JONESBORO, Ark. – Idaho coach Paul Petrino saw one of the best efforts by his young football team Saturday evening at Arkansas State, but there were still too many mistakes in a 48-24 loss.
“We just started executing better,” Petrino said of a second-half surge that had Idaho within a touchdown as the fourth-quarter unfolded.
“The second half, we started making plays, executing better,” said Petrino, who replaced starting quarterback Chad Chalich with Taylor Davis in the first quarter.
Vandals senior James Baker had the best night of his career with 23 carries for 150 yards and two touchdowns.
“James had a good game,” Petrino said. “He did some good things for us.We have to keep building on that.”
After trailing 31-7 early in the third quarter, the Vandals (1-6) drew to within 31-24 on Baker’s 1-yard run on the first play of the fourth quarter.
But then came the play that sunk the Vandals. ASU’s J.D. McKissic returned the ensuing kickoff 98 yards and it was a two-score game again.
“That kick return killed us,” said Petrino. “That’s my fault for kicking to him.”