Vandals Roll to Homecoming Victory

Vandals Roll to Homecoming Victory

Mason Petrino and Cutrell Haywood hooked up for three touchdowns Saturday, to lead Idaho past Southern Utah 31-12 on Homecoming at the Kibbie Dome. The Vandals (3-4, 2-3 Big Sky) led 31-0 after three quarters and went on to their largest margin of victory in a conference game since 2016.

Haywood finished with seven receptions for 71 yards and three scores, becoming the first Vandal with three touchdown catches in a game since 2010 and the 11th in program history.

With Vandal legend and Pro Football Hall of Famer Jerry Kramer performing the pregame coin flip, Idaho won the toss and elected to receive the ball. The Vandal offense fed off the largest crowd of the season, driving 75 yards in 10 plays. A four-yard pass from Petrino to Haywood opened the scoring. Idaho has scored on its first drive each of the last four games, including touchdowns in the last three.

The Thunderbirds (1-6, 1-3 Big Sky) looked to respond quickly, taking a deep shot on their first offensive play from scrimmage. Vandal cornerback Lloyd Hightower ran with the receiver stride for stride down the right sideline and snatched Idaho’s first interception of the year 40 yards downfield and the Vandals never looked back.

It was the first of Idaho’s four forced turnovers, after entering the week with just one turnover gained through the first six games. Hightower also forced a fumble and recorded six tackles.

Petrino connected with Haywood for a 15-yard score just before halftime. Idaho used a 52-yard punt return from David Ungerer to set up the scoring opportunity with three minutes to play in the second quarter. On third down with time running low and no timeouts, Petrino found Haywood in the middle of the field. The receiver made two tacklers miss and lunged toward the end zone. His outstretched arm was just enough to force the tip of the ball across the goal line and put the Vandals on top 24-0 as they headed into the locker room.

Haywood’s final touchdown came on Idaho’s first drive of the second half, an 18-yard reception in the end zone.

The Vandals ran for 200 yards as a team, with a career high 107 yards coming from freshman Tyrese Walker. Isaiah Saunders added 92 yards on 25 carries, including one touchdown in the second quarter.

Cade Coffey converted an 18-yard field goal in the first quarter and helped Idaho dominate the field position battle as the punter. Coffey averaged 51.8 yards per kick on eight punts, including an 80-yard bomb in the second quarter – the second-longest punt in program history.

Christian Elliss led the Vandal defense with a career-high 13 tackles.

The Vandals continue Big Sky play next week (Oct. 27) at No. 9/8 Eastern Washington. Kickoff is slated for noon PT from Roos Field in Cheney, Wash.