Here we are at the end of Week 8 and who is the conference leader? Sacramento State. Raise your hand if you thought that might be the case. No one is raising their hands because this a come out of nowhere type reality. Sacramento State had improved over the offseason, but this degree of improvement is shocking EWU, Montana State, and Montana. The Hornets are not off the hook schedule wise as Weber State comes to California in two weeks and end the season with UC Davis at home. If Sacramento State can sweep the power five of the Big Sky there may be a serious playoff role for them to play.
Marquee: Sacramento State def. Montana 49-22
Montana was throttled. There are not many pretty ways to frame it for Griz fans as the only one to do well this week was the defense’s tackle numbers. Unfortunately, that was due to the Hornet offense having the ball often and scoring 49 points. Sacramento State started the game boldly as their first touchdown came with a two-point conversion that succeeded.
Idaho def. Idaho State 45-21
Idaho State had a chance to make a statement against in-state rival Idaho. Unfortunate for them, as the Vandals took a 17-point lead by the end of the first quarter. The Idaho defense was relentless as they bottled up Ty Flannagan’s run attack and turned Matt Struck into a turnover machine. Struck threw two interceptions and fumbled the ball twice. One of each of those types of turnovers were taken in for Idaho touchdowns. Even with Mason Petrino sidelined, the Vandals found ways to not only win, but impress the Battle of the Domes crowd.
North Dakota def. Cal Poly 30-26
Cal Poly scored early and often, but they did not score most. North Dakota appeared to be in trouble when facing a 17-7 deficit heading into halftime. With a lone James Johannesson touchdown run to show for the Fightin’ Hawks it looked like UND might be in trouble. Nate Ketteringham had not lost hope and drove the team down the field to earn a touchdown from one yard out via Ketteringham’s legs. This change of momentum would set up a back and forth battle that favored UND in the box score. Despite his efforts, Duy Trans-Sampson would rush for 40 carries, 173 yards, and a touchdown as the Mustangs fell short of improving their standing.
Portland State def. Northern Colorado 38-30
Northern Colorado played with a “never say die” attitude as they kept crawling back into competitive situations. Despite some questionable calls, the Bears were still out of reach at the end of the game as the Vikings escaped Nottingham Field a win richer this weekend. Sirgeo Hoffman carved up the Bears like a Thanksgiving turkey with 221 yards on 28 carries for two touchdowns. The Bears simply had no solutions to the Viking rushing attack which mounted four of the five touchdowns. While the Bears play well at home, they will desperately need the bye week to learn how to play this well on the road.
Weber State def. Northern Arizona 51-28
Case Cookus has proved this season that he is a formidable quarterback, but the same cannot be said of the Lumberjacks defense. Although they are struggling with injuries Josh Davis showed them who the boss was. A school-record 328 yards on 34 carries for four touchdowns put the Lumberjacks in their place and then some. Cookus was able to produce 359 passing yards and four touchdowns, Joe Logan and company were unable to provide any relief as the run game was non-existent.
UC Davis def. Southern Utah 33-25
The three-headed attack of UC Davis continues to propel them through wins, despite a rocky season start. Jake Maier, Ulonzo Gilliam, and Wesley Preece are players any team would be lucky to have. Maier threw for three touchdowns and 67.5 completion percentage. Ulonzo Gilliam gained 140 yards and a touchdown on 28 carries. Wesley Preece caught five passes for 75 yards and a touchdown. Together the Aggies held off the one-man show of Chris Helbig and the sometimes scrappy defense.
My name is Ben Schleiger and I’m your representative for the Big Sky Conference. I have done work for multiple newspapers and sports blogs including The Johnstown Breeze, The University of Northern Colorado Mirror, and Mile High Maniac. I am a proud alumnus of the University of Northern Colorado with a degree in Psychology and a minor in Political Science. In my free time, I like watching sports, playing video games, and trying new foods.