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Look at him now
It wasn’t a 50-yard bomb. He didn’t have to contort his body with one of those tippy-toe moves to stay inbounds. He didn’t even have to plow over anyone on the play.
Kelvin Krosch’s most memorable catch last season, in his estimation and that of several other Bengals, came when he caught the ball over the middle on a simple post route and turned that into a 21-yard touchdown.
“I just looked up, and there was a big, old void, and Kelvin was running right into it,” Idaho State quarterback Russel Hill said. “I knew it was a touchdown right off the bat.”
What made it more than just another play was when Krosch pulled it off and against whom he did it. The touchdown gave Idaho State a 10-9 lead over No. 2 Montana with 10:29 remaining in their Week 10 game, nudging the Bengals to the precipice of perhaps the biggest upset in school history.
The Grizzlies ended up ruining that fairy-tale ending with a last-second field goal, but not all was lost for the Bengals. Krosch officially completed his metamorphosis from wide-eyed rookie wide receiver to deadly weapon that afternoon, and best of all, the Bengals get to throw to this version of Krosch for the next two seasons.
“His confidence as the season progressed got higher and higher and higher,” Idaho State wide receivers coach Drew Miller said. “Toward the end of the season, he became in his mind what we all knew he could be, a big-play type of guy.”
Nobody was speaking about Krosch, now a redshirt junior, in those terms when he first arrived at Idaho State in 2007.
Hailing from small-town Mackay, where the high school doesn’t even have a weight room, Krosch began his college career 30 pounds lighter than his current 219. He had only ever played eight-man football, and because he was always the best athlete on the field, Krosch ran a simple offense: all him, all the time.
Things weren’t so simple once he got to Idaho State.
“Coming out here the first day, I was lost,” Krosch said. “I did not know what the offense was. I didn’t know the routes. It was a big, big, big step from eight-man football to coming here, with the terminology. And they don’t wait for you. They throw everything on you and expect you to get up to date with them.”
That didn’t come for a while, but Krosch had other qualities that some wide receivers never master.
Having spent summer after summer bucking hay rolls and doing construction work, Krosch wasn’t averse to hard labor. He quickly impressed his coaches with his blocking skills. Even better, he won them over with his willingness to perform that unglamorous task.
“He’s the type of kid who’s going to do all the dirty work for you,” Miller said. “He’s going to mix it up and block his butt off. If you ask him, ‘Hey, we’re going to motion down, and you’re going to block the D-end,’ he’s going to do it with everything he’s got. He’s the type of kid that every team needs but not every team has.”
And of course, he had a 6-foot-5 frame that had the potential to be a quarterback’s dream and an opposing cornerback’s worst nightmare. Lob passes to Krosch would be impossible to defend if he ever figured out how to put himself in the position to haul them in.
Gradually, he did. During Idaho State’s spring game last season, he grabbed a 40-yard heave from Hill. During the first preseason scrimmage last fall, he did one better, snatching a 48-yarder out of the air from then-starter Kyle Blum.
“There’s been glimpses since he’s been here of what he could possibly progress into,” Miller said. “He really showed it in bits and pieces at times during the season. It’s going to come to a time when consistently, he’s going to show it, and I think that’s going to come now with his maturity and his game experience.”
Indeed, all the while, Krosch was also developing as a wide receiver. Two years into his college career, Krosch finally knew the ins and outs of his routes. He was no longer cutting upfield half a second early or half a yard long.
Fans got a glimpse of that during the fourth game of the season, when Krosch caught six passes for 113 yards and two touchdowns against Central Washington.
But it wasn’t until the final three games of the season that Krosch’s numbers erupted. He led the team with five catches and 47 yards against Montana State in Week 9, and then came the unforgettable catch against Montana the following game.
That was no jump ball. Instead, Krosch ran his post route to perfection and positioned his body squarely between his defender and Hill. That made it a no-brainer for Hill to sling him the ball. Even though it was a low throw, Krosch demonstrated good hands in picking it up and scooting upfield for the touchdown.
“Everything’s starting to slow down and make sense,” Krosch said. “I was kind of hesitant my first year and a half, thinking too much instead of just going out there and playing football. Now, I know my responsibilities and the correct way to run routes. Everything is just starting to make sense.”
The next game, Krosch proved he was no fluke. He caught another six balls for 157 yards and three touchdowns to propel Idaho State to a 41-34 win over Portland State.
Just before halftime of that game, Krosch reeled in a 31-yard pass on the right edge of the end zone with, yes, one of those fancy tippy-toe moves. In the second half, he scored on another post route, shaking off a defender along the way.
There was nothing Portland State could do to neutralize Krosch.
Big Sky defenses, meet the new Kelvin Krosch.
“I’m very excited to see what he can do, especially since he’s got that confidence now,” Hill said. “I could tell, especially after that Montana game, his confidence boosted through the roof. He ran his routes with a different tenacity.
“I think he’ll do something special in the Big Sky this year and he’ll be a big impact player for us.”
By Kelvin Ang
Idaho State Journal