Utah football opponents: An early spring look at Idaho State

Otto Greule Jr

The Utah Utes should beat the Idaho State Bengals. The only question is how dominating it will be and what the result could portend for the rest of the season.

(Sorry, this is a quickie. Really hard to find information about Idaho State.)

Utah opens up the 2014 regular season playing the Idaho State Bengals of the Big Sky. Although in 99% of scenarios the Utes should end up as the victors, the result of the game could be telling as to how much progress Utah has made this offseason.

Idaho State finished 3-9 in the Big Sky in FCS football last year. Two of those wins came against Dixie State and Western State, Division II schools. The Bengals were blanked by Washington 56-0 last year and got trampled by BYU 59-13.

The good news is that Idaho State is returning a lot of players (9 on offense, 7 on defense), so the team should have a leg up in overall experience. The bad news is most of those players weren't very competitive in the Big Sky.

Justin Arias is the team's entrenched starter at quarterback, completing around 56% of his 574 passes and also piling in 24 touchdowns. The backup C.J. Reyes is a converted punter that stands at 5'7, so the only real competition could come from Tanner Gueller next year.

Idaho State has probably one of the greenest receiving corps out there. BYU transfer Madison Mangum (who only caught a few passes in Provo last year) is one of the few upperclassmen on a group that features no seniors and mostly sophomores, redshirt freshmen and true freshmen. The Utah defense should have a real opportunity to feast and build up their confidence going into future games.

Conclusions: Idaho State was not a good football team last year. They are unlikely to be a good football team this year, and there should be no reason for Utah not to have this game in hand by halftime. BYU and Washington averaged nearly 400 yards RUSHING last year, so Utah should be able to employ a similar strategy with their running back committee to pound it down the throat of the Bengals.

If Utah does that, the deck is clear for the real non-conference competition ahead against Fresno State and Michigan. If they don't unleash a dominating performance, the doubt could start creeping in to these Utes on how good they could be next season.

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