Bengals look to avoid upset vs. Western State

The last time Idaho State started a season 2-0, Larry Lewis was pacing the sidelines for the Bengals.

ISU beat Eastern Oregon (54-28) and Fort Lewis (42-3) to open its 1999 season, Lewis’ first. Fourteen years later, the Bengals are looking to equal that feet.

Idaho State defeated Dixie State 40-14 last Saturday, and welcome Western State Colorado University (Gunnison, Colo.) — another Division II school — to Holt Arena this weekend.

“Western State is a football team a lot like us,” said ISU head coach Mike Kramer. “A couple of years ago they started all over again, (and) they still haven’t found their footing.”

The Mountaineers went 1-10 each of the last two seasons, and opened 2013 with a 48-21 home defeat to No. 4 West Texas A&M.

“The game was not competitive early,” Kramer said. “They kept playing hard, though, and scored some touchdowns to make the score feel like it was a closer game.

“I believe that they will look at this as an opportunity to unveil their season, so we’ll be very careful about what they try to do to us.”

Western State hails from the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference, and was picked in the RMAC preseason coaches poll to finish ninth out of 10 teams.

In order for the Bengals to begin their season with two victories and zero defeats, they will have to avoid the upset. Just last week, Colorado State-Pueblo (also from the RMAC) beat Big Sky opponent Northern Colorado 41-36 in Greeley.

Colorado State-Pueblo was picked to win the RMAC in the preseason. Western State obviously isn’t at that same level. On paper, the Bengals are a better team. That’s why they’re called upsets.

“We’re just going to come in focused,” said redshirt senior wide receiver Cam Richmond. “We had a good day of practice (Tuesday), and we’re going to keep having a good week. We just want to feel that winning feeling again like we felt in the locker room after Saturday’s game. We’re not going to let anything stand between that.”

Kramer is no stranger to the upset as a head coach. Twice during his seven years with Montana State he was beaten by schools from lower divisions.

“I woke up on Sunday absolutely fearful that we couldn’t repeat it again next week,” he said. “And my history is that I don’t repeat it.”

Central Washington defeated Kramer’s Bobcats in 2002, and Chadron State (also an RMAC school) beat them in 2006.

“These Division II teams can get after you if you’re really not careful and not prepared to play a full game,” Kramer said.

Looming next week for Idaho State is a trip to Seattle to take on the Washington Huskies. Playing Western State is the proverbial trap game.

The Bengals are preparing to avoid just that.

“We just want to focus one game at a time,” said redshirt junior quarterback Justin Arias. “We just want to focus on this week against Western State-Colorado. We have to keep watching film on them and perform well against them. It’s a faceless opponent. It doesn’t matter who we’re playing; we’re just going to work on us.”

“(We have) to be razor-focused that this is week two of a 12-week process, not a game against Western State,” Kramer said.

The Bengals say this week-to-week mentality has them working to take on a faceless opponent. Kramer joked that he doesn’t even know who his team faces next weekend. He compares this season to building a nice piece of furniture. It’s a slow, melodic process where one must go step-by-step to avoid mishaps or errors.

“We have got to make sure that we don’t look away from the prize and saw our finger off in the table saw,” he said.

Idaho State and Western State kickoff from Holt Arena Saturday at 3:05 p.m.

5 thoughts on “Bengals look to avoid upset vs. Western State

  1. proverbial trap game.(something like no free lunch but free cheese on a mouse trap).
    And then the comparison of 1999 and the two wins from the gate”SU beat Eastern “Oregon (54-28) and Fort Lewis (42-3) to open its 1999 season, Lewis’ first. Fourteen years later, the Bengals are looking to equal that feet.” Big feet huh maybe size 15.

    No, the Bengals went 4-7 that season. Since 2007 ISU has lost twice to D11 schools.
    One was North Dakota that has transitioned twice to the Great West and then to the Big Sky and was a championship team in D11 as was Northern Colorado. And then to Central Washington in 2009.

    A real big difference these teams beatr ISU because they were used to winning.
    There is an old saying,”nothing succeeds like success.”

    Truthfully, Western state should not have played West Texas this year. It is pure
    laziness on the part of the athletic department at Western state not to schedule an D111 school or a NAIA school, particularly when they scheduled a game with a D1A school.

    Is there a comparison between ISU and Washington and ISU and Western games?
    Not even close. Washington is projected to best ISU 60-6. The chances of ISU pulling off an upset against Washington are

  2. one in ten. But that is on the books. Eastern beat Oregon because they had a quarterback vernon Adams thaat scored seven touchdowns in one half against Sam Houston State. Adams also racked up four touchdowns in the first quarter against
    Western Oregon.

    No, it is no shot in the dark. Justin Arias could be a great quarterback. he could be
    championship caliber. But as yet he doesn’t have the record.

    But the reality is Western states is a bunch of freshmen. They just don’t know how to win, period. Of course there would be no game if there was no scare to it.

    Why won’t ISU beat Washington? Try the scare factor. If and when they scare ISU off the ball–game over. And they are going to come after Justin Arias like ugly on an ape. If the ISU offensive line can’t hold–it is all she wrote Susie, write home for the ticket back cause it is all up.

    truthfully Western is going to be a total repeat. Justin and Brandon are going to be out for a holiday.

    But the trap game may come against Washington if Garcia decides to make it a day. Washington’s free cheese may come out to be a mousetrap.
    And ISU may be drunk with glory and not worth a dime for the rest of the year like Sacremento against Colorado state last year, or the White Sox winning the first game of the 1959 world series, and losing everyone after.

    Question is Northern Colorado’s loss to Pueblo came at a bad time and there is no redemption down the road for them until maybe Sacraamento. Wyoming and Northern Iowa are going to have a field day. Lobato is numb with disbelief.
    Problem is Walker graduated last year and they are left without the man that carried them to four conference wins last season. Yes indeed, one man can make a difference. ask Boise state when they lost Austin Petit. Boise went from #3 to
    #20 or so.

    But ISU has two point makers that are championship caliber–Arias and Garcia
    and that may just give them a play-off berth if they can best Southern and Portland
    and a championship if they can find their way past Eastern. Not impossible by any means.
    of rretribution.

  3. It probably more than anything boils down to this. Western state is leaderless.
    A freshman quarterback that has played one college game and no returners
    of high tech caliber.

    But —even Clark Kent can have a bad hair day.

  4. Western will not be a challenge. This game should help find our running game and passing touchdowns, fine tune blocking assignments and passing routes, decrease penalties, and above all, come out healthy–no injuries.

  5. Will the 2013 ISU team be able to score touchdowns in the Red Zone this season? The 2012 ISU team lead the BSC in passing yards last season and moved the ball up and down the field but were unable to score touchdowns within the Red Zone when it counted. We will see tomorrow when ISU gets to the Red Zone.

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