Cam Richmond says winning is contagious.
The redshirt-senior receiver and the rest of the Bengals hope that’s the case as Idaho State picked up its first victory of the season, a 40-14 handling of Dixie State last Saturday.
“I’ve been here for the last two years,” Richmond said, “(and) we won two games when I first got here and one last year. So winning a game, even though it may have been our first game this season, was good to get started off on the right foot.”
Richmond, head coach Mike Kramer and many other players described the scene in the locker room Saturday as emotional. It’s easy to see why when you realize ISU is a team that ended a nine-game losing streak in a very emphatic way.
“Winning feels so good,” said sophomore running back Xavier Finney. “(That) losing streak ... was tough. It was definitely tough. To have a win under our belt, it feels really good.”
“We have some long-term guys that have been in this program through a lot of hell and havoc,” Kramer said. “Mitch Beckstead comes to mind, and he was pretty emotional. ... A guy like Mitch Beckstead, and the way he felt during the game and how he felt after the game, is indicative of how emotionally invested we are as a team to make sure that 2013 is able to be (our) rise.”
Wesley Wingrove, a sophomore lineman from Hephzibah, Ga., said he didn’t play for a very successful high school program. The emotions and thoughts from Saturday’s win were extra special, and he hopes to repeat them .
“It always feels great to win the first one, and it feels great to win a game at the college level, period,” Wingrove said. “I feel like we always count down the points after the games, the points we put up in a game. I feel like if we can do that seven or eight more times this year, that would be a great experience.”
Kramer feels the victory is not hollow. His team didn’t have to outscore an opponent to secure it, and the Bengals showed progress from last season in every area of the game.
Idaho State established a run game, continued to punish opponents through the air, kicked field goals successfully and, most importantly, stepped up on defense.
“I’d say it’s an appropriate step. I’d say it was a needed step,” Kramer said. “For us, defensively, to go out ... and acquit ourselves like we did Saturday was a marked improvement. You saw some ferociousness, speed and closing ability that our defense needs to display to help us get over the absolute tragedy that we will always refer to as 2012.”
The Bengals continue to work toward their second win of the young season as they face Western State (Colo.) Saturday in Holt Arena. That means they will focus on fixing the mistakes they made against Dixie State. Kickoff between ISU and the Mountaineers is scheduled for 3:05 p.m.
“We got that first win out of the way in our first game. We’re going to try and make it 2 for 2 this weekend,” Richmond said. “It’s a feeling that guys haven’t experienced a lot here. Myself, I want to keep experiencing it, especially being a senior.
“I just want to win, baby.”
Notes: Kramer said senior wide receiver Luke Austin and redshirt junior offensive lineman Nick Beckman will not play Saturday. They will be “unavailable indefinitely.”