Down 17 with nine minutes left, Idaho freshman quarterback Matt Linehan fumbled on a failed fourth down attempt. South Alabama took over and three plays later running back Jay Jones rushed 18 yards for the games final touchdown.
South Alabama won 34-10 in front of the Dad’s Weekend crowd in the Kibbie Dome.
“They just whooped us,” Idaho coach Paul Petrino said. “There’s no other way of putting it.”
Idaho falls to 0-4 and will attempt to win its first game next Saturday at Texas State, who is 2-2 on this season.
Once again, Idaho trailed early. South Alabama scored 27 points before sophomore kicker Austin Rehkow connected on a 37-yard field goal, which made the score 27-3 with just under seven minutes left in the third quarter.
Petrino said it hurt to settle for field goal attempts after long drives. He highlighted a 17-play drive that stalled and Rehkow failed to convert the long field goal attempt.
“Offensively we got our butts kicked,” he said. “We’ve been playing really well on offense, they’ve been playing really well on defense and they came out on top.”
The offense wasn’t able find a rhythm against the tough South Alabama defense. Petrino said the offensive line needs to start controlling the line of scrimmage and they need to run the ball more efficiently.
Idaho rushed for 101 yards — which doesn’t include the negative 70 yards from the seven sacks surrendered.
Linehan finished 25 of 40 for 239 passing yards, two interceptions and one touchdown. This was the first time in four games Linehan wasn’t able to eclipse 300 passing yards.
“I knew going into the game it was the best defense that we have played, but I thought we would play well and still score points on offense — obviously we didn’t,” Petrino said.
Petrino said he was pleased with the improved play of his defense. He thought they flew around and made some good plays.
He said the defense played well enough to win this game, which wasn’t the case for the first home game against Western Michigan.
“Yeah I don’t understand why didn’t play well, it doesn’t make much sense to me,” said Petrino of the home games. “Maybe it was two better teams we’ve played at home … It shouldn’t be the case, you should play better at home.”