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Vandals Lose 31-13 to Troy

Idaho Vandals
Dave Tester / 630 The Fan

Disappointment was felt throughout the Kibbie Dome Saturday as the Idaho Vandals lost 34-13 to Troy University in their Sun Belt Conference opener.  Vandal coach Paul Petrino was left shaking his head at the outcome – and how it transpired.

“It was just a disappointing day,” he said. “We just didn’t get it done. Bottom line. We can say 8,000 different ways. Probably the best way to say it is I didn’t get it done as the head coach. Didn’t get them ready to play good enough and we didn’t execute good enough.”

The first minutes of the game were a different story. Austin Rehkow opened the scoring for the Vandals with a 21-yard field goal to cap a length of the field drive with 8:49 left in the first. Matt Linehan and Aaron Duckworth were the key figures in the 14-play drive with Linehan connecting on four of five pass attempts and Duckworth covering 31 yards on the ground.

Kaden Elliss forced a fumble on Troy’s first play and the Vandals took over on the Troy 19. Rehkow was called on again and his 42-yard field goal with 6:20 left in the first gave the Vandals a 6-0 lead.

Then things started to unravel.

The Trojans responded with a quick three-play drive with Silvers connecting with McCormick on a 36-yard scoring play of a 7-6 lead with 5:27 remaining in the first.

Idaho yielded the ball on downs on its next possession to give Troy the ball at its own 46 to start the drive. The Trojans made the most of the short field and scored on seven plays for a 14-6 lead with :20 to go in the quarter.

The Vandals punted in their next possession and the Trojans were marching on theirs before Jordan Grabski intercepted Silvers at the Idaho 4 and returned it to the 21. Idaho again punted and, again, the Trojans capitalized with Chun scoring on a 16-yard run. With 3:39 left in the first half, Troy forged a 21-6 lead.

Idaho was on the move on its next drive but Blace Brown stopped the momentum when he intercepted Linehan at the Troy 9 with 1:02 left in the half. Jayshawn Jordan returned the favor for the Vandals when he picked off Silvers at the Idaho 2 as time expired in the first half.

Troy, though, set the tone for the second half when Silvers and John Johnson hooked up for a 60-yard touchdown just 19 seconds into the third quarter for a 28-6 lead.

“We quit fighting as hard as we needed to,” Petrino said. “We didn’t play as well as we needed to play. That goes to me.”

The Trojans were masters of chunk plays (those 10 yards and longer). They had 13 for the day – seven passing and six rushing. For the Vandals, there were just four.

“This was very disappointing,” senior safety Jayshawn Jordan said. “This isn’t what we expected. What we planned for.”

Numbers-wise Jordan, defensive tackle Tueni Lupeamanu and linebacker Ed Hall had seven tackles – with Lupeamanu’s and Hall’s all solo. Jordan and Jordan Grabski had an interception each. Linehan finished the night 19-of-34 for 166 yards and one touchdown with tight end Buck Cowan counting five receptions for 58 yards.

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