The two things Idaho coach Paul Petrino said couldn’t happen did Thursday night in the Kibbie Dome as the Ohio Bobcats topped the Vandals 45-28 in the season-opening football game for both teams.
The two things:• Turnovers — the Vandals had three.
• Yielding big plays — the Bobcats had a handful.
The most damaging of Idaho’s three turnovers were in the first quarter, when a Matt Linehan tipped pass was intercepted and returned for a touchdown, and a fumble at the Idaho 25 that also led to a Bobcats score.
Those two things, plus Ohio scoring on its first drive with the key play being 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 Linehan connecting on 74.5 percent of his passes, receiver Dezmon Epps recording his fourth career 100-plus game with 148 on a game-high 14 catches, and running back Elijhaa Penny covering 167 all-purpose yards (69 rushing, 66 on kickoff returns, and 32 receiving).
Linehan completed 35-of-47 passes for 285 yards and one touchdown. Penny scored on two 1-yard runs and Austin Rehkow was good on both his field goals — 40 and 20 yards.
“The guys kept playing hard, especially the offense in the second half,” Petrino said. “Defensively, we have to stop the run.”
Idaho allowed 205 yards on the ground and an average of 5.4 yards a carry.
Linebackers Marc Millan, Broc Westlake and Chris Edwards had seven tackles each to lead the defense.
The official attendance for the home opener was listed at 11,587.
For the Bobcats, Derrius Vick completed 13-of-16 passes for 192 yards with two touchdowns to help lead the Mid-American Conference program.
Brendan Cope had 129 yards receiving on four catches, including a game-long 65-yarder, and a touchdown. Daz’mond Patterson added 84 yards rushing and a score for the Bobcats.
Ohio scored the first three touchdowns, highlighted by a 29-yard interception return by Jovon Johnson, to take a 21-0 lead late in the first quarter. Idaho cut the lead to 38-28 late in the fourth on a 5-yard touchdown pass from Linehan to Watson, but that’s as close as the Vandals would get.
Ohio outgained Idaho 489 yards to 391.
The game was just the fourth meeting all-time between the schools.
Idaho plays at USC on Sept. 12 in the Los Angeles Coliseum, and returns to the Kibbie Dome for back-to-back home games against Wofford (Sept. 19) and Georgia Southern (Sept. 26).
OHIO 45, IDAHO 28
Ohio—Cope 6 pass from Vick (Yazdani kick), 12:14.
Ohio—Reid 15 pass from Vick (Yazdani kick), 4:25.
Ohio—Johnson 29 interception return (Yazdani kick), 3:37.
Id—FG Rehkow 40, :25.
Id—Penny 1 run (Rehkow kick), 7:54.
Ohio—Heitzman 2 pass from Sprague (Yazdani kick), 6:15.
Id—FG Rehkow 20, 3:04.
Ohio—FG Yazdani 37, 8:55.
Id—Penny 1 run (Rehkow kick), 11:51.
Ohio—Patterson 1 run (Yazdani kick), 5:32.
Id—Watson 5 pass from Ma.Linehan (Watson pass from Mi.Linehan), 2:34.
Ohio—Nelson 17 run (Yazdani kick), :42.
|Time of Possession||29:23||30:37|
RUSHING—Ohio, Patterson 13-84, Ouellette 9-48, Vick 9-34, Nelson 2-21, White 3-13, Sprague 2-5. Idaho, Penny 17-69, Ma.Linehan 10-35, Duckworth 2-2.
PASSING—Ohio, Vick 13-16-0-192, Sprague 7-9-0-92. Idaho, Ma.Linehan 35-47-2-285.
RECEIVING—Ohio, Cope 4-129, Reid 4-68, Heitzman 4-25, White 3-40, S.Smith 2-13, Patterson 2-7, Ouellette 1-2. Idaho, Epps 14-148, Watson 5-48, Penny 5-32, Hightower 3-15, Cowan 2-14, Mwehla 2-11, Sannon 2-7, Manley 1-8, Saunders 1-2.