The Big Sky is back for week 4 and it was mighty beautiful.. well, that’s now how I’m going to describe it because it was anything but. This was a pretty poor week for the Big Sky and its teams. Only four of the Big Sky teams this week managed wins, one team is still winless and one team might as well be winless. One team did the unthinkable (Montana State lost) and another team is glad they came back in mostly one piece (Idaho State). Let’s get to the week..
The week opened with Montana taking on .. umm, I’m not actually sure if this was a college or not. Something called Oklahoma Panhandle State, presumably in Oklahoma or thereabouts. I honestly don’t even know why games like this are scheduled. Some Big Sky teams have two of them on their schedule, and one Big Sky team (looking at you, Hornets!) nearly lost to one. Montana put up 31 points in the first quarter. The starters were out of the game eight minutes into the first quarter. This benefits no one, I don’t care if you think it helps the backups, they get better reps in practice than against guys who aren’t much better than a few Texas high schools. Anyways, Montana won this one 47-14. Montana will travel to Flagstaff next week to take on Northern Arizona.
Idaho State took a trip to the Northwest for a bout with the Washington Huskies. Huskies and Pac12 fans probably feel the same way about this game as I feel about FCS/D2 games. The Huskies raced out to a 42-0 lead at the half and never looked back.. except when they scored two more touchdowns in the 2nd half, so I guess they looked forward to the endzone. Washington racked up nearly 700 yards of total offense, while Idaho State managed 164 total yards. This was a glaring mismatch. ISU quarterback Justin Arias threw for 140 yards and two INTs on the day. On the ground.. well, Idaho State played running backs from time to time. Not helping matters any, ISU missed two field goals. The Bengals will travel to Davis next to take on the winless Aggies.
Northern Colorado got a rare opportunity to host a ranked out of conference opponent as they took on Northern Iowa in a directional college showdown. The top 10 Panthers rolled into Greeley and punished the Bears for four quarters, only letting them on the scoreboard once on a Darius Graham touchdown run. The Panthers rolled up 402 yards total offense, and probably didn’t play that great, but still came away with a win. Bears quarterback Seth Lobato was out with an injury this week sustained last week at Wyoming, so backup Tim Tancik got the start this week throwing a pair of INTs. A bright spot for the Bears was the rushing of Tromaine Dennis, who gained 71 yards on 15 carries. The Bears will host Southern Utah next week in their Big Sky opener.
Northern Arizona hosted Joe Glenn and the South Dakota Coyotes. The Coyotes weren’t prepared for the elevation or something, because they didn’t show up to play football until sometime in the 4th quarter. The Lumberjacks got out to a 19-0 lead after three quarters then it looked like USD was going to make a comeback but couldn’t quite make it so. The Lumberjacks rode their horse Zach Bauman for the duration of the game, he gained 151 yards and a touchdown to lead the ‘Jacks. NAU will play host to Montana next week in Flagstaff.
In the shocker of the day Montana State took a trip to some town in Texas that I still can’t spell to take on Stephen F Austin. Let’s just get some backstory here.. Stephen F Austin lost to Weber State. Let that marinate for a second.. LOST TO WEBER STATE. Has that marinated enough? Okay, so now Montana State took a trip to play some football. At the half the Cats were only down by a touchdown, and nearly tied it in the 3rd quarter but failed on a two point conversion. Why the Cats went for two here is beyond me, it’s not the first time I’ve watched a coach make a stupid decision regarding going for 1 vs going for 2. The Cats pulled ahead in the fourth quarter on a Cody Kirk touchdown and a converted two point conversion. Then the wheels fell off the Bobcat defense. The Lumberjacks (of Texas) scored three touchdowns in the last 8 minutes of the game to seal up a 14 point win over the Bobcats. Montana State will head to Grand Forks next to take on North Dakota [insert nickname here].
Weber State… you guys gotta start playing defense or else everyone is going to score on you! [insert really inappropriate joke here] They ran into a buzzsaw, and a pretty good team, McNeese State. McTeam gave up an early touchdown (in which Weber failed on a two point conversion) then put their foot on the gas and never let up. They went on to score 43 unanswered points to dismantle Weber State. Weber quarterback Austin Chipoletti has had better days.. he was 8/27 for 85 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. Not great. Bo Bolen was a bright spot for the Wildcats by rushing for 90 yards on 15 carries. Gotta feel for that guy.. top notch player on a high school team. Weber State is averaging 55 points a game given up. They will host Sacramento State next week.
Portland State and UC Davis (no dash) faced off this weekend in Davis. Portland State led this one from the get-go and didn’t let up. The Vikings, despite three interceptions from quarterback Keiran McDonagh, were still able to score 41 on the Aggies. McDonagh had a big game for the Vikings throwing for 174 yards and two TDs and rushed for another 57 and two more TDs. The really big day came from running back DJ Adams who ran for 208 yards and two scores. The Aggies didn’t do much on offense, quarterback Jimmy Laughrea threw for 180 and the Aggies rushing attack was mostly non-existent. UC Davis will take on Idaho State next week in a sure pillow fight. Portland State will play a Thursday game against Cal Poly.
In the Big Sky nightcap Sacramento State took on Southern Utah. The Hornets were looking to rebound after a near disaster from playing, and nearly losing to, an NAIA school last week. Southern Utah was coming off of a tough loss to Washington State. The Thunderbirds pretty evenly split their offense in this one, throwing for 169 and rushing for 175. The Hornets actually outgained the T-Birds in this one, but when it comes down to overtime apparently all it takes is a field goal to win it. Southern Utah kicker Colton Cook hit a 38 yarder to win it for the Thunderbirds. Southern Utah will head to Greeley to take on Northern Colorado. Sacramento State will play host to Weber State, in another Big Sky pillowfight.
At this point in the season it’s looking like a two horse race in the Big Sky between Eastern Washington and Montana. Montana State has clearly lost its way without Denarius McGhee. I can’t put my finger on Portland State yet.. good record, played two cupcakes. Cal Poly is hard to get a read on as well. The game of the week this week definitely belongs to Eastern Washington, who is traveling to Huntsville Texas to take on Sam Houston State, a matchup between two FCS top 5’s.