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Vandals Win Again!

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Dave Tester / 630 The Fan

The Idaho Vandals completed their season at home with a vicotry over Georgia State.  From GoVandals.com:

Saturday was a day to celebrate as the Idaho Vandals sent their 20 seniors off in grand fashion with a 37-12 victory over Georgia State in their final game at the Kibbie Dome.

But they have one game left when they take their 8-4 record to their first bowl game since 2009. Official bowl announcements will be made Sunday morning.

As has been the storyline lately, every phase contributed. Head coach Paul Petrino had high praise for all the contributions from every player but he especially wanted to shine the light on his assistant coaches – Kris Cinkovich (Assistant head coach/offensive coordinator/offensive line), Mike Breske (Defensive coordinator/safeties), Jason Shumaker (Recruiting coordinator/running backs), Eric Brown (outside linebackers), Kenny Holmes (defensive line), Charley Molnar (quarterbacks), Troy Purcell (inside linebackers), Al Pupunu (tight ends), and Aric Williams (cornerbacks).

“They did an unbelievable great job,” he said.

Saturday’s game was just another example of the life lessons the Vandals have learned through football, Petrino said.

“If you really keep working hard at something and keep grinding and don’t quit,” he said, “you’ve always got a chance to be successful.”

Three seniors – Callen Hightower, Buck Cowan and Deon Watson, scored on passes from junior quarterback Matt Linehan, and senior Austin Rehkow was good on a 28-yard field goal to stake the Vandals to a 24-12 halftime lead.

In the second half, defense and special teams stole the spotlight. The defense limited the Panthers to just 98 yards over the final two quarters in addition to nabbing three interceptions. As for special teams, Rehkow was good on field goals of 23 and 45 yards but the electrifying play of the day was freshman Lloyd Hightower‘s punt block, which he scooped and scored from 25 yards out.

“You start becoming a better and better team when you work together with each other,” Petrino said.

There couldn’t have been a better finish to an emotional senior day.

“I told them how proud I was of them,” he said of his post-team address to the team. “I told them how much I love them; how proud I am of them.

“Nobody outside this building thought we could do what we did this year. … I wanted to get us to a bowl game. I wanted to make us winners. We went through some tough times but everybody kept fighting and everybody kept working. Today was a great day.”

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