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Vandals turn game over to Red Wolves

Idaho commits seven giveaways in loss to Arkansas State

Nov. 1, 2014 Updated Sat., Nov. 1, 2014 at 9:25 p.m.

Arkansas State's Michael Gordon bursts through a hole in the Idaho defense. (AP)
Arkansas State's Michael Gordon bursts through a hole in the Idaho defense. (AP)
Josh Wright Correspondent
MOSCOW, Idaho – Just over a minute remained in a game that, again, had gotten away from Idaho when the school’s band started a chant that amused most everyone within earshot. “One more flag! One more flag!” they roared at the end of a penalty-filled afternoon. The only thing the band and a few remaining souls at the Kibbie Dome got to see, however, was one more Idaho turnover. The Vandals unraveled late after pushing three-time defending Sun Belt champion Arkansas State for three quarters, falling 44-28 on Saturday for their 18th loss in 20 games under coach Paul Petrino. Idaho (1-7, 1-5 Sun Belt) committed eight turnovers, the first five of which it withstood to take a 28-24 lead late in the third quarter. UI trailed by just two – 30-28 – early in the fourth when everything fell apart. “When it was 30-28, it was probably one the best games we’ve played,” Petrino said. “After that, it was probably one the worst we’ve played.” Deep in the fourth quarter, Petrino and cornerback Jayshawn Jordan were called for unsportsmanlike conduct within moments of each other – two of Idaho’s nine penalties. Arkansas State (5-3, 3-1) actually trumped the Vandals in penalties, with 11 for 99 yards, but it rode the legs of quarterback Fredi Knighten and running back Michael Gordon. The backfield duo combined for 179 rushing yards, while Gordon gashed UI for four of his five rushing touchdowns in the second half. The Vandals were rolling with Elijhaa Penny and Jerrel Brown pounding the Wolves on the ground and QB Chad Chalich sprinkling in short completions. UI went ahead 28-24 with 2:52 left in the third on a 16-yard Brown run. But ASU – with a big assist from Idaho – slowly sucked the energy out of the announced crowd of 11,082. The Red Wolves scored the final 20 points, all on Gordon runs. His last two scores came after a Chalich interception and a Brown fumble. In all, Arkansas State scored 35 points off of Idaho turnovers. The Vandals were also penalized seven times in the fourth quarter, including a holding call from guard Dallas Sandberg and unsportsmanlike conduct from guard Steven Matlock after the play was ruled dead. ASU declined the holding penalty, but the unsportsmanlike call forced a third-and-21 for Idaho deep in its own territory. The Vandals couldn’t convert and had to punt. Then, after UI forced a field goal attempt that was missed, Chalich was picked off and the Wolves quickly pounced to go up 37-28. Idaho’s will was broken. “We had 449 yards, they had 442,” Petrino said while looking at the stat sheet. “Just turnovers. Turnovers and penalties. That’s what we’ve got to correct.” Starting QB Matt Linehan threw three INTs and fumbled twice. Chalich played in his place for part of the second quarter and much of the second half, but Linehan came in late and chucked an interception on the game’s final play. Arguably, Linehan’s most costly turnover came in the second quarter, with Idaho driving inside ASU’s 10. The redshirt freshman stretched for an extra yard at the end of a keeper, but he lost his grip on the ball just before landing near UI’s sideline. ASU’s Rocky Hayes scooped up the fumble and rambled 93 yards for a touchdown to make it 14-0 Red Wolves.
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