Bengals looking to get back on track
POCATELLO — The last time the Idaho State and Portland State football teams met, the Vikings rolled all over the Bengals racking up 77 points and almost 800 yards of total offense in a 77-10 victory in Portland last season.
Fast forward a year, and the 2013 Bengals are improved, but are looking to snap a three-game losing streak and get a little bit of redemption against the Vikings.
"That was a pathetic beat down by a football team that was in complete disarray from the head coach down to the last player," ISU head coach Mike Kramer said of last season dismantling in Portland. "It was not representative of anything we have aspired to be or wanted to be. It was a gutless performance by myself and my coaching staff. It was a woeful performance by a team that did not believe it could win or compete on any single play."
If the Bengals hope to not get embarrassed again by the Vikings on Saturday, Kramer said the first thing his team needs to do is play better on both sides of the ball.
Two weeks ago at Southern Utah the Bengals allowed the Thunderbirds just one touchdown in a 19-9 loss. Last week the Bengals allowed seven touchdowns to the No. 3 ranked Eastern Washington Eagles bringing back memories of the porous defense the team displayed during the 2012 season."
"We better play better at every position regardless of who Portland State is or how they play against us," Kramer said. "We have to go out and make plays. I know there are a lot of the same characters that played in that game last year but they just have to play better. They don't have to seek revenge, they just have to play better."
Where the Bengals will have to start is trying to stop the Vikings owed running attack. In last seasons meeting the Vikings racked up 437 yards rushing. So far this season Portland State has had three of the top 10 rushing performances this season.
"Portland State is a bit of disarray," Kramer said. "We have no idea what they are doing at quarterback as they have used all three of the ones they have this season. We do know they are going to run the ball and we are going to have to find a way to stop it."
Vikings senior running back DJ Adams had already eclipsed the 1,000 yard mark this season and has scored a team-high 11 touchdowns and Kramer knows they will see a heavy dose of him on Saturday.
Offensively the Bengals have performed well all season. As a result ISU is ranked nationally in a handful of offensive categories nationally.
Redshirt junior quarterback Justin Arias is with in the nation with 3,039 passing yards, he is also seventh in the nation averaging 337.9 yards per game.
Senior Luke Austin leads the team in receiving while Xavier Finney has accrued the fifth most rushing yards in a season since 2005 with his total of 664.
"We had the most yards gained on offense since I have been here against Eastern," Kramer said. "Eastern has a very good defense and we were able to move the ball up and down the field and score points. Unfortunately once we got the lead we could not keep it."
"But the way we played showed just how far we have come and how much the team believes in what we are doing," Kramer said.
While to many of the players Saturday is just the final home game of the season, for 10 seniors it will be the final the the play in front of the Holt Arena crowd.
"It is just another game," ISU senior linebacker Jake Pele said. "But it means a lot to a few of us because we will never get to play in front of the Holt crowd again. We want to go out and win."
Kramer ended his press conference will a simple goal for Saturday, “We will not be embarrassed.”
The Bengals and Vikings kick-off at 3 p.m. on Saturday in Holt Arena.