Idaho’s fast start crumbles in second half
An Appalachian State football team that hasn’t lost more than one home November football game in over a decade looked vulnerable early in its season finale against Idaho.
The Vandals were the first to score on a 16-play, 75-yard opening drive capped off by a 3-yard score by senior running back Kris Olugbode.
The promising start turned into disappointment as the Mountaineers took control of the game in the second half and came out with a 45-28 win over Idaho to end the Vandals’ season.
“I thought we controlled the game the first half,” Idaho coach Paul Petrino said. “We had the ball the whole time, had way more plays, we just didn’t get enough points. And then in the third quarter, they just played keep-away like we never had the ball. They took that first drive and drove eight minutes and that’s good football.”
Petrino’s second season at Idaho ends with another one-win season, but Petrino said he’s seen improvement between his first and second years at the helm.
“I think we made big strides,” he said. “Last year we kinda got killed by everybody and this year we got to the point where we competed with everybody. We were in every game in the second half and now next year we need to take that next step where we beat people.”
Idaho’s opening drive ended with a missed point-after attempt by sophomore kicker Austin Rehkow, which allowed the Mountaineers to take the lead after they made a point-after attempt following their one-play drive on the next possession.
Rehkow made up for his miss with a 43-yard field goal later in the first quarter. From there, the game was close until the end of the first half. With one minute remaining in the half, a Marcus Cox touchdown sent the Mountaineers into halftime with a 24-15 lead they never gave up.
“Gotta give them credit,” Petrino said. “They’re well-coached, they play hard, they play the game as it’s meant to be played. Our guys played hard today, I was proud of the way our guys fought. They fought hard all the way to the end.”
Petrino said penalties were what hurt the Vandals the most. Idaho had 12 penalties for 145 yards compared to only seven penalties for 70 yards by Appalachian State. This was surprising considering the Mountaineers came into the game ranked No. 25 in the nation in penalties earned.
On offense, Idaho was carried by junior running back Elijhaa Penny, who had 120 all-purpose yards and three touchdowns.
Sophomore receiver Jacob Sannon had a breakout game for the Vandals with seven catches for 59 yards as Linehan’s top target. Linehan went 21-of-37 passing for 208 yards, one touchdown and one interception despite playing with a limited Josh McCain due to illness. Sophomore wide receiver Richard Montgomery did not make the trip to Boone, North Carolina, on a coaching decision and senior tight end Justin Podrabsky went down with a leg injury late in the game, further limiting Linehan’s receiving options.
With the 2014 season concluded, Petrino said he and his coaches will turn to recruiting now before focusing the players on offseason conditioning.
“We’ll get right into recruiting tomorrow, get into some homes tomorrow, get out there and then our guys will lift hard for two more weeks before finals, and then when they come back in January, we’ll start our offseason conditioning and get our winter workouts,” Petrino said. “But the main thing right now is recruiting. These next two weekends will be big visit weekends for us so just got to get all coaches out on the road and get busy recruiting.”
Stephan Wiebe can be reached at email@example.com