three receptions for 85 yards.
Calzaretta had career highs with 88 yards rushing on 18 carries, with Wes Fitzpatrick leading a group of nine C of I receivers with at least one catch with four grabs for 42 yards.
Gibson, the NAIA Offensive Player of the Week, finished 14-of-34 for 246 yards - as the Coyote defense sacked him five times. Thomson had 20 carries for 140 yards, with McKitrick making three receptions for 82 yards.
C of I hits the road for their next two games, starting Saturday at 7th-ranked Southern Oregon.
NOTES: The 59 points by the Coyotes were the most since football returned in 2014, eclipsing the 48 points scored at MSU-Northern in 2015…it was the most points ever scored by a C of I team in Simplot Stadium history and second overall to the 66 points scored by Southern Oregon vs. C of I in 2014…it was Peterson’s second 200-yard rushing game of his career and the third-most yards by a C of I rusher (297 by Tom Winbigler in 1948; 267 by Ted Martin in 1953)…Calzaretta’s touchdown in the third quarter was C of I’s first touchdown in the third quarter this season…Kyle Mitchell set a school record with eight converted extra points (breaking the former mark of seven set two previous times), while adding a fourth quarter 40-yard field goal…Trevor Henderson had a pair of sacks for the Yotes and added a forced fumble…the win ended a six-game losing streak to UMW, the longest for C of I against a Frontier Conference foe.