State Colleges

Idaho State football hosts No. 19 North Dakota

The Bengals (2-4, 1-2 Big Sky) return home at 2:35 p.m. Saturday to host nationally ranked North Dakota (5-2, 4-0).

Idaho State is 2-27 in its past 29 games vs. ranked opponents. But its two wins came in the past two years — a 37-31, come-from-behind victory at No. 23 North Dakota last year and a 30-28 win over No. 21 Cal Poly in Pocatello in 2014.

The Bengals are trying to rebound from a 52-7 loss at Northern Arizona, where Idaho State committed four turnovers and allowed 500 or more yards for the third straight week.

The outing dropped Idaho State’s turnover margin to minus-7, second worst in the Big Sky and 113th in the 122-team Football Championship Subdivision. North Dakota leads the conference and is tied for fourth nationally with a plus-10 turnover margin. The Fighting Hawks’ defense also leads the FCS with 13 interceptions.

Sophomore quarterback Tanner Gueller continues to struggle in the Bengals’ pass-heavy offense, completing 21-of-40 passes for 230 yards, a TD and two interceptions against Northern Arizona. He’s completed 60.6 percent of his passes this year and is averaging 219.8 yards per game to go along with his eight TDs and eight interceptions.

Junior linebacker Mario Jenkins (Columbia High) continues to lead the Idaho State defense. He tops the Big Sky with 58 tackles, while Hayden Stout (Meridian High) ranks sixth with 45.

Michael Lycklama: 208-377-6424, @MichaelLycklama

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