Game location: LaVell Edwards Stadium- Provo, UT
Game time/channel: 3:30pm ET/BYUtv or ESPN3
Head coach: Rob Phenicie
Phenicie began coaching at Idaho State in 2015 as a receivers coach. He took over as head man in Pocatello ahead of the 2017 season. Before arriving at Idaho State, he made several stops around college football. First, he was a grad assistant at Memphis in 1989 and most recently, was at UNLV from 2010-2014 as their offensive coordinator.
In 2017, under his tutelage, Idaho State knocked off their first FBS team in school history, beating Nevada. The Bengals went 6-5 in 2018 but have struggled to replicate that success since.
2021 Season Thus Far
The Bengals currently sit at 1-7, with their lone victory coming against UC Davis on October 9. They have played one FBS team thus far in Nevada, whom they lost to 49-10. They are 1-5 in Big Sky Conference play as well.
Last weekend, they faced Weber State at home and lost 40-17.
2021 Team Rankings (among 123 FCS teams)
Scoring offense: 112th
Total offense: 95th
Passing yards: 87th
Rushing yards: 84th
Scoring defense: 101st
Total defense: 112th
Pass yards allowed: 106th
Rush yards allowed: 103rd
Turnover margin: 98th
It may be weird to consider this a strength, but Idaho State has done a great job avoiding penalties this year. Of the 123 FCS teams, they are tied for 21st in least amount of penalties taken. This is a credit to Coach Phenicie guiding a disciplined team.
Biggest Weakness- Total defense
Any defensive stat you look at, Idaho State is near the bottom. They rank in the 100st in scoring defense, total defense, passing and rushing defense. They are also second-to-last in sacks on defense. They simply do not bother the opposing quarterbacks much.
BYU should be able to move the ball at will against the Bengals, since BYU ranks 38th in the country in total offense, all while playing five Power 5 teams, head and shoulders above the competition Idaho State offers.
Best Player- Tanner Conner, WR
Frankly, not a lot of players stick out with gaudy stats on either side of the ball for Idaho State. However, Conner is clearly their best pass-catcher. He has 28 catches for 490 yards and three touchdowns. He averages 17.5 yards per reception.
How BYU Can Win
It doesn’t get any simpler than this. BYU just needs to not turn the ball over five-plus times and they should win comfortably. BYU last played Idaho State in 2019 and won 42-10. Typically, under Kalani Sitake, BYU has not blown out FCS opponents like one would expect. 20167’s squad beat Portland State just 20-6 with some offensive struggles that would serve as foreshadowing for the rest of that challenging season.
The Cougars beat McNeese State 30-3 in 2018. The exception came last year, when BYU put up 66 points on North Alabama. Can BYU put up 60-plus points for a second straight week? That has not happened in BYU history. In 2001, BYU put up 63 points against Air Force and then 59 against San Diego State the next week. This would be a new level.
Either way, barring absolute, unthinkable, Biblical-scale disasters abound, BYU should cruise.