ATLANTA - Idaho’s defense created four takeaways and the offense had its most prolific outing in more than a month as the Vandals closed the season with a 24-10 win Saturday, at Georgia State. Idaho (4-8, 3-5 Sun Belt) shutout the Panthers (6-5, 5-3 Sun Belt) in the second half, allowing GSU to gain just 132 yards of total offense after intermission.
Senior running back Aaron Duckworth rushed for 113 yards in his final collegiate game, cracking the 1,000-yard plateau for the season. Duckworth ripped off two big runs on consecutive plays late in the third quarter to set up Idaho’s game-sealing score. His 16-yard carry pushed the Vandals near midfield, followed immediately by a 44-yard scamper to put Idaho on the doorstep.
Duckworth’s backfield mate Isaiah Saunders would score from two yards out on the second play of the fourth quarter and give Idaho a 24-10 lead. Saunders finished with 61 yards on 14 carries to go with his second score of the season.
GSU scored on its first drive, marching 57 yards on four plays. The Vandals responded immediately behind freshman quarterback Colton Richardson. Making his first start, Richardson took the Vandals 75 yards in five plays on the second drive of the day to answer the Panthers’ early score. Richardson was 4-for-4 for 74 yards in the drive before Duckworth dove in from a yard out for the score.
Richardson finished the game 16-of-30 for 228 yards and a touchdown. He hit Alfonso Onunwor for a score in the second quarter to put the Vandals on top 14-7. They would not trail again. Onunwor caught a quick pass along the sideline, made one man miss and outran the defense for a 65-yard touchdown, the longest scoring play of the year for Idaho.
The touchdown capitalized on Jalen Hoover’s interception deep in Idaho’s own territory. Hoover also recovered a fumble in the third quarter, becoming the first Vandal with two takeaways in one game this season.
Tony Lashley led the defensive effort with a career-high-tying 16 tackles, including two-and-a-half for loss. Lashley reached 16 tackles three times this season, including each of the last two games. He finished the season with 123 tackles, the most by a Vandal since 2007.
The Vandals went into the half with a 14-10 lead and kept the momentum out of the locker room. Tevin Duke forced and recovered a fumble on the opening kickoff of the second half, setting up an eventual Cade Coffey 36-yard field goal to make it a touchdown advantage.
Georgia State drove into the red zone five times, but Idaho’s defense limited them to just one touchdown and one field goal on those trips.
The 14-point win marked Idaho’s first Sun Belt game this season decided by more than eight points. The Vandals played a school-record seven one-possession games, including five conference losses by a combined 24 points.