It took the Idaho State defense more than seven quarters of football before forcing its first turnover of the season, a fumble recovery against Black Hills State in the fourth period two weekends ago.

    While the Bengals improve that aspect of their game, it's not necessarily a big focus during practices.

    "We don't really work on that during the bye week," said senior cornerback Donovan Henley, last year's top finisher in interceptions in the Big Sky. "You just have to let those types of things come to you."

    Henley says it's important for himself and the rest of the defense to not change what they are doing on the field as the consequences of doing so are rarely good.

    "I know for me personally the second I try to force a turnover is the second I'm going to give up a touchdown," he said. "That's when I'll make a bonehead play. A slant comes and I'll jump the slant and it ends up being a slant and go. So for me I just have to stay patient and I know when my time comes, it'll come."

    Kramer is sure that as long as his players are following the game plan, turnovers will come.

    "Essentially what we want to do is play with a better feel for where the ball's at," he said. "Whether you see the ball or not is not as important as understanding the concept of the play. (We have to see) where the ball carrier is carrying the ball so you can reach and grab for the ball. And for us that's how we can cause turnovers. Interceptions are caused by defensive front pressure or maybe fooling a quarterback so he'll throw the ball errantly."

    "That's just us becoming more savy as a football team," said junior middle linebacker Jake Pele of how his team can get opponents to cough up the ball. "In gang tackles we have to rip the ball out. As for me, I have to catch interceptions. I dropped one against Black Hills State."

    ISU's next opponent Nebraska hasn't given up possession in their passing game very much this season as quarterback Taylor Martinez has thrown one interception. But the Cornhuskers have lost five fumbles through just three games.

    "The way that Taylor has played this season, he's throwing to wide open guys," Kramer said. "I mean from game one to game two to game three, he's throwing to wide open guys and we've got to be able to shadow and hang onto their receivers and not allow them to run down field by themselves. The problem is, of course, they're such a fearsome running team that you push your safeties hard at the run and that opens up the seam routes and play action pass routes in the middle."

    The Bengals are focused on their game plan for Nebraska. Part of it involves forcing turnovers, yes, but for the athletes on the field it's all about playing within themselves.

    "I think you just prepare for the game like it's a normal game. We don't try to change anything," Henley said. "I think when you get caught up in a team and you try to change, a lot of stuff can go wrong. You just have to stay with what works, and that's exactly what we've been doing. We've just been preparing for them like we would prepare for any other team. My mindset is still the same, pass first and run second. So I'm not going to try and go out of my way to try and make a play against Nebraska. I'm just going to let the game come to me."

    Idaho State is using the contest with Nebraska as a measuring stick. The way the players approach the game is simple: If they can play well against a team like Nebraska, anything Sacramento State throws at them the week after won't be a surprise - or a scare.

    "Just improvements. Every week I just like seeing more and more improvements from the team," Henley said. "That's exactly what we've been doing. One good thing about these non-conference games like Air Force and Nebraska, we're going to see those offense later on in the year. So I think it's great practice and Saturday will be another chance to get better and prepare for conference play."

    The Bengals will practice in Holt Arena Friday morning before flying to Nebraska. There are no hotel rooms in Lincoln so the team will be staying in Omaha, which is roughly one hour from Memorial Stadium in Lincoln. Kickoff between Idaho State and Nebraska is slated for 1:30 p.m. Mountain Time. The game will be broadcast on the Big Ten Network.