Vandals Drop Opener to Ohio, 45-28 - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Vandals Drop Opener to Ohio, 45-28

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The Idaho Vandals dropped their fifth straight season opener with a 45-28 loss to Ohio. The Idaho Vandals dropped their fifth straight season opener with a 45-28 loss to Ohio.

MOSCOW, Idaho – The two things coach Paul Petrino said couldn’t happen did Thursday night as the Ohio Bobcats topped Idaho 45-28 in the season-opening football game for both teams.

The two things: turnovers – the Vandals had three, and yielding big plays – the Bobcats had a handful. The most damaging of Idaho’s three turnovers were in the first quarter when a tipped pass was intercepted and returned for a touchdown, and a fumble at the Idaho 25 that also led to a Bobcat score.

Those two things plus Ohio scoring on its first drive with the key play a 50-yard pass put the Bobcats up 21-0 with 3:37 left in the first quarter.

“You never want to come out down 21-0 – that’s for sure,” Petrino said. “We were just beating ourselves early and had early turnovers and gave up big plays. That’s the stuff we have to stop. We can’t do that and expect to beat good teams.”

The Vandals did find rhythm as the game progressed but never were able to quite catch up, despite quarterback Matt Linehan connecting on 74.5 percent of his passes, receiver Dezmon Epps recording his fourth career 100-plus game with 148, and running back Elijhaa Penny covering 167 all-purpose yards (69 rushing, 66 on kickoff returns, and 32 receiving). All told, Linehan threw for 285 yards and one touchdown. Penny scored the other TD and Austin Rehkow was good on both his field goals – 40 and 20.

“The guys kept playing hard, especially the offense in the second half,” Petrino said. “Defensively, we have to stop the run.”

Linebackers Marc MillanBroc Westlake and Chris Edwards had seven tackles each to lead the defense.

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