Montana made a statement on Saturday as they defeated Weber State at home. The Griz looked like the better team in every way on Saturday and made their claim at the top of the Big Sky. Weber State was down at one point 35-3 as the Griz just kept pouring it on. Wide receiver Samori Toure had three scores for Montana. Weber State scored 13 points to end the game, but by then Montana had their second unit in and Weber had pulled Jake Constantine in favor of Kaden Jenks. Constantine had three interceptions on the day.
The other top two teams in the conference took care of their business on Saturday as Sacramento State beat Idaho handily on the road 31-7. Sacramento State relied on a heavy dose of the rushing attack with 222 yards and four touchdowns. Elijah Dotson had 109 of those yards and two scores. Quarterback Kevin Thomson had a less than average game, comparatively, going 17-36 for 187 yards and an interception. On the Idaho side of the ball, absolutely nothing went right. Mason Petrino had a touchdown pass to Cutrell Haywood. That’s about all they did. Montana State took care of UC Davis in a dog fight in Davis. The Bobcats rode a 13 point fourth quarter to beat the Aggies. The Bobcats rushed for 284 yards on the Aggies. The Aggies got a big day from Big Sky rushing leader Ulonzo Gilliam, has he went for 133 yards and two scores.
In outside playoff chance scenario, Eastern Washington beat Cal Poly by the skin of their teeth. Cal Poly had a chance to win the game with under five minutes left when they had clawed back from a 42-28 hole. Duy Tran-Sampson punched in a touchdown for the Mustangs. Cal Poly elected to go for two instead of the tie and missed the conversion. Poly had one more shot to win the game, but a missed 35 yard field goal ultimately doomed the Mustangs. In games that don’t matter to the playoff chase, BYU beat the hell out of Idaho State. Bengals running back Malakai Rango did rush for 142 yards on 24 carries though. North Dakota won a pillow fight over Northern Colorado. Northern Colorado tried to make it interesting at the end with a Milo Hall touchdown and got the ball back with a chance to tie, but Jacob Knipp threw an interception deep in his own territory. Southern Utah pulled an upset on Saturday, beating Northern Arizona. Gotta feel bad for Case Cookus who just couldn’t ever play on teams good enough to make a lot of noise.
Coming up this week we have Montana vs Montana State in Bozeman. Southern Utah making a long trip to take on North Dakota. Cal Poly is headed to Northern Colorado. Idaho is headed to Northern Arizona. Idaho State goes south to take on Weber State. Portland State goes east to take on Eastern Washington. In the “late” game that starts at 3pm MT is UC Davis taking on Sacramento State. Selection Sunday for the FCS playoffs will at 12:30pm ET on ESPNU.
Northern Colorado 38
North Dakota 45
Idaho State 10
Weber State 16
Northern Arizona 30
Southern Utah 31
Sacramento State 31
Montana State 27
UC Davis 17
Eastern Washington 42
Cal Poly 41
Big Sky Player of the Week
This week’s Big Sky player of the week is Montana wide receiver Samori Toure. Toure had eight catches for 193 yards and three touchdowns as Montana defeated Weber State this past weekend.
Big Sky MVP Candidates
Dalton Sneed, QB, Montana
Kevin Thomson, QB, Sacramento State
Jeff Cotton, WR, Idaho
Ulonzo Gilliam, RB, UC Davis
Eric Barriere, QB, Eastern Washington
Big Sky Power Rankings
The Quad Shot
I guess there’s new kings of the Big Sky conference this week. Montana really took it to Weber State in every part of the game. The Wildcats, I suspected, were not as good as they had been advertised. I’d had my suspicions about them, but thought they played good defense and good enough offense to keep their wins coming. However, once tested against an actual good team they crumbled. Just too many mistakes for the Wildcats. Special teams really didn’t help the team at all. That being said, Montana was very good all day on offense and really brought it against a good defense. Weird crowning Montana as the kings right now, considering they have a loss to Sacramento State. However, Montana fought off a lot more lions than Sacramento State has.
That being said, we now have a three way tie at the top of the Big Sky. This is a big deal because the winner of the conference gets the auto-bid to the playoffs and will definitely be seeded. Now, I think the possibility exists that three Big Sky teams could be seeded after next Sunday.. and even the slight possibility of four. Montana owns the tiebreaker over Weber State. Weber State owns the tiebreaker over Sacramento State. Sacramento State owns the tiebreaker over Montana. If Montana wins this weekend I think the argument is nil. However, if Montana loses, Weber would probably earn the auto-bid. That being said, I can see a scenario where three teams could get seeded if all three win out. If Montana loses to Montana State I assume a possibility exists that four Big Sky teams could get seeds with the Bobcats getting one and Montana maybe getting the 8 seed. This scenario is way out there, but the top of the Big Sky is really good this year.
That being said, there’s also a possibility that a four win Lafayette could get into the playoffs from the Patriot league. In this nutso scenario, Holy Cross is currently leading the Patriot league at 6-5 (4-1). They play Georgetown on Saturday, the last place team in the Patriot. G-town is 5-5 (1-4). However, Lafayette is 3-2 in conference with a win over Holy Cross. If Holy Cross loses to Georgetown and Lafayette wins against Lehigh, then the Leopards would be in the playoffs with the autobid. I don’t remember for sure if auto-bids host a home game, but god wouldn’t that be hilarious to see a team like Villanova or South Dakota State have to go to Lafayette for a playoff game.
One of the oldest rivalries in college football is back this week, the Cat/Griz game. Or the Brawl of the Wild. Whatever people call it. It’s in Bozeman this year and the Bobcats are hankering for a fourth win in a row over the Griz. Other rivalry games in the Big Sky this week are the Causeway Classic that features UC Davis against Sacramento State. Weber State and Idaho State are kind of rivals, but only to see which fan base can close their city earlier in the night. Predictions for the Brawl and the Causeway Classic?