Northern Arizona running back Zach Bauman rushes for a few of his 118 yards against Montana on Saturday. (Photo by AJ Jeske)

Northern Arizona running back Zach Bauman rushes for a few of his 118 yards against Montana on Saturday. (Photo by AJ Jeske)

Week five in the Big Sky Conference has come and gone and it wasn’t too pretty for the conference’s top teams. Eastern Washington got a thorough beating on the road at Sam Houston State while Montana got its own beatdown courtesy of Zach Bauman. Montana State’s all-world quarterback returned to the lineup this week and in case anyone is wondering, Weber State is still the most awful thing on the planet. To the recaps!

The Big Sky week started early this week as Cal Poly traveled up the coast to Portland to take on the Vikings. This was a fun game to watch against two pretty evenly matched teams. The Mustangs used their little triple option to keep the Viking defense off balance all night cruising to 431 yards rushing. Kieran McDonagh didn’t disappoint turning in a fine evening throwing for 302 yards and 4 TDs, but in the end Cal Poly simply dominated the offensive line of scrimmage. Running back Kristaan Ivory was an unstoppable force running and his partner in crime, quarterback Chris Brown (of the non-beating your partner variety), rushed for 129 yards and a score on his own. Too bad only a handful of people witnessed this game in the stadium because it was a good one. The Mustangs pulled it out 38-34. Poly will host Yale this week, who is making a rare trip across country. Portland State gets to travel to Missoula to take on Montana.

Eastern Washington traveled to Huntsville Texas to take on Sam Houston this week in a rematch of last year’s shootout in the playoff semi-finals. Eastern didn’t appear to be in this game from about the 2nd quarter on as the BearKats (with a K for some reason) abused the Eastern defense with this dude named Tim Flanders (hi-dee-ho Eagles defenders!). Flanders lost his damn mind going for 280 yards and two scores against the Eagles. Add in another 98 from Richard Sincere and the score got a tad lopsided. Eastern got a nice performance from quarterback Vernon Adams, going for 355 and 3 TDs, but they couldn’t slow down the SHSU rushing attack. Eastern gets a bye next week as they host Weber State.

Montana State loves a nice long road trip, as they’ve been on two of them already, decided to make it a trifecta and head to Grand Forks to take on North Dakota [insert name here]. Montana State got some good news as quarterback Denarius McGhee returned from his injury a little quicker than anyone thought and played the first half of the Cats rout of North Dakota. By halftime it was 42-7 and McGhee’s day was done. North Dakota was done too, as they didn’t show up to their own dome to play football. The Cats dominated every phase of the game. Running back Cody Kirk was tired of being called the hippie kid from Butterfly Effect and rushed for five… FIVE first half touchdowns. That’s absurd. Montana State will host Northern Arizona next. North Dakota will slug it out with perennial cupcake, Idaho State in another dome.

Southern Utah continued their winning ways against a pretty helpless Northern Colorado squad. The Thunderbirds and Bears actually played a pretty tight game, and UNC even led at one point during this contest. Neither team thought running the ball was probably a good idea in this contest, but at the same time, neither team really took control through the air. Southern Utah quarterback Aaron Cantu threw for 269 through the air and a pair of touchdowns. Reciever Fatu Moala caught 120 yards of those passes. Bears quarterback Tim Tancik had a nice day in place of injured starter Seth Lobato going for 269 as well. Wow, that’s weird, both quarterbacks threw for the same amount of yardage and TDs. Quarterbacks separated at birth. Southern Utah will get an almost bye as they host UC Davis. Northern Colorado will not get a bye because they have to travel to Sacramento to take on the Hornets.

Poor Weber State. These fellas just can’t catch a break this year. Hosting a game who had the same number of wins as they did and got housed by a slightly more talented Hornets team. The Wildcats still haven’t settled on a quarterback as they played a couple of different ones in this one. Bo Bolen is still running hard, going for 66 yards. Hornet receiver DeAndre Carter had a nice day for the Hornets catching 8 passes for 148 and 3 touchdowns. Quarterback Garrett Safron (not Efron) was efficient only missing on seven passes, however, had two picks. The Hornets roll 31-3 over Weber. The Hornets will host Northern Colorado next week. Weber State will wish they didn’t play football next week as they head up to Cheney to take on Eastern Washington. Is another 70 spot on the horizon?

In the Big Sky pillow fight of the week UC Davis (no dash) hosted Idaho State. The Aggies decided they had enough of starter Jimmy Laughrea and replaced him with Randy Wright who came in and performed very well. He was 14/22 for 201 yards and two touchdowns. Running back Gabe Manzanares lost his mind and rushed for 208 yards and a score for the Aggies. This game was pretty much over at the half with the Aggies going up 16-0, and when you’re Idaho State that’s pretty much an insurmountable lead. Bengals quarterback Justin Arias had a rough night completing less than half of his 45 pass attempts for a 4.8 yard average. Thankfully, there are no more winless teams in the Big Sky Conference. Idaho State will play North Dakota in a battle to see whose dome is better (North Dakota’s is). UC Davis will head to Southern Utah and see if new quarterback Randy Wright is the answer to their woes.

In the Big Sky nightcap one team showed up to play American football and the other team didn’t get off the bus. Northern Arizona raced out to a 14-0 lead on Montana. The Griz looked helpless through the first half of football, but they made it pretty easy for the Lumberjacks as they returned two Montana fumbles for touchdowns to ice the game. Peyton candidate Zach Bauman continued his domination of the Montana defense rushing for 118 yards and two scores. Kyren Poe was efficient going for 242 yards, but gave up one interception. Montana quarterback Jordan Johnson had his worst performance of the season going 17/38 for 292 and two scores, but coughed up a crucial fumble late in the 2nd half to swing the momentum for good to NAU. He was limited to -3 yards rushing. Montana will host Portland State. Northern Arizona will head north to take on Montana State in the Big Sky game of the week.

It will be interesting to see how Montana responds after being thoroughly beaten down by Northern Arizona. It will also be interesting to see if Eastern Washington shows any mercy for their conference mate and how many points they’ll score on Weber State. It will also be interesting to see how Montana State holds up against Northern Arizona, should be a terrific game between two ranked teams. However, it is now October and this month has NEVER been friendly to the Lumberjacks.

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