JONESBORO — Arkansas State Coach Blake Anderson vowed this week to give his inexperienced quarterback some help Saturday night. Michael Gordon was more than willing to be the beneficiary.
ASU's senior running back churned out a career-high 221 yards on 26 carries and he scored three touchdowns while helping his team outlast Idaho in a 49-35 homecoming victory at Centennial Bank Stadium.
In his third start in place of injured starter Fredi Knighten, freshman James Tabary wasn't asked to do nearly as much as he was while throwing three interceptions last week in a loss at Toledo. Tabary completed 16 of 25 passes for 188 yards and one touchdown Saturday while watching Gordon and fellow running backs Johnston White and Warren Wand do the heavy lifting. Tabary's one mistake was an interception on a screen pass that Chris Edwards returned 20 yards for a touchdown that gave Idaho a 14-7 lead.
The Red Wolves (2-3, 1-0 Sun Belt) didn't stay down long, though. Gordon busted up the middle for a 59-yard run on the next drive and they were content to stay on the ground after that while taking advantage of one of college football's worst run defenses.
Gordon, who scored five touchdowns in last year's victory over Idaho, scored on runs of 59, 15 and 10 yards Saturday. Wand scored on a 50-yard run in which he started to the right, then cut back across the field in the first quarter. White scored twice on 2-yard runs and ASU had a season-high 333 yards rushing against the Vandals (1-4, 0-2), who gave up an average of 314.0 yards through their first four games.
See Sunday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full coverage.