#28 Idaho State FCS Football 2015 Preview

Idaho State Bengals

Overall Rank: #28
#4 Big Sky

Idaho State Team Page#28 Idaho State FCS Football 2015 PreviewBuy Idaho State Football Tickets

Idaho State put together a very impressive 2014 season. Besides losses to Utah and Utah State, the only blemishes on their resume were a three point loss at Eastern Washington and a five point loss at Montana State. But with a couple lower division teams on the schedule and no Montana or Northern Arizona, the Bengals did not do enough to make it into the playoffs.

2014 Record: 8-4, 6-2
2014 Postseason: None
Coach: Mike Kramer (14-32 at Idaho State, 91-107 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Sheldon Cross
Defensive Coordinator: Spencer Toone

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Xavier Finney, RB, 1,495 yards
Passing: James Delacenserie, QB, 66 yards
Receiving: Madison Mangum, WR, 1,234 yards
Tackles: Mario Jenkins, LB, 120
Sacks: Mario Jenkins, LB, 2.0; Taison Manu, DB, 2.0
Interceptions: Mario Jenkins, LB, 3

Other Key Returnees: RB Jakori Ford, WR KW Williams, WR Broc Malcom, TE Josh Cook, OL Christian Diehm, OL Terrence Carey, OL Wesley Wingrove, DB Cody Sorensen, DL Tyler Kuder

Key Losses: QB Justin Arias, RB Daniel McSturdy, OL Jim Bagley, DL Austin Graves, LB Erik Nelson, LB Mitch Beckstead, DB Vai Peko

The offense returns four starting linemen and just about everybody who recorded a carry or caught a pass. However, one player not returning is quarterback Justin Arias. He threw for 4,076 yards and 38 touchdowns during his senior season. Having other pieces back is great, but losing the man who led the team to the FCS’s best passing offense is going to hurt. The new quarterback will likely be junior college transfer Michael Sanders, redshirt freshman Tanner Gueller or freshman Robert Kvinsland. Madison Mangum, KW Williams and Broc Malcolm are the top receivers who will make the job much easier for the new quarterback. Mangum caught 83 passes for 1,234 yards and ten touchdowns, while Williams added 65 catches for 922 yards and ten more scores. The ground game will be led by Xavier Finney. He rushed for 1,495 yards and 14 touchdowns.

Idaho State can outscore just about anybody, but this team could win more games with some improvement from the defense. This was a team that allowed 34 points to Chadron State after all. Linebacker Mario Jenkins recorded a team high 120 tackles and will team up with Hayden Stout and Kurt Karstetter to form a decent group at linebacker. The secondary will be led by Taison Manu and Cody Sorensen, who combined for 205 tackles in 2014. The biggest concern is on the line and in the pass rushing department. The one thing the defense did do well was get pressure on the quarterback, but without Austin Graves, Erik Nelson and Mitch Beckstead getting to the quarterback will not be simple. Without pressure, Idaho State may not be able to create as many turnovers.

The Bottom Line:
Idaho State still has a lot to prove. Their win over Cal Poly last year was the first time the Bengals beat a ranked opponent since 2005. They may need to beat another ranked opponent or two this year in order to make the playoffs. The Bengals do get Eastern Washington, Montana and Montana State at home. But that means most of the more winnable games are on the road. With nonconference contests against Boise State and UNLV, Idaho State does not have much margin for error.

Projected Postseason: None

2014 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 213.9 (23rd in nation, 3rd in conference)
Passing Offense: 348.1 (1, 1)
Total Offense: 562.0 (2, 1)
Scoring Offense: 40.3 (6, 2)
Rushing Defense: 183.7 (75, 6)
Pass Defense: 291.1 (118, 12)
Total Defense: 474.8 (110, 10)
Scoring Defense: 31.4 (91, 8)
Turnover Margin: 0.83 (11, 2)
Sacks: 2.42 (31, 3)
Sacks Allowed: 1.25 (22, 2)

Madness 2015 Recruit Rankings:
#56 Ty Flanagan


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