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Miscues keep Vandals from victory

| October 31, 2021 1:17 AM

From wire and news services, and staff reports

MOSCOW — The fight was definitely there, Idaho coach Paul Petrino stressed.

But mistakes ultimately did in the Vandals in a 38-31 Big Sky Conference football loss to Northern Arizona on Saturday before xxxx at the Kibbie Dome.

The Lumberjacks (4-4, 3-2 Big Sky) picked off Mike Beaudry three times, the final one coming at the NAU 5 yard-line with 1:04 left to seal the win.

Idaho (2-6, 1-4) led 21-17 at halftime, but NAU surprised the Vandals with a fake punt early in the third quarter, with up back Harrison Beemiller zipped 50 yards relatively unscathed for a touchdowns.

The Vandals never led again.

“I was proud of the way our guys fought and competed,” Petrino said. “They fought all the way to the end; they competed all the way to the end. You can’t give up a fake (punt) for a touchdown, and have three interceptions, and win a close game.

“Did we play good enough football to win? No, we didn’t. We gave up a couple things that you can’t give up. But no one’s going to say they didn’t fight, because they fought for sure.”

Beaudry, who missed the last two games with a shoulder injury, completed 28 of 46 for 306 yards.

Terez ​​Traynor tallied a Vandal career-high 157 yards and a touchdown on 12 catches. Mekhi Stevenson had nine catches for 92 yards.

RJ Martinez threw for 238 yards and three touchdowns and Kevin Daniels ran for 177 yards for Northern Arizona in its first trip to Moscow since 1994, near the end of the Vandals’ first stint in the Big Sky. Martinez's 1-yard touchdown run with 5:17 left proved to be the game winner. The play was set up when Martinez threw a 21-yard completion to Coleman Owen. Owen had seven catches for 139 yards.

“When they ran the ball well, they moved it, and then Coleman kinda killed us,” Petrino said. “They threw the ball to him, and he made big plays. When we were in a two-high (safety) defense, they ran the ball and made big plays. When we were in a one-high, they threw it to Coleman.”

Idaho took an early 7-0 lead on a 1-yard touchdown by Logan Kendall. The score was set up by a hard-fought 26-yard carry that saw Kendall carry several defenders down field.

Northern Arizona scored a pair of touchdowns before the Vandals tied the game with another 1-yard touchdown run by Kendall.

Idaho regained the lead with a defensive touchdown. Fa'Avae Fa'Avae strip-sacked RJ Martinez. The ball bounced right to Charles Akanno, who grabbed the ball inside the 5 and stepped into the end zone for the defensive touchdown.

The Lumberjacks closed the half with a 23-yard field goal to cut the Vandal lead to 21-17 at the half.

Following the score on the fake punt, NAU increased the margin to 10 when Martinez threw a 29-yard scoring pass to Owen not even four minutes later. Early in the fourth quarter, Beaudry threw a 5-yard scoring pass to Traynor, and Logan Prescott's 29-yard field goal with 6:46 left tied it at 31.

Fa'Vae led the defense with 13 tackles and the forced fumble sack that led to the touchdown. Tre Walker added 11 tackles.

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