Idaho produced plenty of offensive highlights Saturday afternoon at the Kibbie Dome, but it was a couple of fourth-quarter defensive stands that allowed the Vandals to hold on for a 41-38 victory against FCS Wofford.
“It took everything and everyone we had,” coach Paul Petrino said after the Vandals improved to 1-2. “It was a great team effort.”
Quarterback Matt Linehan completed 73.5 percent (25-of-34) of his passes for 334 yards, two receivers had more than 100 yards apiece, Elijhaa Penny had 98 yards on 19 carries and Aaron Duckworth scored three rushing touchdowns.
Defensively, Russell Siavii scored on a fumble recovery in the first quarter to give Idaho a 7-0 lead, Quinton Bradley had three tackles for loss and Jordan Grabski had two. In all, the Vandals accounted for eight tackles for loss — four on the Terriers’ final two drives.
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• It was Linehan’s fifth career game with more than 300 passing yards.
• Dezmon Epps, with 129 yards on 10 catches, had his fifth career receiving game of more than 100 yards.
• Trent Cowan had 107 receiving yards, the best game by a Vandals tight end since Daniel Hardy had 116 in 2010.
• Saturday’s game was the first time since 2009 that two receivers had more than 100 yards each in a game.
Together, with a defense that dug deep in the fourth quarter, it was the combination needed for the Vandals to subdue the Terriers (1-2).
“There were about five guys that had unbelievable hustle plays,” Petrino said. “If everyone gives great effort, then it gives you a chance. I thought that’s what they did at the end.”
Wofford scored on two touchdown runs in the third quarter, then took a 38-34 lead on Chase Nelson’s 27-yard scoring run early in the fourth.
The Vandals scored the final TD when Duckworth raced in for the third time — this time from 10 yards. The big play of the drive, though, was Linehan’s 34-yard scamper on fourth-and-7 from the Wofford 10.
“Obviously,” Petrino said, “there are some things that we need to do better, but everyone dug deep, everybody fought for each other and we found a way to win. It was a beautiful day.”
The Vandals host Georgia Southern at 7 p.m. Saturday.