Friday, September 19, 2008

Wow, what a finish

The Bengals almost completed the best second-half comeback I've seen from an Idaho State team last night, pulling themselves up from a 31-7 deficit to within a field goal, before ultimately losting 38-35 to North Dakota. Some random thoughts on the "morning after":

--If you're a glass half-full guy, you have to be impressed with the continued maturation of ISU QB Russell Hill. He had a tremendous second half in particular, and finished 30 of 44 for 396 yards, 3 TDs and no interceptions. He led ISU on drives of 82, 79, 91 and 78 yards. And he played the entire second half without his top receiver, Eddie Thompson, who went down with a knee strain.

--In Thompson's absence, Jaron Taylor emerged: 8 catches, 159 yards, two TDS. Isaiah Burel also performed well, catching 7 balls for 70 yards, and Edsel Logan got in the end zone, as well.

--While it took a while for ISU to fully integrate him into the offense, RB Ken Cornist was terrific, picking up 72 yards and a touchdown on the ground, and catching four balls for 36 yards. Several times, second-effort runs by Cornist kept those monster ISU drives alive.

--There weren't a lot of highlights defensively, but you still have to admire the play of LB Ryan Phipps (10 tackles, 3.5 TFL and a forced fumble), safety Rashard Richards (11 tackles, a forced fumble), and true frosh safety A.J. Storms, who had 7 tackles, a TFL and FF before going out with an ankle sprain.

--I'm continuing to become a Josh Crittendon fan. He is undersized at defensive tackle, but continues to produce, getting six tackles and a TFL. He leads all ISU down linemen in tackles by a wide margin.

The bad news: the defense continues to struggle, The Bengals gave up 241 yards rushing (their season average, by the way), and had no answers for incredibly efficient Sioux QB Danny Freund. While we're on the subject of North Dakota, please note this is a GOOD football team. Josh Murray run over, around and through the Bengals for 204 yards, and Freund, who came into the game completing nearly 74 percent of his passes, didn't disappoint, hitting 20 of 26 for 237 yards, 3 TDS and no picks. Freund has not thrown an interception since Oct. 13 of last year -- 234 straight passes. I don't care if you're playing Irving Jr. High, that's efficiency.

Contemplate this for a second -- as good as Murray was last night, he'd still be the No. 2 running back on this team if not for the academic ineligibility of Ryan Chapell, who ran for almost 1700 yards as a sophomore last year.

That said, the Bengals know they simply cannot continue to play this poorly on defense and be competitive in the Big Sky Conference. The coaching staff will be looking for answers this week as ISU prepares for its conference opener next week against an explosive Eastern Washington ballclub. They also have to be concerned about continued slow starts by the offense (the Bengals have scored just 7 points in the first half of all three games this year), the reliability of their kicking game (Jarrett Huk missed two makeable field goals, one of which was overturned by a penalty), and the injuries to Thompson and Storms.

Tune in to the Coach Zamberlin call-in show Monday night at 6 p.m. on KSEI 930 AM, or join us in person at Chili's, for an update on the injury situation and Coach Z's thoughts on getting the Bengals ready for the beginning of conference play.

And thanks again for being a Bengal fan -- it ain't always easy, but it's always fun! --Brad B.

So Close.....

Having left the office just before midnight, I can tell you that was slightly frustrating last night, wasn't it? Interestingly, Idaho State now has a seven-game losing streak, and that's the third longest in FCS play right now. Columbia has lost eight straight, and they host Fordham on Saturday, while Indiana State has dropped 16 in a row, and it'll probably be 17 when they travel to Mid-American Conference member Northern Illinois for an FBS game.

By the way, ISU's largest comeback was in 1996, winning over Cal Poly 35-32 in OT after being down 22 at 25-3. Almost got that one last night.

5,970 for the, those that were there were great...really. It was 31-7, and you could tell the crowd WANTED to cheer, and finally the offense put some drives together, and the defense made a few stops, and the crowd ate it up. I hope we can get more folks to the Montana State game in two weeks. I would have hoped for more of a crowd though....seriously, that game was so worth the money for the sheer entertainment value.

Plenty of dissecting of the game by those who paid to do that sort of thing. Dan Thompson's unedited story is here, but for a giggle, check out the asinine comment by Louise in the comments section. I mean it's about as ill-informed a comment as you can get off of that particular game. She apparently didn't watch the game I watched. Dan also posted his joint notebook, with some other tidbits that didn't make the print edition. Ryan Collingwood also was there from the Blackfoot Morning News and filed this story as well. Also, Joe Kline's photography from the Journal has some shots of the game, and I even stayed late to post a photo gallery as well, with Julie Hillebrandt taking all of the photos. I did that for the fans baby! Wayne Nelson of the Grand Forks Herald also posted his gamer online, and finally, here is the AP story, filed by Andy Taylor of ISU's University Relations office.

By the way, as an aside, usually Montana wins the "largest football entourage" trophy, because they bring everyone, and I mean everyone....they usually have an AD, two Asst A.D., Griz Club guy, and a host of others...well, North Dakota pretty much took that trophy away. Seriously, I think one of their administrators might have had his pet iguana with him. They brought so many people, it bordered on bizarre. Wasn't a problem, but I thought it was really strange...they must have chartered. Later today or early next week, another photo gallery should pop up from the game at the Idaho Sports Zone's site.

Also, the Journal's volleyball story wasn't up yet, but the team lost to defending champion Portland State 3-0, and Katie Zigars had the official ISU report, but the team played pretty well. PSU is the best team in the Big Sky, and ISU was right there.

YouTube Proof Frank Mercogliano Knows What He Is Talking About
When Russel Hill got smashed by Jeron Johnson on a hard hit back in Boise on August 30, most of the folks in the press box thought it was dumb for Hill to not go out of bounds, but no one wanted to listen when I said that Johnson led with his helmet and should have been flagged. Not only does this youtube video prove I'm right, but what in heck is the official that is like 10 feet from the play watching. Sir, please re-read the rulebook...that's a penalty this year...thanks.

Remember, soccer today at 1:00 pm ... the game will be on KISU, with yours truly calling the game between ISU and UC Davis. ISU is undefeated in their last 13 games at Davis Field stretching back almost two full calendar years, so come out and catch what should be a great game. You won't regret it, and I can write you a note for work if you really need it. Also, as you might have seen, Brad Bugger posted yesterday, as he and Jerry Miller will chime in from time-to-time with their insights, which I think will add a lot to this little corner of the ISU world....welcome Brad and Jerry!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Good afternoon, Bengal fans

Brad Bugger here, getting ready for tonight's home opener at Holt Arena. Frank M. has graciously invited my broadcast partner, Jerry Miller, and I to post on the Bengal blog. Frank does a great job linking here, so I'm not sure how much more I'll be able to add, but I'll stop in on occasion and give you my thoughts on the Bengals.

Just a reminder, we'll be on the air tonight with the pre-game show beginning at 5:30 p.m. I'll talk to ISU's defensive and offensive coordinators about their strategy vs. North Dakota, Jerry sits down for a lengthy discussion with Coach Z, and we'll have an interview from the Fighting Sioux perspective, as well. I'll also give you my "KeyBank" keys to the game, and up to date injury report.

I hope you're coming to the game tonight, we'd all love to see Holt Arena rockin'. If you do come, bring your radio and tune in to 101.9 FM to pick up the broadcast inside the dome. If you can't make it tonight, you can see the webcast for free on Big Sky TV, and Jerry and I will be providing the audio.

Finally -- thanks for being Bengal fans. It ain't always easy, but it's always fun!

Take care, Brad

Game Day!!!!!!

Finally....home games. Man, it has been a long, weary road. But I will say this....if the teams play like I did yesterday in my hockey game? Oh, we'll be great...and we'll win, because I gotta admit...I was on. That was fun. Anyways...some important stuff.

Bring $1 bills please....the parking attendants will be able to make change, but not if every single car brings a $5 or a $10 bill....ones would be very, very, helpful.

Now, I'm just gonna recommend getting the Journal for today, because the sports section was USA Today-ish in length...I loved that. If you don't pick it up, here's some of what you missed....If you read my game notes (they are a MUST read by the humor knows no boundaries), you noticed that I take umbrage at North Dakota hosting the Potato Bowl. Well, Dan Thompson had much more space to get his point across, and he does so swimmingly. Kellis Robinett feels that Idaho State is going to win the game fairly easily by the way, and I for one appreciate his confidence. Kellis and Dan also do an audio preview of the game tonight on the Bengal Minute, and it's pretty interesting. Also, here is the preview from the Grand Forks Herald, and seriously, that's twice now that they have screwed up our winning's three in the 2000s....6-5 in 2000, 8-3 in 2002, and 8-4 in 2003...sheesh.

Butter....Oh, We'll Give You Some Butter
OK, so the mayor of Pocatello, Roger Chase, and Grand Forks mayor Michael Brown, have a wager on the game tonight, with a sack of potatoes on the line....russets for Brown if ISU loses, and red potatoes for Chase if ISU wins. However, the entire state of Idaho should thank Mayor Brown for ripping ISU's top crop. So here's what we are going to do....he wants butter? Send him some. Look up the address and make sure he gets plenty of butter. That would be pretty funny actually.

I've Flipped for Alex Hansen and Jen Munro
Well, not really because that would be creepy, but everyone has to love the flip throw in. Tim Flagstad breaks that down with the two soccer players, and a wicked cool photo from Joe Kline.

And This is Why No One Watches Fox Sports.
Eddie Thompson....please repeat....T-H-O-M-P-S-O-N.....not W-I-L-L-I-A-M-S. And about that uniforms look nicer.

Volleyball at 3:00 pm
Don't forget volleyball opens against Portland State at 3:00 pm, and BengalFest is starting at 4:30 pm....Guitar Hero Tournament....nice.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Bring a Buck

Fans need to remember that tomorrow's game is the first event that they are charging for parking. The cost if you are not a Bengal Foundation member is $1, and if folks could actually bring dollar bills, that would be extremely helpful.

Now, since I've been here....oh, 11 years, fans would be interested to know that somewhere in one of my archive disks, I have a release typed up about Dr. Richard Bowen announcing that ISU would be charging $5 per car for parking. I had this release approved and everything, and 15 minutes before I was supposed to fax it out to the media, Dr. Bowen's office called and said to hold off on the release. We held off 11 years LOL. Just a little information for the faithful. Anyways, KIFI has a report on the parking fee here.

The Coolest Thing Ever
Every now and then I make a change to the Game Notes because I learn of something....well this is awesome. In talking about the game, and specifically things that have happened on September 18, I had this in the notes...

"Also, September 18 is the birthday of James Gandolfini, who played Tony Soprano. More importantly, September 18 is a major day in the history of football. On September 18, 1919, Fritz Pollard broke the color barrier, becoming the first African-American to play in professional football, playing for the Akron Zips. He also was the first African-American head coach in the NFL."

However, I have learned that Fritz' son, Fritz' junior, also played college football, becoming an All-American at....wait for it....NORTH DAKOTA. No freakin' way. Also, Branden Dungy, a junior running back for UND, is the nephew of Tony Dungy, who was the first African-American head coach to win a Super Bowl. UN-BEE-LEE-VA-BLE set of coincidences there.

Almost GameDay....and it is GameDay for me
North Dakota has their release online, and while informative, there are no pictures of the Gilmore Girls or Katherine Heigl in their release. Also, Wayne Nelson from the Grand Forks Herald, who knows John Zamberlin pretty well, speaks of the work Z is doing at ISU. Of course, the opening sentence is's three winning seasons (2000, 2002, 2003). Also, if ISU fans (and players for the matter) don't think North Dakota is coming in fired up, well, think again.

If It's a Bad Weekend for ISU Athletics, We Got You Covered
Did you know the state of Idaho has a high suicide rate? Me neither, but just in case it's a bad week, ISU has got all the bases covered.

Oh Please, Let's Add It!
If Idaho State had to add a sport, we could add the festest growing sport in the Idaho elementary school system. I would totally be the Chess SID...Pawn-to-queen conversion rate ... left-castle to right castle conversions ... Queen's Gambit percentage ... my head is literally spinning. I just want to have one of these in my yard....that's all.

Lots of soccer and volleyball
The soccer team hosts three others (UC Davis, Wyoming, and Utah Valley) for the Idaho State Classic, and Katie Zigars compiled all of that information here, and since I'm a horrible guy, I make her handle volleyball too, and the information on their matches for Thursday and Saturday is here. Mitch Worthington our faithful graduate assistant, has all the information on the cross country team heading to Boise for the Bob Firman Invitaitonal.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Home! Sweet Home

EDIT AT 10:48 am ... well, this game on Thursday just got real interesting. There will obviously be coverage on this from the Journal and others, but there is a pretty sizable two-deep change in the secondary. True freshman A.J. Storms out of Meridian High School, who led Meridian to the 2005 and 2007 state titles as a quarterback, will start at free safety against North Dakota ahead of Keith Goins, Jr. This will be in the game notes that come out later today, but just dropping that little nugget to all the BengalBlog fans here first....


Check out the football notes later today for a note regarding the Home! Sweet Home song from yesteryear....just saying.

I'll hopefully be adding to this post throughout the day, with the links to Idaho State's football game notes, the Big Sky's, as well as the notes from the Fighting Sioux of North Dakota.

By the way, North Dakota is more famous for their hockey than anything else (if you watched Miracle, Dave Christian of the 1980 USA Olympic hockey team states he is from the University of North Dakota), and the history of their hockey arena and main benefactor Ralph Englestad is quite a read. This is his wikipedia entry, and there's plenty of links right off of there to give you a good read at lunch today.

Now, home sweet home isn't just for football. Volleyball has their home opener on Thursday as well, at 3:00 pm at Reed Gym (football at 6:35 pm). Soccer also is back this week with the Idaho State Classic, where the Bengals take on UC Davis on Friday at 1:00 pm (with Utah Valley and Wyoming at 4:00 pm), and then ISU takes on Wyoming on Sunday at 2:00 pm (UVU and UC Davis are at 11:00 am....good morning!!!).

Volleyball is hosting Portland State (the regular season champs) at 3:00 pm on Thursday, and then Eastern Washington on Friday. Only cross country is away from home, but they aren't too far....taking on several others at the Bob Firman Invitational in Boise, so fans could get there and then back for the volleyball match Saturday night. just a funfest of Bengal athletics this weekend.

Oh, don't forget....BENGALFEST!!!! Despite a Thursday game, it goes on per the norm, starting at 4:35 pm....make sure you get involved in the Guitar Hero Tournament...40 competitors each BengalFest for four weeks, with the best advancing to the finals on November 22 against Sacramento State. Sadly, I'd beat you all into oblivion but I'll be working.

Potato Bowl....Without Idaho State?
Now, as most folks know, I have perused the ol' Bengal Den, and the discussion of the Potato Bowl came up, which was news to me. Apparently, North Dakota's game with Idaho State in 1966 was the beginning of the Potato Bowl USA, which as you can clearly see, has grown. Some folks said we should jump on that bandwagon, and I'm here to tell you, it's a great idea, but clearly, something this large needed more than a week's worth of planning. It also would need about a committee of 10 volunteers. Perhaps as we move forward, there is some sort of meshing of this idea with I Love ISU or something. Just thinking out loud. This was mostly to say we heard ya', but sadly, not much in the way of Potato Bowl can be done this year.