Idaho State 2014 FCS Football Playoff Capsule

Idaho State Bengals
Big Sky


Idaho State snuck into the playoffs. Two of their wins came against DII teams, but two of their losses came against FBS teams. Their other two losses were extremely close games on the road at Eastern Washington and Montana State. Certainly those are not bad losses. However, thanks to a way too big Big Sky, the Bengals did not beat any of the better teams in conference. The only exception is possibly Cal Poly, who did finish with a winning record in conference play.

2014 Record: 8-4, 6-2
Coach: Mike Kramer

Big Wins: 9/27 Sacramento State (44-24), 11/8 Cal Poly (30-28)
Bad Losses: 10/4 at Eastern Washington (53-56), 11/15 at Montana State (39-44)

Deserving or not, Idaho State will be a fun team to watch in the playoffs. This group loves to throw the ball around and they usually do it quite effectively and efficiently. Quarterback Justin Arias threw for over 4,000 yards on the year and recorded an impressive 38 touchdown passes, while throwing ten interceptions. Madison Mangum and KW Williams are Arias’ favorite targets and accounted for over 2,000 receiving yards and 20 touchdowns. Every secondary better be prepared against Idaho State. But just when you start thinking too much about the passing game, Coach Mike Kramer will call on running backs Xavier Finney and Daniel McSurdy. Finney was the Big Sky’s top rusher before suffering an injury on November 15th. He missed the season finale against Weber State, but McSurdy rushed for 266 yards and two scores in his absence. Finney may be back for the playoffs.

Only a handful of teams allow more yards through the air than Idaho State. Any playoff caliber team is going to have a pretty easy time moving the ball against Idaho State and the Bengals are just hoping to keep up. The defense has plenty of experience attempting to stop the pass in the pass heavy Big Sky, but it has rarely been all that effective. Mario Jenkins, Taison Manu and Mitch Beckstead are big time playmakers and each have totaled over 100 tackles on the season and those three will be asked to do a lot in the playoffs. And that includes keeping their turnover margin above water. In a shootout type of game where it seems like everybody is scoring on every possession, turnovers are huge.

Statistical Leaders:
Rushing: Xavier Finney, RB, 1,495 yards
Passing: Justin Arias, QB, 4,076
Receiving: Madison Mangum, WR, 1,234
Tackles: Mario Jenkins, LB, 120
Sacks: Austin Graves, DL, 9.0
Interceptions: Vai Peko, DB, 4; Mitch Beckstead, LB, 4

2014 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 203.1 (30th in nation, 4th in conference)
Passing Offense: 350.5 (1, 1)
Total Offense: 553.5 (2, 1)
Scoring Offense: 39.8 (10, 3)
Rushing Defense: 183.6 (80, 5)
Pass Defense: 292.2 (118, 12)
Total Defense: 475.8 (112, 10)
Scoring Defense: 31.7 (94, 8)
Turnover Margin: 0.91 (7, 1)
Sacks: 2.64 (21, 2)
Sacks Allowed: 1.18 (20, 2)

Recent Playoff Appearances:
1983    First Round    Lost to Nevada
1981    First Round    Defeated Rhode Island
1981    Semifinals    Defeated South Carolina State
1981    Championship    Defeated Eastern Kentucky

*all team stats through 11/15


Playoff Central