One of the Big Sky heavyweights took a knock out this weekend and took a tumble down the polls as a result. In one of the bigger FCS upsets this weekend Sacramento State walked into Bobcat Stadium in Bozeman and handed the Cats their second loss of the season, and did it somewhat handily. Hornet quarterback Kevin Thomson totaled 334 yards and five touchdowns to lead Sacramento State to probably their biggest conference win in a few years, and now their first top 25 ranking since 2014. Impressive win for them, disappointing for the Cats.
In other Big Sky action, a week after North Dakota got a last second win over UC Davis they turned around and got absolutely pummeled by Idaho State. Idaho State, who was coming off of their own pummeling at the hands of Montana, hung 55 on the Fighting Hawks. Bengal quarterback Matt Struck threw for 396 yards and five touchdowns to lead the way. Eastern Washington beat the hell out of Northern Colorado. Pretty familiar theme in Greeley this year. Eric Barriere threw for 445 yards and five scores, and rushed for another 41 yards.
Portland State tossed a shutout against Idaho, winning 24-0. The Vikings used a balanced attack rushing for 181 and passing for 167. Idaho employed the “throw four interceptions” tactic against the Vikings, which led to their not having any points on the board. UC Davis jumped out to a 34-10 halftime lead and didn’t look back, beating Cal Poly handily. Jake Maier threw for 378 and four scores, and also got 152 on the ground from Ulonzo Gilliam. In the night cap Weber State kept rolling with a tough win over Southern Utah in Ogden this weekend.
Coming up this week is Montana taking on Sacramento State on the road, Northern Arizona traveling to Weber State, Portland State going to Northern Colorado, Idaho State playing in-state rival Idaho in the world famous Kibbie Dome, North Dakota continuing to make the Big Sky rounds and going on the road to play Cal Poly, and UC-Davis traveling to Cedar City to take on Southern Utah.
North Dakota 20
Idaho State 55
Sacramento State 34
Montana State 21
Northern Colorado 21
Eastern Washington 54
Portland State 24
Southern Utah 14
Weber State 29
Big Sky Player of the Week
This week’s Big Sky player of the week is Sacramento State quarterback Kevin Thomson. Thomson was 23/30 for 260 yards and three touchdowns, while also running for 74 yards and two touchdowns, as Sacramento State went on the road and beat #6 Montana State over the weekend.
Big Sky MVP Candidates
Dalton Sneed, QB, Montana
Kevin Thomson, QB, Sacramento State
Jake Meier, QB, UC Davis
Ulonzo Gilliam, RB, UC Davis
Jeff Cotton, WR, Idaho
Big Sky Power Rankings
The Quad Shot
On one hand I was surprised that Sacramento State went to Bozeman and beat Montana State. On the other hand I really wasn’t that surprised. Kevin Thomson has been playing out of his mind lately, and Montana State has looked like a team who was going to take a loss. An injured Troy Anderson, and the lack of production from the quarterback position was eventually going to cost them a game. Whether it costs them anymore games after this remains to be seen, but they were definitely vulnerable.
It’s kind of amazing to see what’s happened to Idaho since their transition to FCS from FBS. Logic would dictate that they should have some talent remaining from being an FBS team with what you’d think would be better recruits. At least recruits that would be competitive in the top third of the Big Sky. However, this team might actually be worse than any FBS team they fielded. Maybe it’s a Paul Petrino problem, maybe it’s an Idaho problem, could be many things. I know the Kibbie Dome isn’t world class or anything, but it’s better than half the stadiums in the Big Sky. They have a new’ish weight training facility, which is better than at least half the conference. A lot has changed since Idaho first transition to FBS 20+ years ago, but man, this is just brutal.
Two of the top total offenses in all of FCS belong to Big Sky Conference teams, Eastern Washington at three, Montana at four. Two of the top total defenses in the country belong to Missouri Valley teams, North Dakota State at three, South Dakota State at five. They say that defense wins championships, and that’s usually true. If you think a Big Sky team is going to win a national championship this season I suggest the defenses start turning it around. The top Big Sky team in total defense is Portland State at 20. There are three Big Sky teams in the top 50, Weber State at 43, Sacramento State at 48.
I’m going to jump on a familiar soap box again. The FCS polls came out again on Monday morning and again there are Ivy League teams, -TEAMS-, crawling up the rankings. What in the actual hell do these teams do to deserve their rankings? In this week’s FCS Stats poll Princeton is at 17, Dartmouth at 21. Princeton’s opponents are a combined 3-19. Dartmouth’s opponents are 7-14. Now, I know we could make this argument for several teams (looking at you South Dakota State), but what makes the Ivies so special that they just rocket up the polls with no challenge most of the season? You put the best Ivy teams against middle of the pack Power 3 teams (BSC, MVFC, and CAA) they’re going to get thumped. Off my soapbox, agree and disagree all you want but I’ll die on this hill.