JONESBORO, Ark. – The theme repeated – turnovers and big plays yielded – and the result was much like what it has been earlier this year as the Idaho Vandals fell to Arkansas State 49-35 in a Sun Belt Conference game on Saturday.
Coach Paul Petrino was impressed with the Vandals’ grit.
“I was proud of the way our guys fought,” he said. “I thought our guys really fought hard, played hard. They made some mistakes that you can’t make, but as far as the will to fight and how hard they played, I was proud of them for that.”
An injury to starter Matt Linehan put redshirt freshman Jake Luton under center in his first collegiate start. Again, Petrino had praise.
“I thought he did some good things,” he said. “First start, you talk about fight. He competed his tail off. He did a good job. Obviously, the more experience you get the better you see some things and read some things. He couldn’t have competed any harder than he did.”
Luton completed 24 of 42 passes for 166 yards and three interceptions. He also ran for 26 yards on nine carries – three for touchdowns.
Luton guided the Vandals on an 11-play, 75-yard scoring drive on his first series as Idaho’s starter, capped by Elijhaa Penny’s 1-yard dive.
With the scored tied at 14, the Red Wolves moved to the UI 17 with Michael Gordon’s 55-yard run. They scored two plays later to go up for good, 21-14 with 10:15 left before halftime.
ASU made it 28-14 when Gordon capped a 19-play, 91-yard drive with a 15-yard run with 1:44 to go in the half.
Broc Westlake had 12 tackles for the Vandals. Chris Edwards returned an interception 20 yards for a TD, five tackles, one tackle for loss, one breakup and one quarterback hurry. Quinton Bradley accounted for two sacks and one fumble recovery.
The Vandals finished with 172 rushing yards with Penny covering 99.
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