Idaho State beat an FBS team last season. Can the Bengals do it again in 2018?

Sophomore receiver Tanner Conner had two receptions for 39 yards in Idaho State’s 45-10 victory over Western State Colorado University on Aug. 31.
Sophomore receiver Tanner Conner had two receptions for 39 yards in Idaho State’s 45-10 victory over Western State Colorado University on Aug. 31. Courtesy of Idaho State Athletics

The Idaho State football team wasn’t expected to win at Nevada in 2017, but it came away with a big victory.

The Bengals (1-0) take that same mentality into their 4 p.m. MT game Saturday against Cal (2-0) at Memorial Stadium in Berkeley.

“Every guy on the team strives to play at the highest level and so guys can go out in this one to prove to themselves, or prove to us, or prove to whoever, I belong at this level,” Idaho State coach Rob Phenicie said during his weekly press conference. “That’s definitely a motivating factor, plus just the fact that going to play a Pac-12 team is exciting.”

Idaho State beat Nevada 30-28 last season, earning its first victory over an FBS team since topping Utah State 27-24 in 2000.

Saturday will be the first meeting between Idaho State and Cal, and the Bears are 9-0 against FCS teams since the term was adopted in 2005. Idaho State has faced six Pac-12 teams since 2009 and is winless in those six games.

So far this season, Cal’s defense has not allowed a touchdown in the first three quarters of its wins over North Carolina and BYU. The Bears also lead the nation with six interceptions.

“I think games like this, we proved it against Nevada last year, you’ve got nothing to lose,” Idaho State offensive lineman Jacob Molenaar said. “Why not just go out there and get after it? Sometimes it can be kind of intimidating, but you’ve just got to remember it’s just another guy. The guy that wants it more is going to win.”

The game will air on Pac-12 Bay Area. For more information on this channel, visit

BYU travels to No. 6 Wisconsin

After facing back-to-back Pac-12 opponents to open the season, BYU draws its first ranked team of the 2018 season.

The Cougars (1-1) play the sixth-ranked Badgers (2-0) at 1:30 p.m. MT Saturday at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison. The game will be broadcast on ABC.

Wisconsin is led by Heisman Trophy candidate Jonathan Taylor, who leads the nation with 398 rushing yards and five touchdowns. Taylor ran for 128 yards, with one rushing and one receiving TD, in Wisconsin’s 40-6 win over BYU last season.

“You always want to face good opponents every week,” BYU linebacker Sione Takitaki said. “I know that (Taylor’s) a great running back, so it’s going to be a good week to go against a good opponent. Shedding blocks is going to be really important for us this week against their offensive line.”

Idaho on bye, cancels NIU game

Idaho will have an extra week to prepare for its Big Sky Conference opener.

The Vandals (1-1) have a bye this week before returning to action against UC Davis at 5 p.m. MT on Saturday, Sept. 22.

In scheduling news, the Vandals and Northern Illinois have mutually agreed to cancel their 2023 meeting, according to

The website also reported that Idaho will host Simon Fraser on Sept. 4, 2021, in the Kibbie Dome at a cost of $80,000. Other teams on the Vandals’ 2021 slate include Indiana on Sept. 11 and Oregon State on Sept. 18.

C of I faces Division I foe

For the second straight season, the College of Idaho plays a Division I opponent on the road.

The Yotes will try to end a three-game skid when they play at Portland State (0-2) at 3 p.m. MT on Saturday. It is the first meeting between the two schools. The game will air online at

C of I lost to Northern Colorado 41-14 last season.