2008 Football Season Gets Underway!

After all the idle talk and speculating, the 2008 football season is finally here. Head Coach Chris Petersen leads his Boise State team against Idaho State tonight in Bronco Stadium. Here is a brief look at the Bengals.

Can Boise State avoid what happened to Michigan of the Big Ten Conference last season, namely the early season upset to a Football Championship Subdivision team?


Idaho State was no Appalachian State, suffering through a 3-8 season last year in his inaugural season in Pocatello.  Still, the Big Sky Conference is the best league in the FCS, as Boise State fans well know.  The Broncos played in the Big Sky Conference from 1970-1995.


Russel Hill (6-0, 200, So.) returns as the starting quarterback for the Bengals.  He hit 58.7% of his passes last fall (176-300) for 2,313 yards with 14 touchdowns and 15 interceptions.  Joining him in the backfield are former Idaho transfer Jayson Bird and Clint Knickrehm (51 attempts for 260 yards and four TD's).  Bird ran for 859 yards his freshman season at Idaho.


Leading receiver Eddie Thompson (83 catches for 907 yards and six touchdowns) returns this fall for the Bengals.  Jaron Taylor (32 catches for 616 yards and three TD's) is the other wideout and Isaiah Burel (eight catches for 90 yards, 1 TD) will see plenty of action as well.  Trevor Messersmith (6-3, 230, Sr.), who had 10 receptions for 67 yards last fall, is the Bengal tight end.


The starting line consists of tackles Evan Dietrich-Smith (6-4, 300, Sr.), a starter in 32 career games to date, and Aaron Klovis (6-6, 305, Sr.).  Lance Cartwright (6-6, 305, Jr.) and former Bronco Mitch Rudder (6-3, 290, So.) are the guards while Ryan Henry (6-3, 285, Jr.) is the center.


Defensively, Idaho State features a 4-3 defense with Jeff Tuua (6-2, 235, So.) and Jon Tuua (6-3, 255, Sr.) at the ends.  Jon had 23 tackles last season.  Demetrius Amos (6-1, 300, Jr.) and Josh Crittenden (6-3, 255, Sr.) will start at tackle.  Amos had 35 stops last season including 11 for loss with two fumble recoveries.


Brad Rife was fourth on the team in tackles last season (75) from his middle linebacker position.  He will be flanked by Phillip Arias (6-2, 215, So.) and Ryan Phipps (6-0, 225, Sr.).  Phipps led the Bengals with 116 tackles (11.5 for loss) and had four sacks last season.


Testing Boise State quarterback Kellen Moore will be cornerbacks D.J. Clark and Kelvin Miller (6-1, 180, Fr.).  Clark led Idaho State with four interceptions last season and his 10 career picks place him ninth in Bengal history.  Chris Holmesly has earned the starting nod at safety after transferring from Orange Coast Junior College while Amir Owens (29 tackles last season) is the free safety.


Another JC transfer, Jarret Huk, is the new Bengal placekicker while Jon Vanderwielen will do the punting this year for Idaho State.  Kenyon Blue did a nice job returning both punts and kickoffs last season and returns this fall.  Blue averaged 21.3 yards per kickoff return and an 11.0 punt return average with a 78-yard touchdown.


The Bengals are looking for respect in Boise.  Each season brings renewed optimism and they would love nothing more than an upset on the Blue turf.  Boise State, meanwhile, is also looking to forget last season's late disappointment and hopes to ride their young team to an outstanding season. 


Kickoff is set for 6:07 P.M. tonight in Bronco Stadium.

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