FRESNO, Calif. – Idaho went into its season opener at Fresno State on Saturday convinced it had two competent quarterbacks.
It must have come out wondering if it even has one. Or for that matter, if it has a team ready to play football.
Colton Richardson threw three interceptions and Mason Petrino two.
Those five picks were part of an epic collection of turnovers, including two lost fumbles and two blocked field goals returned for touchdowns. All told, the Bulldogs scored 31 points on Idaho’s errors as Fresno State stunned the Vandals 79-13 in nonconference play.
The Vandals got in trouble early. They suffered a disastrous first half, largely of their own making. They had two of Cade Coffey’s field-goal attempts blocked and returned for touchdowns by Fresno State’s Jaron Bryant, and defensive back Anthoula Kelly intercepted a pair of Idaho passes, one each from Petrino and Richardson. He returned the pick Richardson threw 35 yards for another score.
Absent those mistakes, instead of being down 44-6, the Vandals would have found themselves trailing by 23 points at the break and still in contact with the Bulldogs.
Even that would have been illusory. FSU made it clear it was in control when it raced to a pair of touchdowns on its first two possessions of the second half.
Jordan Mims picked up his third score of the game on an 8-yard run to cap a 12-play, 92-yard drive. After the Vandals went three-and-out at their 33, Jorge Reyna replaced Marcus McMaryion at quarterback for the Bulldogs. On his second play, he found Derrion Grim from there for a score.
The Bulldogs tacked on three touchdowns before the conclusion.
Idaho’s highlight was Richardson’s 73-yard strike down the sideline to Jeff Cotton for a touchdown in the first half. It was one of Cotton’s four catches for 96 yards. But an errant snap negated Coffey’s kick attempt.
Isaiah Saunders, who led the Vandals with 89 yards on 24 carries, accounted for Idaho’s other score in the game on a 6-yard touchdown run at the close of the third quarter.
Petrino finished 10 of 20 for 94 yards. Richardson completed 3 of 11 passes for 105 yards.
Richardson also had an interception returned to the 5-yard line, and Petrino lost a fumble that Fresno State recovered. Both miscues led to Bulldogs touchdowns.
Cutrell Haywood made six catches for Idaho for 72 yards
McMaryion led Fresno State with 19 completions in 26 attempts for 205 yards.