Marquee: Montana State def. SEMO 38-17
The Redhawks gave their best effort, but the Bobcats prevailed dominant. A close halftime score did not define the game as Montana State went on a 28-7 run to win. Casey Bauman performed adequately, while the running game established itself as a deciding factor. Bauman passed for 136 yards and 50 percent accuracy and the running backs, Isaiah Ifanse and Troy Anderson, combined for 216 yards and 2 touchdowns. SEMO punted 10 times, had 11 penalties for 97 yards, and gained 211 fewer yards than Montana State. Geno Hess was the one SEMO player who made a difference with 13 carries for 90 yards. The multi-threat, week one SEMO was stunted this week as the Bobcats won their home-opener.
Idaho State def. Western Colorado University (D2) 38-13
The Bengals toppled the Mountaineers at home in Pocatello, ID on a lonely Thursday night game. That’s right I said Thursday night. Not to get critical, but an FCS vs. D2 game on a Thursday night with the harvest festival going on is a blunder by the ISU administration. Looking at the game 532 Bengal yards to 178 Mountaineer total yards was a pure difference between the talent available. Matt Struck came out for ISU with 402 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 58 percent completed. Gunnar Amos transferred from Idaho in worry that coach’s son Mason Petrino had all but locked down the starting job. Looking at Struck’s performance it’s hard to argue why Amos would be given the regins.
Arizona State def. Sacramento State 19-7
This game could have been very offensive and throwing touchdowns all night, but in a turn of surprise it was very defensive. Sacramento State allowed Arizona State to score five times. The positive was four of those scores were field goals that kept the game to 19 points instead of 35. Overall both offenses were shut down pretty hard. Arizona State’s difference was the few times they did connect it was for more yards per catch/ run than Sacramento State. Despite the lacking offense against the FBS opponent it looks like Sacramento State could still surprise against FCS level opponents.
Eastern Washington def. Lindenwood (D2) 59-31
EWU took a step forward with a win, but took two steps backs as the backups allowed 21 points and the lead rusher for the Eagles broke his tibula and fibula. Is this a hit to the Eagles season as they allowed 31 points to a sub FCS team? No. Playing undisciplined is always a problem, but easily correctable in practice. The hardest hit and ultimate loss is the loss of EWU’s lead running back. Like many top tier teams a next man up player will take his place, but it still hurts hard. Many questions for the entire FCS landscape will answered this weekend with a marquee match at Jacksonville State.
Idaho def. Central Washington 41-31
Big Sky faithful were not surprised to see Central Washington stay in the game against Idaho. What was an eye opener was how long CWU stayed on the Vandals heels. Another Big Sky vs. D2 game that should not have been as close, but CWU is simply a well coached and talented D2 team for many years. The fact that CWU kept it close, even being a three point game in the fourth quarter, and did not lose until late 27 yard touchdown run from Aundre Carter speaks volumes for CWU. The Vandals escaped a possible doom with 100 more total yards and 20 fewer penalty yards which likely decided the game. Mason Petrino may not have racked up the yards like his two running backs both with over 100 yards, but his accuracy was undeniable with a 76 completion percentage.Two CWU receivers had touchdown stats in the passing column as they caught the Vandals slipping. If Idaho had to focus on two things it would be discipline and eliminating trick plays from opponents.
Washington State def. Northern Colorado 59-17
As to no one’s surprise did Washington St. get the win at home over UNC. It was surprising to see such a close halftime score of 24-10 Washington St. The Bears kept a decent pace with the Cougars, but the second half would expose the lingering issues UNC has against top tier teams. Despite the 22nd overall ranking of the Cougars in the FBS, UNC consistently turns over the ball in high pressure situations against big opponents. Less turnovers and more poise last week could have been a different result against SJSU. This week was not the case as a loss was imminent no matter the performance. The Bears regroup for road game three as they will travel to Sacramento State to attempt to win their first game.
UC Davis def. San Diego 38-35
The Aggies should count their blessings as they may not want to use them too early and too often in the season. Last week Cal Poly handidly took care of San Diego, but UC Davis was one play away from losing. If the Torero pass was any quicker or if the Aggie defender was any slower or chose a different hit we would be talking about a UC Davis loss. The out route pass to the Torero player was complete, but the ball was knocked free as he turned to stretch out for the endzone. Both Jake Maier or San Diego’s Sinnett were flawed through the air with two interceptions each and several batted passes. Wes Preece led the receiving with 5 catches and 118 yards. Ulonzo Gilliam Jr. led the rushing on 21 attempts for 135 yards and 2 touchdowns. The FCS is aware of how talented Jake Maier is, but some weeks may require a full team effort like this one to lead a successful season.
Northern Iowa def. Southern Utah 34-14
Southern Utah’s “Odd Year Curse” is continuing the just the curse portion of results. If there is magic to be found in this season it must be saved for later in the season since it was absent from this game. SUU’s defense actually faired decently, although when it comes to the endzone the points continue to be given away like free popsicles. A tough schedule does not help SUU and there are no excuses in football, but surely this team has more passion to show than this beatdown. A 24-0 halftime is no way for any team to start a game. 10-10 through the second half is commendable against a near top ten team, but playing a full game like that would be more ideal. An 0-2 SFA team from the Southland Conference should be a marker of whether this team cares to right the ship or not.
Portland State def. Simon Fraser (D2-Canada) 70-7
Canada’s one and only NCAA team performed admirably for a team who has won three games since 2014. Rushers with negative yards, quarterbacks with 3 and 5 sacks, and one incredible score to Portland State’s ten scores. The Vikings scored ten touchdowns total with 6 on the ground, 3 through the air, and 1 fumble recovery. One of the most glaring stats of the week was that PSU outgained SFU by 533 yards. A mere 113 yards of total offense for Simon Fraser consisted mostly of a 60 yard pass on the third play of the game. The rest of the game SFU would only gain 53 more positive yards while Portland State racked up 636 total yards. This likely will not transfer highly to the Boise State game, but a boost of confidence could give them hope.
Weber State def. Cal Poly 41-24
Order was restored to part of the Big Sky as Cal Poly took a loss and Weber capitalized a win. This is not a conference game yet since the out of conference games are hard to lineup so conferences sometimes have familar foes as non-conference games. Cal Poly stomped on San Diego last week, but Weber took their turn doing the stomping in the second half. a 17-10 Weber lead into halftime left hope on the board for both sides. The rushing attack with Josh Davis and Kevin Smith combined for 243 yards for Weber. Davis and Kris Jackson together had 4 touchdowns as the running back community from Ogden really brought it to the run-centric Mustangs. Jalen Hamler was still a threat this week, but his fullback Duy Trans-Sampson had a game to forget as he went 5 rushes for 8 yards this week. A welcome sight for Weber was Jake Constantine improving his passing completions to 73 percent this week. That will be imperative next week at Nevada.
Montana def. North Alabama 61-17
Newcomer to the block North Alabama has shown they deserve to be in the FCS, but they do not deserve to be in the top tier of the FCS, not yet. UNA did not have a roaring good day in Missoula. The Griz ripped apart the Lions bit by bit. Dalton Sneed had a good day at quarterback racking up 269 yards and a touchdown. Dante Olson was once again barely shown up by Robby Hauck as both had 9 tackles, but Hauck had a TFL and an INT. The true hero of the day went to Marcus Knight as he had 89 yards and 3 touchdowns. Next week will introduce the team to their first loss and how they handle it will show how they will fare this season.
Arizona def. Northern Arizona 65-41
Arizona’s defense is atrocious. Now that we established that consider the halftime score was 51-13. Did NAU make up a tremendous amount of ground? Yes, but many starters were on snap counts or not used heavily in the second half, thus why NAU scored 28 points. Arizona knew the game was well in hand by early second quarter so why not put in the second string against an FCS team who shares a state with you? Case Cookus did have 373 yards and 2 touchdowns. Other than his performance, exluding his 2 interceptions, there was not many Lumberjacks making noise against Arizona. Next week will be needed rest for NAU as they will face Western New Mexico as a tune up game.
How’d I Do? Week 2
This week was very straight forward so I will not be too worried about an easy 12-0 this week. Just as I do my research for these predictions, the Big Sky teams should be practicing closely as consistency is what matters most in football, second only to winning. Non-conference week three is quickly approaching with many FBS opponents on the horizon, several FCS matches, and a D2 game for NAU.
Predicted: Montana State 35, SEMO 27 Actual: Montana State 38, SEMO 17
Predicted: Idaho State 52, WCU 13 Actual: Idaho State 38, WCU 13
Predicted: ASU 56, Sac St. 20 Actual: ASU 19, Sac St. 7
Predicted: EWU 59, Lindenwood 6 Actual: EWU 59, Lindenwood 31
Predicted: Portland St. 77, SFU 3 Actual: Portland St. 70, SFU 7
Predicted: Idaho 38, CWU 17 Actual: Idaho 41, CWU 31
Predicted: Weber 27, Cal Poly 24 Actual: Weber 41, Cal Poly 24
Predicted: Montana 42, UNA 23 Actual: Montana 61, UNA 17
Predicted: UC Davis 50, San Diego 16 Actual: UC Davis 38, San Diego 35
Predicted: WSU 63, Northern Colorado 13 Actual: WSU 59, Northern Colorado 17
Predicted: Arizona 38, NAU 28 Actual: Arizona 65, NAU 41
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.