Idaho State coach Rob Phenicie said he has no idea what to expect offensively when the Bengals host Montana State on Saturday in a Big Sky Conference football game at Holt Arena in Pocatello.
The Bobcats fired playcaller Bob Cole on Monday and promoted receivers coach Matt Miller to offensive coordinator. The 27-year-old Miller is a former receiver at Boise State and joined the Bobcats’ program as a coach in 2015.
“I can tell you they’ve got a great quarterback. They’ve got a great receiver and some good offensive linemen,” Phenicie said during his weekly press conference. “But right now we don’t know what we’re going to get. I can take our whole defensive report and throw it out the window.”
Kickoff is 3:35 p.m. Saturday, and the game will be streamed online at Pluto.tv.
Idaho State (4-3, 3-1) is currently in a three-way tie for second in the Big Sky standings with Weber State (5-2, 3-1) and Eastern Washington (5-2, 3-1). The Bobcats (4-3, 2-2) are a game back in league play.
The Bengals have lost 11 in a row to Montana State, with their last win coming in Bozeman on Oct. 11, 2003. A victory Saturday would give ISU its first five-win campaign since 2014.
But to do so, they’ll have to contain MSU quarterback Troy Andersen, who Phenicie had high praise for earlier this week.
“Wherever you put him on the field, he’s the best one. He’ll be the best athlete on the field this Saturday no matter what,” Phenicie said. “They could probably put him in the kitchen and he’s the best cook. You put him in the laundry room and he’s the best clothes washer. You put him on the bus, he’s the best bus driver.
“That’s Troy Andersen. The guy’s a great player. He’s fun to watch.”
Idaho takes on Big Sky’s top-ranked team
The Vandals play their fifth road game of the season, but it won’t be a long trip.
Idaho will make the 75-mile drive to No. 4 Eastern Washington on Saturday morning for a 1 p.m. MT kickoff at Roos Field in Cheney, Washington.
It will be Idaho’s (3-4, 2-3 Big Sky) first game against a top-five FCS opponent since 2002.
Eastern Washington had a bye last week following a 14-6 loss to Weber State on Oct. 13.
BYU aims for back-to-back wins
BYU and Northern Illinois are both coming off a bye ahead of their 1:30 p.m. MT game Saturday (ESPNU) at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo, Utah.
The Cougars (4-3) promoted true freshman Zach Wilson to starting quarterback following back-to-back losses to Washington and Utah State. Wilson led BYU to a 49-23 win over Hawaii on Oct. 13, and he is expected to start in place of Eagle High graduate Tanner Mangum again this week.
“He’s definitely confident in what he does. It shows in how he plays,” BYU receiver Aleva Hifo told BYUcougars.com. “A lot of people don’t realize that the last real game Zach played was in high school. For him to go from that to a stadium and environment like ours in the middle of the season is huge. He deserves a lot of credit.”
C of I concludes home schedule
The College of Idaho hosts No. 18 Eastern Oregon in its home finale Saturday. Kickoff is 1 p.m. at Simplot Stadium in Caldwell.
The surging Yotes (3-5, 3-4 Frontier) have won three in a row following an 0-5 start to the season. A victory over the Mountaineers (5-2, 5-2) would be the Yotes’ third straight against a ranked opponent and give them the first four-game win streak since football was reinstated at the college in 2014.
The College of Idaho lost at Eastern Oregon 24-21 on Aug. 25.