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ISU Football

Football 8/29/2023 8:59:00 PM Jonathan Match, ISU Media Relations
Football 8/29/2023 8:59:00 PM Jonathan Match, ISU Media Relations

Bengals Kickoff 2023 Season against the Aztecs in San Diego

POCATELLO, Idaho – After nearly 300 days and an offseason filled with staff and roster changes, the Idaho State Bengal football team returns to the gridiron.

The Bengals face off against the San Diego State Aztecs Saturday, Sept. 2 at 7:30 PM PT at Snapdragon Stadium in San Diego, Calif.

The contest will be televised on CBS Sports Network. Scott Gross will have his inaugural broadcast on KISU 91.1 FM with special guest, Dean of the College of Business, Dr. Shane Hunt as color commentary for the game.

Bengal Bites#64 Mike Davis, a Senior from Nampa, Idaho who has been with the Bengals for the past six years of his career. Davis makes the switch to offensive line this season after previously playing the tight end position.

#29 Cortland Horton, a Junior from Nampa, Idaho who plays defensive end for the Orange and Black. Horton has played in 18 games for the Bengals with 45 tackles on his career including 23 yards in tackles for loss.

#6 Calvin Pitcher, a Junior from Corona, California plays safety for the Bengals. In 19 games played for the Bengals, Pitcher has recorded 78 tackles including 34 solo. Against Idaho in 2022, Pitcher recorded a career-high 11 tackles in the game.

The Bengals have 21 student-athletes from the Gem State on the roster including all six of the linebacker newcomers.
First-year head coach Cody Hawkins is also an Idaho native and won a state championship for Bishop Kelly high school inside of our very own Holt Arena.

Dome Sweet Dome

In 1970 Idaho State University opened its doors to the first indoor collegiate football field in the country. Then named the ASISU Minidome, the name was later changed to Holt Arena to honor legendary coach, athletic director and now Big Sky Hall of Fame member Milton "Dubby" Holt. In 2021, the University announced a multi-million-dollar renovation project to upgrade the facility and improve the fan experience.
The construction crews worked round the clock and the renovation is set to be completed by the first home game in 2023 against the University of Northern Iowa.
The project has not only included new seats, but upgrades to the roof structure, improved seismic protection, Modernized technology in the building, a new presidents deck and increased availability of handicap and wheelchair access. In 2023 The Bengals started construction on the southwest corner of the arena to add a new athletics film and study room that can also be used to host events inside of the arena. Idaho Central Credit Union announced in 2023 a donation that will allow a new video board to be built on the west end of the arena for the 2024 season

Early Look Ahead

After the trip to San Diego, the Bengals stick around in the Mountain West, heading south to Logan, Utah to take on the Utah State Aggies on Sept. 9th at 6:00 PM MT.

  • This will be the third meeting of the two programs in team history. Last year, the Bengals played the second game of the season against the Aztecs, a 38-7 loss where the Bengals struck first with a 75-yard touchdown pass by then-Bengal Xavier Guillory. The Bengals put up 338 total yards of offense against SDSU including 140 passing yards from Hunter Hays and 53 rushing yards from Raiden Hunter, both of whom returned for the 2023 season.
  • This is the fifth consecutive season with the Bengals opening with a division I opponent and an all-division I opponent schedule.
  • After entering the summer with a diminished roster, the Idaho State coaching staff has recruited and worked tirelessly to build the roster back up to +100 numbers.
  • The Bengals enter the season with an internationally diverse set of players including but not limited to, #31 Regan Baker (Australia), #39 Yoann Kinanga (France), #12 Noa Calaycay and #35 Thomas Kopcho who spent much of his life overseas.
  • The Idaho State team voted on team captains this past week and three Bengals were selected to lead the team during the 2023 season. The three Bengals bring a strong depth of experience and have worked to help bring together this new Idaho State Squad.
  • The Bengals open the 2023 season with a revamped staff led by first-time head coach Cody Hawkins. Hawkins comes to the staff from UC Davis where he previously worked as the offensive coordinator. Leading the defense is Josh Runda, previously at Iowa State. Mark Weber comes back to Idaho State to lead the offensive linemen. Weber was a graduate assistant coach on the Bengal's 1981 National Championship team and has had a storied career at multiple schools. After Stints with the XFL and UC Davis, Jesse Thompson joins the Bengals to lead the special teams. Jacob Thomas joins the Bengals to coach the running backs after stints with Azuza Pacific and UC Davis. Also coming to the Bengals from UC Davis is the offensive flex coach, Joshua Mondt, primarily working with the quarterbacks. Nick Alaimalo stayed with ISU and switched roles to coach the inside receivers. Coaching the receivers is Keith Price, who played for the University of Washington and was previously a graduate assistant at Boise State. Scott Thiessen comes to the Bengals from Lamar University to coach the safeties. After assisting at Virginia Tech, Korey Rush comes to the Bengals to coach the Defensive Line. Devin Holiday returns for another year coaching the corners. He is joined by Devon King, a first-team all Big Sky Cornerback who played at UC Davis and is now assisting the corners. The Staff is rounded out by Dynomite Khun who after a stint in the XFL is assisting the special teamers.

Live Stats | Radio (KISU 91.1) | Tickets | Gamenotes | SDSU Game Program | Coach Hawkins Press Conference (to be posted Wednesday)