Isaiah Saunders punched in the go-ahead touchdown, Austin Rehkow drilled a 50-yard field goal and Idaho rolled to a 23-13 win over Louisiana on Saturday night.
Tied 10-10 in the second quarter, Saunders capped a 10-play, 51-yard drive with a 1-yard touchdown run to put Idaho (5-4, 3-2 Sun Belt) on top for good. He finished with 86 yards on 21 carries and had five catches for 55 yards.
“Isaiah stepped up and was a stud,” coach Paul Petrino said. “Sometimes you need someone to will you to victory.”
Louisiana (3-5, 2-3) cut the margin to four points with a 29-yard field goal by Stevie Artigue late in the first half, but it was all Idaho the rest of the way in a game with no turnovers.
Rehkow, who had a 29-yard field goal in the first quarter, kicked the 50-yarder late in the third quarter and padded the Vandals’ advantage again with a 44-yarder midway through the fourth. Matt Linehan was 20-of-30 for 227 yards passing for Idaho. Anthony Jennings completed 17 of his 30 passes for 161 yards for Louisiana.
Idaho has three chances — against the Sun Belt’s bottom three teams — to become bowl-eligible for the first time since 2009. The Vandals finish a three-game road swing at Texas State (2-6, 0-4), then host South Alabama (4-5, 1-5) and Georgia State (2-7, 1-4) to end the season.
Nov. 12: Idaho at Texas State, 2 p.m. (ESPN3)