Penny's three TDs not enough in finale

ALTHOUGH IDAHO TAILBACK ELIJHAA PENNY had a career day on the road against Appalachian State, scoring twice on the ground and once through the air, it wasn't enough to propel the Vandals to victory against Appalachian State. Idaho (1-10, 1-7 Sun Belt) played well in the first half and went into halftime down 24-15, but couldn't hold off the Mountaineers (7-5, 6-2 Sun Belt), falling 45-28.

The following is an official press release from University of Idaho Athletic Media Relations.

BOONE, N.C. – The University of Idaho played toe-to-toe with the hottest team in the Sun Belt Conference Saturday afternoon before enduring a penalty-filled second half en route to a 45-28 loss to Appalachian State to end the season.

“They really controlled the third quarter,” coach Paul Petrino said. “They just played keep-away. That’s the way you want to play football.”

Petrino also could lament the woulda, coulda plays – a touchdown, and three 20-plus gains, all called back because of penalties as well as three Appalachian State drives fueled by pass interference calls.

“You can’t do that,” Petrino said.

Idaho scored on its first possession when Kristoffer Olugbode capped a 17-play, 75-yard drive that included key third-down conversions with Matt Linehan passing to Jacob Sannon, and Elijhaa Penny and Olugbode picking up the rushing yardage. Austin Rehkow’s PAT kick, however, missed and Idaho’s lead as 6-0 with 7:35 left in the first.

Appalachian State hit back quickly with a 59-yard pass from Taylor Lamb to Shaedon Meadors following a 36-yard kickoff return by Bobo Beathard. The PAT kick was good and the Mountaineers went up 7-6 with 7:18 to go.

The Vandals responded on their next possession, although the drive stalled and Rehkow was called on for a field goal. The 43-yarder gave Idaho a 9-7 lead with 3:20 left in the first quarter.

Again, the Mountaineers responded – with a 49-yard field goal by Bentlee Critcher as time expired in the first half to give Appalachian State a 10-9 lead going into the second quarter.

Idaho’s next drive ended on a dropped ball and an incompletion at the ASU 37 with 13:14 to go in the first half.

Appalachian State went up 17-9 when Lamb split the defense and found Tacoi Sumler with a 32-yard scoring pass with 11:00 to go in the quarter.

The Vandals turned a stalled drive into good fortune when Rehkow’s 58-yard punt was muffed and Trent Cowan recovered on the ASU 5. After a loss of one, Penny rushed for four yards then pushed through from two yards out to score with 9:00 to go in the second quarter. Idaho opted to try a two-point conversion to even the score but Aaron Duckworth was stopped in the backfield and ASU held onto its two-point, 17-15, lead.

Special teams came up big again for the Vandals when Tony Lashley blocked the Mountaineers punt on their next possession to give Idaho the ball at the ASU 35. They failed to capitalize after a penalty, a sack and a hurry left them with the ball at the 45.

ASU capitalized with a length of the field drive. After being pinned at their own 9, the Mountaineers scored on a one-yard run by Marcus Cox to cap a nine-play drive and go up 24-15 with 1:37 to go before halftime.

“We had it way more plays in the first half,” Petrino said. “We just didn’t get enough points.”

Idaho was unable to find the end zone in the third quarter and the Mountaineers added to their lead by one score – when Lamb found Beathard on an eight-yard scoring play for a 31-15 lead with 7:18 to go in the third. They made it 38-15 with on Cox’s 10-yard run with 10:51 left in the game.

Penny closed the gap to 38-21 with 7:32 left on a seven-yard run. The two-point conversion pass failed. The run capped a seven-play, 31-yard drive that was set up by Jayshawn Jordan’s 69-yard kickoff return.

Both teams scored once more – Penny on an eight-yard pass from Linehan that brought his season TD total to 12 and his all-purpose rushing total for the game to 120 – 95 on the ground and 25 receptions.

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