#43 Idaho State FCS Football 2019 Preview

Idaho State Bengals
Overall Rank: #43
#7 Big Sky
 Idaho State Logo
After a 4-2 start to last season, Idaho State was thinking about the playoffs. Those playoffs hopes were alive and well until the very end of the season when the Bengals failed to finish the job with losses to Cal Poly and Weber State. Even though the season ended disappointingly, Idaho State took a step in the right direction and will hope to take another step in 2019.
2018 Record: 6-5, 5-3
2018 Postseason: None
Coach: Rob Phenicie (10-12 at Idaho State, 10-12 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Mike Ferriter
Defensive Coordinator: Roger Cooper
Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Ty Flanagan, RB, 803 yards
Passing: Gunnar Amos, QB, 58 yards
Receiving: Mitch Gueller, WR, 1,259 yards
Tackles: Cody Graves, LB, 83
Sacks: Kainoa Fuiava, DL, 2.0; TJ Togiai, DL, 2.0; Caleb Brown, DB, 2.0
Interceptions: Adkin Aguirre, DB, 3; Caleb Brown, DB, 3
Other Key Returnees: WR Michael Dean, TE Austin Campbell, DB Christian McFarland, LB Oshea Trujillo
Key Losses: RB James Madison, QB Tanner Gueller, LB Christian Holland, LB Paea Moala, DB Koby Lowe
The Bengals ranked sixth in the FCS in total offense, tallying 494.9 yards per game. Replacing quarterback Tanner Gueller is the big question heading into the 2019 campaign. Gunnar Amos has been Gueller’s backup for three seasons, but has completed just 14 passes in that span. Amos will have a lot of talent around him though, including one of the most experienced offensive lines in the country. Mitch Gueller and Michael Dean combined to catch 111 passes for 2,122 yards and 19 touchdowns and will help take some of the pressure off Amos. The return of Ty Flanagan, who rushed for 803 yards and eight scores, adds even more experience to the offense.
The defense allowed 33 points per game last season so there is a lot of room for improvement. There are some questions at linebacker where Christian Holland and Paea Moala need to be replaced, but there is plenty of experience everywhere else. Getting to the quarterback was a problem last season, but the hope is Kainoa Fuiava and TJ Togiai can be more consistent in 2019. The Bengals will still create some turnovers though with Adkin Aguirre, Caleb Brown and Christian McFarland making big plays in the secondary.
The Bottom Line:
As always, the margin for error in the Big Sky will be razor thin and the Bengals could once again see the playoffs as being just out of reach. The non-conference slate includes games against Utah, Northern Iowa and BYU. Trips to Montana and Weber State will be extremely difficult as well. If Idaho State cannot win any of those contests, they have to win every other game on the schedule, which would include trips to Idaho and Southern Utah and a home date against Eastern Washington.
Projected Postseason: None
2018 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 207.7 (25th in nation, 4th in conference)
Passing Offense: 287.2 (12, 2)
Total Offense: 494.9 (6, 2)
Scoring Offense: 35.3 (14, 3)
Rushing Defense: 204.3 (90, 8)
Pass Defense: 246.6 (101, 12)
Total Defense: 450.9 (99, 9)
Scoring Defense: 33.0 (87, 7)
Turnover Margin: 0.18 (41, 7)
Sacks: 1.55 (86, 9)
Sacks Allowed: 2.82 (99, 12)
HERO Sports 2019 Recruit Rankings:
#228 Preston Helwege
#254 Raiden Hunter
#288 Carson Fugleberg