Vandals Come Up Short

Starting Middle Linebacker, junior <b>Patrick Libey</b>, intercepted a 4th quarter Arkansas State pass and returned it 20 yards to help Idaho erase a 4 touchdown halftime deficit. Unfortunately, down 29-31 late in the 4th quarter, Idaho would give up one more touchdown to the Indians, losing at home by a final margin of 29-38.

Idaho's epic struggles since losing at home to Montana 6 weeks ago continue, as Idaho lost this afternoon to Arkansas State, 29-38 at The Dome. The list of players who missed the game today cuts deep into the starting rotation on the offensive side of the ball:

Brian Lindgren, #1 QB (separated shoulder)
Orlando Winston, #2 WR (suspended 1 game)
Malfred Shaw, #2 RB (suspended 1 game)
Cedric Thompson, #1 KR (suspended 1 game)
Jason Jones, #2 DT (suspended 1 game)
Robert Ortega, #1 Safety (left team)

In addition, there were others who missed at least part of the first half for violating unspecified team rules. The impact of losing these players showed as Idaho struggled early in the game with turnovers (leading to 17 ASU points), and could only put 3 points on the board in the first half. Plus, the frustration of this season is becoming more evident on the field, as this Vandal team which 2 weeks ago averaged just 40 yards-per-game in penalties (#1 in the Sun Belt) was penalized a staggering 167 yards today (100 yards last week at North Texas).

Both backup quarterbacks (sophomore Adam Mallette and RS-Fr Michael Harrington) each had a full quarter in the first half to try to move the team. Both struggled, however, as Idaho could only put 3 points on the board. Michael had four passes intercepted (at least 2 were deflected by our wide receivers), and had a rough indoctrination in his first college football game (ASU already led the conference in interceptions coming into the game today, and will likely end the season at the top).

Adam played the first quarter and the entire second half. He would end the day going 14 of 26 for 162 yards with 1 TD and 1 interception on the afternoon. Four times on the day he led Idaho into scoring range, and Idaho walked away with 3 TDs and a 38 yard Keith Stamps field goal.

Idaho's other score in the second half came on a fantastic 86 yard Rod Bryant punt return for a touchdown early in the fourth quarter. The score would narrow ASU's lead to 23-31. Down by over a touchdown, Idaho went for 2 and the score failed. Later in the fourth Idaho would score again, bringing the game to within 2 points (29-31). Again, Idaho went for 2, and again they fell short.

ASU's next possession was a 12 play, 80 yard scoring drive that ground 7:14 off the play clock. With just over 4 minutes left, and Idaho down 29-38, Idaho's next possession failed with a fumble, and the game was sealed for ASU.

In the end, ASU racked up 467 total yards, including 302 yards rushing. The league's leading rusher, ASU's Danny Smith, ended the day with 206 yards on an impressive 40 carries, with 4 touchdowns and a 5.6 yards per carry average.

Not a bad day's work.

On a bright note for Idaho, senior Josh Jelmberg got back into the lineup (recovering from an injury sustained in the MTSU game), and was able to haul in 2 catches for 26 yards. Whether or not he's fully recovered from the injury that sidelined him the past 2 weeks, we admire his effort to get back on the field. Idaho's leading receiver for this game was running back Blair Lewis (4 catches for 51 yards), followed closely by redshirt freshman Jeff Stowe who caught 3 passes for 54 yards.

Blair ended the day with 101 yards on 20 carries, with 2 touchdowns, a long of 18 yards, and a 5.1 yards-per-carry average. Incidentally, Blair was the only running back to take a hand-off on the day.

Probably the most impressive performance of the day (next to Rod Bryant's punt return) was delivered by punter Ryan Downes. The junior averaged an impressive 57 yards per kick on 2 punts, with a long of 58 yards, and one punt that landed inside the ASU 20. An excellent effort, by one of Idaho's most consistent performers.

Mercifully, there is just one game left in this season. Next week Idaho plays host to New Mexico State, who today lost at North Texas and is now 2nd in the conference. Given today's attendance of just 7,825 in The Dome, one can only hope more fans will find their way to Moscow to see this year's senior class off. A group that includes Jordan Kramer, Blair Lewis, Josh Jelmberg, Dennis Taeatafa, and a host of others who have done everything in their power to turn this season around and end on a strong note.

A group that, for the most part, has devoted 5 years of their lives to the Silver and Gold.

Read More

Idaho Official Site, Game Summary and Stats

Arkansas Newspaper Article

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