LOGAN, Utah – The Idaho State football team was slaughtered by the fast-paced Utah State offense Thursday night at Maverick Stadium in Logan, Utah, as the Bengals fell to Utah State, 51-13, while surrendering 596 yards of total offense.
Utah State (1-1) collected points on its first three drives of the ball game and torched Idaho State’s (1-1) defense, both by air, and on the ground. Aggie’s quarterback, Kent Myers had 88 yards on the ground, including two rushing touchdowns of over 20 yards, was 24-for-26 through the air and threw for 323 yards with a pair of touchdowns in just over a half of football, as he was pulled after Utah State’s first drive of the third quarter.
“You never get used to the tempo until you actually face the tempo,” said Idaho State head coach Rob Phenicie. “We go fast, but they go hyper.”
Utah State didn’t punt until the 8:52 mark of the third quarter, the first drive after Myers exited the ball game.
“He was quick,” said linebacker Joe Martin on Myers. “We knew he was going to use his feet a lot more than his arm. We wanted to stop that and we didn’t do that as well as we should have and it showed.”
Idaho State moved the ball into Aggie territory on its first drive of the night and put together another drive that stalled at the Aggie 49-yard line. Utah State countered with a field goal and moved the ball 89 yards on 10 plays over three-minutes and 21 seconds for a touchdown, gaining an early 10-0 lead.
Following a Tanner Gueller interception, the Aggies took three-minutes and seven seconds off the clock on their next touchdown drive that took nine plays and went 80 yards.
The Aggies began to pour it on when cornerback, Jalen Davis, stepped in front of an Idaho State receiver, gathering his second interception of the night, and taking it back 25 yards for six points.
“They just kept running the number three out,” Davis said on his interception. “I said, ‘next time they run it, I’m going to jump it,’ and they did.”
The interception was Davis’ fourth career interception against Idaho State and the second he has taken back to the house.
The turnover marked the end of any hope the Bengals had at victory as the interception was fresh off an Aggie touchdown drive. The two scores were separated by seven seconds and made it a 31-6 game with 8:12 left before halftime.
“Hey, we played a Division I team and that is a good indicator of where we need to get to,” Phenicie said. “They are going to have a good season. It was a hard-fought game.”
Although the offense moved the ball well early in the game, Idaho State didn’t pick up a third-down until the second half and was 3-for-14 on the day.
“That was the bug-a-boo,” Phenicie said.
Idaho State’s first touchdown was set up off a Tucker Louie-McGee interception and the second came when Michael Dean blew past the Utah State secondary for a 42-yard score late in the third quarter.
“There is some fight in this team,” Phenicie said. “[Matt Troxl] was saying how it was not unlike the game we played here a few years ago.”
Phenicie praised his team’s second half performance, while Utah State head coach, Matt Wells, said that his second string has a lot of growing to do.
“That will be a lot of good tape for us to see,” Wells said. “We have got some young guys that need to grow up. They need to figure out how we do things around here because a lot of that last quarter-and-a-half was just okay.”
After giving up almost 400 yards of total offense in the first half, Idaho State surrendered 204 yards of offense the rest of the game.
“I love the way Joe Martin played and I love the way Mario [Jenkins] played,” Phenicie said. “Those guys never tapped out.”
Other positives included the running game, which featured Ty Flanagan carrying the ball 25 times for 106 yards and Kieran Yancy’s five complement carries for an additional 16.
Punter Sean Cheney had a busy night but pinned the Aggies inside the 20 four times and averaged 42.7 yards per punt.
“I like our kick coverage and our punt coverage unit is playing well,” Phenicie said. “They are playing at the level and with the emotion that we need them to.”
The Bengals, were, however, unable to avoid injury as wide receiver Scooby Reynolds left the game in the first quarter and did not return. Phenicie was unable to give an update after the game.
Idaho State will play the second of its money games next week against the University of Nevada.