The Idaho Vandals dominated on both sides of the football in a 24-10 win over the Georgia State Panthers in Atlanta on Saturday.
An explosive Vandal offense was on full display in Georgia, something fans have been craving to see for weeks.
Idaho’s offense came alive on their second possession of the ball game, with freshman quarterback Colton Richardson connecting with junior tight end/linebacker Kaden Elliss on an incredible one handed catch for 34 yards.
The 100-second drive ended with a touchdown from senior running back Aaron Duckworth to tie the game 7-7.
This may have been the most promising drive the Vandals have had in the past few weeks, putting the slow offensive starts behind them coming into the last game of the season.
The Vandal defense came up huge late in the first quarter with forced fumble by freshman defensive back Christian Elliss at the Idaho three-yard line to stop any possible scoring for Georgia State at the end of the first quarter.
The big plays continued for Idaho in the second quarter with an interception by freshman Jalen Hoover to give Idaho the ball. Two plays later Richardson connected for a 65-yard touchdown to senior wide receiver Alfonso Onunwor to give Idaho the lead at 14-7.
The momentum continued to roll for the Vandals at the start of the second half when Idaho forced a Panther fumble on the opening kickoff, giving Idaho great field position.
After another fumble from Georgia State later in the ballgame, Idaho had possession once again. This was the second Panther fumble in the third quarter.
The running attack came to life for the Vandals in the second half, when Aaron Duckworth finally broke 1000 yards rushing on the season. Duckworth is now the 14th 1000-yard rusher in Vandal history.
Junior running back Isaiah Saunders scored in the first minute of the fourth quarter to put an exclamation point on the ball game.
This was a great finish for the Vandals, who finally showed a glimpse of what the Vandal offense was promised to be at the start of the season.
Throughout all of this season, fans have been waiting to see the explosiveness the Idaho offense can bring — it only took 12 games and a third-string freshman quarterback to get things going.
Richardson played exceptionally well for his first start of his career, looking to dominate play next season heading into the FCS.
The Vandals were dominant on both sides of the football, giving fans what they thought they would see the whole season, but in the final game of the FBS.
Going into next season, Vandal fans should be excited for what is to come. Despite an overall disappointing season, the glimpse into the future shines a light of hope.
The glimpse of the future talent is a promising sign for Idaho next year heading to the FCS, but one could only wonder what this season would have been like if the Vandals played like they did on Saturday.
Chris Deremer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org