Idaho Vandals (2-2, 1-1 Big Sky)
The Vandals are coming off a 20-7 win over Portland State-their first Big Sky Conference win since moving to the FCS level again. Idaho moved out of the Big Sky Conference in 199 to move to the FBS level.
Idaho is scoring 27.5 points a game and giving up 35. The Vandals rush for 126 a game and give up 186.5. Idaho passes for 227.8 and averages 353.8 yards of total offense.
Idaho and Idaho State are set to meet for the first time since 2008. It will be Idaho’s first game at Idaho State since 1997. Idaho has won eleven of the last twelve and leads the overall series at 27–11.
This game marks the first time football has counted as part of the Idaho Central Credit Union Battle of the Domes Series. The yearlong competition pits Idaho and Idaho State against each other in football, men’s and women’s basketball, women’s soccer and women’s volleyball.
Key Player:QB Mason Petrino, son of head coach Paul Petrino, has thrown for 695 yards and five touchdowns and four interceptions. He will need to control the turnovers for the Vandals to win this one.
Fantasy Bonus Baby: WR Jeff Cotton has caught four touchdown passes this season, ranking second in the Big Sky and 14th nationally. Cotton has hauled in a touchdown reception in each of Idaho’s first four games of the year, becoming the first Vandal to do so since Josh McCain in 2014. He has 15 catches for 248 yards this season, his debut campaign with Idaho after transferring from a junior college and redshirting in 2017.
Idaho State Bengals (3-1, 2-0 Big Sky)
The Bengals’ 3-1 start is the best since 2005 and is the first time ISU has started conference play 2-0 since 1995. ISU is coming off a 56-42 win at home versus Northern Arizona and it snapped a 10-game losing streak against the Lumberjacks.
The Bengal offense has been very good so far in scoring over 37 points per game. But the ISU defense has also been very opportunistic in forcing 11 turnovers and scoring two touchdowns of its own.
This game is homecoming for the Bengals to go with the Battle of the Domes rivalry. The fans will be striping Holt Arena in orange and black and near sellout is expected.
Key Player: QB Tanner Gueller moved into fourth place in the ISU record books for career-passing yards. He now has 6,824 yards, passing Kevin Yost (2011-12) with 6,663. He will look to continue his performance in what very well could be a high scoring game.
Fantasy Bonus Baby: RB James Madison (yes this is his name and not to be confused with the Top 5 ranked school with the same name) currently ranks third nationally in the FCS with seven rushing touchdowns. Look for him to find the end zone again against the Vandals.
Fearless Prediction: Idaho State has been the surprise team in the Big Sky so far this season, while Idaho is doing about what was expected in coming down from the FBS level. This is kind of role reversal from when the two teams last met in Big Sky play more than two decades ago as Idaho was a perennial playoff team but now it looks more like the Bengals could go that way this year. As with most rivalry games, expect this one to be close and to be high scoring. But the Bengals seem like the better team to me. I like them to win by a touchdown. Idaho State 48, Idaho 41