Idaho found the end zone on the game’s opening drive, but Coastal Carolina accounted for the rest of the scoring as the Vandals (3-7, 2-4 Sun Belt) suffered a 13-7 defeat in their home finale Saturday, at the Kibbie Dome.
Mason Petrino, making his first-career start at quarterback, hit Alfonso Onunwor for an 18-yard touchdown to cap a nine-play, 75-yard drive to open the game. Petrino was 4-for-5 for 54 yards and the score on the possession. He finished the game 18-for-26 for 177 yards playing in place of injured four-year starter Matt Linehan who was one of 17 seniors honored before the final home game of their careers.
The Vandal defense allowed just 275 yards of total offense to the Chanticleers (2-9, 1-6 Sun Belt). Only one CCU play went for more than 20 yards, a 42-yard touchdown run by Alex James to tie the game with 6:57 left in the second quarter. The visitors would take a 10-7 lead into halftime as Evan Rabon connected on a 52-yard field goal with 31 seconds left into the half.
Idaho moved the ball on its first drive of the second half, marching 64 yards in 12 plays. The drive stalled in the red zone where Cade Coffey’s 29-yard field goal attempt was deflected, keeping Chanticleers in front.
Fortunes appeared to turn on the ensuing possession when Kaden Elliss forced a fumble, scooped it up and was headed for the end zone but a whistle stopped play. Officials initially ruled CCU quarterback Kilton Anderson down before the fumble. The call was overturned after a video review and the Vandals were given possession where Elliss recovered the fumble.
A holding penalty curtailed any momentum and Idaho was forced to punt.
Rabon added a 34-yard field goal with 11:46 to play, but his miss from 48 yards with 5:12 left in regulation gave the Vandals new life. Instead, the Chanticleers stopped Idaho on fourth down near midfield.
The 13 points allowed are the fewest surrendered by the Vandals this season. Idaho is now 8-1 under Paul Petrino when allowing fewer than 20 points.
Elliss led the way on defense with 10 tackles, including nine solo stops. He had three tackles for loss, including one sack, to go along with his forced and recovered fumble.
Aaron Duckworth was Idaho’s leading rusher for the ninth time this season. Duckworth registered 70 yards on 18 carries.
The Vandals will finish the season with two road games, beginning Nov. 25 at New Mexico State and concluding Dec. 2 at Georgia State.
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