MOSCOW — Idaho’s week of defensive preparation heading into Saturday’s return home surely focused around Appalachian State’s stellar junior running back Marcus Cox.
His six 100-plus yard performances have been the staple of Appalachian State’s balanced offensive approach during its 7-2 start to the season.
What the Vandals probably didn’t expect? A third-string redshirt freshman striding up and down the Kibbie Dome turf for 244 yards. Jalin Moore, a 5-foot-11 speedster, continually caught Idaho’s defense over-pursuing, finding cutback lanes and making guys miss downfield to create 10 runs of 10 yards or more and keep the football with the Mountaineers for nearly 37 minutes of their 47-20 victory.
“We were worried about Cox,” Petrino said. “We knew about him (Moore) but we were concerned with stopping the main running back.”
It’s the third time Idaho has allowed an opposing running back to rush for over 200 yards. Moore joins Arkansas State’s Michael Gordon and New Mexico State’s Larry Rose III in this not-so-exclusive club.
“It seemed we were cutting off the play side pretty well and then he’d just find little creases on the back side,” linebacker Broc Westlake said. “They run that stretch and then he’s finding little seams and the cutback lane. We’ll have to see on film.”
A byproduct of Moore’s nine-yards-a-rush clip? Clock control.
The Vandals only ran eight plays in the third quarter, partly because Moore gashed Idaho for 107 of his 244-yard total in that frame, which kept the ball with Appalachian State for 11:26 of the 15 minutes.
That made it difficult for Idaho to capitalize on the momentum of scoring right before the half. Austin Rehkow was true from 44 yards out to get Idaho within 21-13 at halftime.
“Yeah, it was tough, but at the same time it’s partly the offense’s fault, too,” tight end Trent Cowan said. “ … We have to do better of having the ball and keeping possession of the ball. But yeah, it was tough. You wanted to be out there and you wanted to make plays and you couldn’t.”
Maintaining momentum out of halftime is becoming somewhat of a problem for Idaho. The Vandals have seen their bowl hopes slip away by blowing 23-7 and 24-7 leads in back to back weeks at New Mexico State and South Alabama – the difference between coming into this game 5-4 and the 3-6 clip Idaho had.
And then there was Saturday, Idaho’s bowl hopes officially being taken off the table in all too familiar fashion – a cavernous and empty Kibbie Dome watching an Idaho team let a close game slip away into a multiple-score loss.
Still, with three wins under his belt and two games still to play, Petrino feels the program is making progress.
“I think progress has been made. I think progress has been made hugely. Were we happy with today? No. Has progress been made? Yes, greatly,” Petrino said. “Are we going to try and come out and make a statement the next two games? Yes, we try and do that every week. Just gotta go back to work, practice really hard and work on good things.”
Arkansas State 59, Louisiana-Monroe 21: Fredi Knighten threw for 300 yards and five touchdowns passes, and ran for a score as the Red Wolves maintained sole possession of first place in the Sun Belt Conference with a win over the Warhawks in Monroe, Louisiana.
Georgia Southern 45, Troy 10: Matt Breida had 84 yards rushing and a touchdown on 17 carries to lead a balanced ground game in Georgia Southern’s win over Troy in Troy, Alabama.
Georgia State 41, Texas State 19: Nick Arbuckle threw for a school-record and career-high 471 yards and a career-high-tying four TDs to lead Georgia State to a victory in San Marcos, Texas.
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