The first full weekend of Big Sky football is in the books and every game went about as expected for all of the teams. The teams that should have won did so, and the teams that weren’t favored in their games did not win those contests. North Dakota put up a nice fight against the Utah Utes in Salt Lake City, however the Utes aren’t slouches on the football field. North Dakota got an early lead on the Utes but after that first quarter Utah never looked back. Utah ran for 272 yards on the Fighting Hawks, while North Dakota didn’t get much going in the rushing or passing game.

Sacramento State held tough for a while against Idaho, but ultimately lost 28-6 in the Kibbie Dome. The Vandals will be making their way back to the Big Sky next season. Washington State blanked Montana State 31-0 in Pullman. The Cats offense got absolutely nothing going, however their defense somehow held Mike Leach’s Cougars to 31 points. Wazzu’s Luke Falk turned in an impressive game, going 33/39 with 311 yards and three touchdowns.

Portland State fell to 0-2 on the season, losing by three to Oregon State. The Vikings have played FBS opponents two weeks in a row and have been a tough out in both contests. Too early to tell what kind of team the Vikings are right now, but they should be encouraged in their FBS losses.

Texas Tech dismantled Eastern Washington on Saturday night, beating the Eagles 56-10 in Lubbock. Prior to the game Kliff Kingsbury announced that the team would donate $100 per point scored in the contest to Hurricane Harvey relief efforts. It appears the Red Raiders will be sending $5600 to Houston for their win against Eastern. The Eagles will be replacing just about everything from last season except Gage Gabrud. Gabrud had a decent day going 22/34 for 207 yards with a touchdown and interception. The Eagles will be looking to replace the combination of Cooper Kupp, Shaq Hill, and Kendrick Bourne from last season.

Oregon absolutely crushed Southern Utah 77-21. San Diego State took care of UC-Davis 38-17. Arizona dismantled Northern Arizona 62-24 as well.

On the flipside, Weber State took care of NAIA school Montana-Western 76-0, and Northern Colorado took down College of Idaho 41-14.

In the only FCS on FCS action this weekend Montana beat Valparaiso at home to start the season 45-23. Jerry Louis-McGee caught 159 yards with of passes from Reese Phillips and had a pair of touchdown grabs for the Griz. Next week Montana will get a taste of FBS punishment from eighth ranked Washington in Seattle.


North Dakota 16
Utah 37

Western Oregon 6
Idaho State 37

Sacramento State 6
Idaho 28

Valparaiso 23
Montana 45

Montana State 0
Washington State 31

Portland State 32
Oregon State 35

College of Idaho 14
Northern Colorado 41

Eastern Washington 10
Texas Tech 56

Cal Poly 13
San Jose State 34

Montana Western 0
Weber State 76

Southern Utah 21
Oregon 77

UC-Davis 17
San Diego State 38

Northern Arizona 24
Arizona 62

Big Sky Player of the Week

Jerry Louis-McGee, WR, Montana. The receiver had nine catches for 159 yards and two touchdowns in the Griz’s opening season win vs Valparaiso.

Big Sky MVP Candidates

Gage Gabrud, QB, Eastern Washington
Cole Reyes, RB, North Dakota
Joe Protheroe, RB, Cal Poly
Emmanual Butler, WR, Northern Arizona
John Santiago, RB, North Dakota

Big Sky Power Rankings

1. Eastern Washington
2. North Dakota
3. Montana
4. Portland State
5. Weber State
6. Northern Arizona
7. Cal Poly
8. Idaho State
9. Northern Colorado
10. Southern Utah
11. Montana State
12. UC-Davis
13. Sacramento State

Final Thoughts and Hot Takes

This is probably going to be an unpopular opinion but the Big Sky Conference leadership needs to put an end to these Big Sky vs NAIA games. College of Idaho and Montana-Western should –never- appear on teams’ schedules. There are one or two hundred division 2 teams to choose from, pick one and schedule it. NAIA football is not appropriate for scheduling. That would be the equivalent of an FBS team scheduling a D2 school.

As far as this week in games goes, they turned out about as they should have. Everyone won and lost as they should have. Portland State had a shot at the upset. Oregon State is probably not a good football team this season, having been blown out of the stadium vs Colorado State last week, and nearly getting upset this week by an FCS school.

In other FCS upsets, James Madison, Liberty, and Howard all pulled off impressive FBS upsets this weekend. James Madison crushed East Carolina. Liberty took down perennial FBS power Baylor in a clash of universities with terrible morals. Howard, winner of three games over the last two season, put 43 points on UNLV and beat them.

Montana may have one of the toughest play-up games for a Big Sky team in recent memory. The Washington Huskies defense is nails. Several players named to preseason award watch lists, and quarterback Jake Browning is back. Hopefully Chris Petersen shows mercy at some point.

College football is back.