Idaho comeback falls short at Ohio

THE VANDALS BATTLED BACK from a 17-0 second quarter deficit with a big third quarter effort to pull within 20-17 at the start of the fourth quarter. But when the Bobcats needed scores late in the game, Idaho couldn't get a stop. Despite throwing three picks (one a tipped ball at the line), MATT LINEHAN was poised while throwing for 353 yards and two touchdowns, completing 33-of-55 attempts.

For the third consecutive week Idaho (0-3) fell behind big early to an opponent. Saturday, it was a 17-0 second quarter deficit at Ohio.

We're talking about a Bobcat offense that averaged 11 points a game coming into the contest.

But the Vandals kept battling, and junior Elijhaa Penny punched it in for Idaho at the 5:22 mark of the second quarter to cut the deficit to 17-7, a score that held as the teams went into the locker room at the half.

The Vandals limited the Bobcats to a field goal on their first drive of the third quarter, and from that point on chipped away at the Bobcat lead with a touchdown and field goal in the third quarter. At the start of the fourth quarter the Vandals were down 20-17 and playing with momentum.

But the Vandals couldn't capitalize. The Bobcats extended their lead to 29-17, aided by Idaho QB Matt Linehan's first ill-advised pass of the game which resulted in a Bobcat pick. Idaho came back yet again though, when Linehan hit Josh McCain over the middle for an impressive 53-yard touchdown strike.

Down 29-24 with 6:34 remaining, the Vandals were still very much in it.

But the Bobcats responded - again - in a big way, going on a clock consuming 62-yard drive that chewed 4:25 off the clock and ended in an Ohio touchdown and a 12-point lead. On Idaho's final drive of the game, Linehan was picked again and the Bobcats finished with a 36-24 win.

PLAYER SPOTLIGHT

MATT LINEHAN: The redshirt freshman continues to impress, although Saturday he may have been pressing things a bit late in the game when he threw a couple picks. But for the game Linehan threw for 353 yards, including touchdown strikes of 34- and 52-yards. For the season he has already thrown for 1,039 yards and eight touchdowns. His growing command of the offense and leadership of this team is becoming more evident each week, and he is proving to be a solid foundation for this team to be built around.

ELIJHAA PENNY: We haven't seen a lot of the bruising newcomer in the backfield yet this year, but Saturday Penny (6-2, 254) earned the most playing time of his young career with the Vandals. In the second quarter Penny punched it in from a yard out to cut the Bobcats lead to 17-7, while also scoring his first touchdown of the year. Paired with Montgomery on kickoff returns, the ball is going Penny's way as teams are choosing to kick away from the team's fastest player.

JOSHUA MCCAIN: The senior continues to impress this year. Through three games he's caught 20 passes for 370 yards and five touchdowns, including 149 yards on five receptions with two touchdowns on Satuday. His first score was an exceptional one handed grab while walking a tightrope into the endzone, coming down with one foot in and overturning what had been ruled an incompletion. Later in the fourth quarter McCain connected with Linehan on a 53-yard reception in which he ran past the Bobcat defensive backfield.

JUSTIN PODRABSKY: The senior tightend had a career night against the Bobcats, hauling in eight passes for 74 yards on the evening. On several occasions J-Pod was a key relief valve for Linehan, keeping drives alive and coming up big for the Vandals.

AUSTIN REHKOW: One of the top punters in the nation, Rehkow is proving to be an efficient field goal kicker too. So far on the season he is a perfect 3-of-3, including a season long of 47-yards Saturday at Ohio. On the punting side, Rehkow is averaging over 45 yards per punt, including a long of 60 yards Saturday.


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