MOSCOW, Idaho – University of Idaho football coach Paul Petrino might have felt like he was stuck on Halloween day with the Jekyll-Hyde team that showed up at the Kibbie Dome Saturday to take on Arkansas State in a Sun Belt Conference game.
There were treats – Marc Millan’s 18 tackles and 11 by Tom Hennessey, and 121 rushing yards by Elijah Penny. But there were tricks – eight turnovers that quashed any chance of the Vandals winning and instead left them with a 44-28 loss.
“When it was 30-28,” Petrino said in reference to the late third-quarter score, “it was probably one of the best games we’ve played since I’ve been here – even with the turnovers. After that, maybe the worst.”
Five of Arkansas State’s scores came after the Red Wolves regained possession after Idaho turnovers – and one was a 93-yard fumble return.
“You can’t beat bad teams with that many turnovers let alone a really good team,” Petrino said. “And they’re a good team.
“You can’t keep turning the ball over. When you do that, you don’t give yourself a chance to win. It’s just ridiculous.”
Among the play that impressed Petrino was the hard running of Penny and Jerrel Brown, who often were dragging defenders with them as they surged downfield. In addition to Penny’s 121 yards, Brown added 98 as Idaho covered 243 on the ground. The quarterbacks had a good percentage (17 of 31) but combined for four interceptions – three by Linehan and one by Chalich.
Millan was a menace with his career-best game that included five tackles for loss in his 18 stops but collectively the Vandals forced just one turnovers (a fumble forced by Juan Martinez and recovered by Tom Hennessey) in the face of ASU’s eight takeaways.
From the defensive front, there was pressure with 12 tackles for loss – two each from Quayshawne Buckley and Quinton Bradley in addition to Millan’s five.