Big Sky Conference Week 3 Games Review – Week of 9/14/2019

Marlon Bridges
Photo via JSU Athletics.

Marquee: Jacksonville State def. Eastern Washington 49-45

A tidal wave of shock was sent across the FCS landscape as Jacksonville State pulled off a momentous upset. After the first quarter it seemed as if the fate of the game was going to be easily determined with a 28-7 EWU lead. Things would even out much more in the second and third quarter as the game was more of the matchup fans believed it would be. JSU won the second quarter by scoring two touchdowns to EWU’s one. EWU countered with a 10-7 third quarter leaving the score 45-28 going into the fourth. That is when the magic happened for the Gamecocks. All of a sudden everything was clicking on all cyclinders for JSU, while EWU struggled to even have any reputable response. The Eagles fourth quarter production and confidence were stumped. JSU would go on to complete the comeback with 21 points in fourth quarter and a celebration that would last long into the night. Whether it was a gameplan failure, the long trip and uncomfortable heat, or simply a perfect fourth quarter for JSU, the Eagles crumbled like a stale cookie.

Utah def. Idaho State 31-0

A lopsided victory for a hot and nationally recognized Utah team was expected. What was disappointing was the fact that Idaho State did not score at all. ISU kept the Utes to ten less points than Weber was able to last year, but also scored 10 fewer points than the Wildcats. Defensively this was a respectable game for ISU, but offensively to be outgained 543 to 116 yards is unacceptable. While it is important to note Utah is ranked tenth in this week’s USA Today poll it still hurts Bengal fans to see such an offensive disappointment. Despite no interceptions, one TFL, and no sacks the defenders did happen to be in the right place at the right time other than the 82 yard touchdown pass.

Cal Poly Falls to Oregon State in Second Meeting Against Pac-12 School
Photo via Cal Poly Athletics.

Oregon State def. Cal Poly 45-7

Mustang fans were a bit disappointed to not see a closer performance after several inspiring games from Cal Poly so far on the season. An important factor to consider is that while Oregon State is not a good team in the PAC 12 that their pedigree of conference they come from is still prestigeous and recruits high caliber players. Cal Poly showed a lot of promise as the Beavers had an eight play drive for 74 yards and a touchdown, and the Mustangs matched it with an identical drive. That would be the most potent offensive drive as the other drives were only good for yards. In total yards the Mustangs did well despite the score with their 315 to OSU’s 549 total yards. The run game looked strong again as Duy Tran-Sampson had 137 yards on the day, Surprisingly, Cal Poly relly should focus on run defense as the Beavers carved up big gains via the run game.

Wyoming def. Idaho 21-16

Kudos go to Idaho not for a win, but for a strong team performance that nearly led to another #FearTheFCS Moment. This game was slated to be a fairly ugly game as Idaho has struggled out of the gate so far this season. An unforseen factor is that Idaho was masterful at infuriating Wyoming and forcing them to commit several unnecessary penalties. The Laramie crowd was its usual rowdy and fierce self, but that became even more prevalent when the penalties against Wyoming stacked up. Multiple late hit out of bounds calls were called as it seemed as if the Cowboys were desperately trying to will Idaho into submission. Despite not finishing with the win Idaho did lead in first downs, total yards, time of possession, third down conversions, and field goals (3/3 vs. 0/2). The Vandal run defense leaves a lot to be desired, but as for pressure and pass defense the Vandals did well. An unsung hero for the Vandals who does not get enough credit is kicker Cade Coffey who really kept the Vandals in the game with nine points.

Photo via MSU Athletics

Montana State def. Western Illinois 23-14

The Leathernecks found ways to slow down the Bobcat offense, but could not solve the MSU defense. This game was a close contest start to finish, but the Bobcat defense found a way to get takeaways and shut down the WIU rushing scheme. Bryce Sterk continues to be a force to be reckoned with as he led the team in tackles and also tallied 2.5 TFl and a sack for an 11 yard loss. The only glaring mistake by the Bobcat defense was allowing Dennus Houston to get 5 catches for 141 yards and a touchdown. Dropping to 0-3 will be a huge hit to the season start for WIU as Montana State contniues to receive top ten votes as a reputable 2-1 team.

Nevada def. Weber State 19-13

The Wildcat defense did well once again against a Mountain West team, but the offense could not capitalize. With Jake Constantine out for a few weeks the passing game was left up to Kaden Janks who had an atrocious day. He completed 28 percent of his passes for 57 yards, a touchdown, and an interception. On the other side of the field Carson Strong for Nevada had another strong performance to keep him in the driver seat of the Wolfpack for now. Last Chance U star Malik Henry is still on the Nevada roster, but a hamstring injury from training camp is still nagging him. Right now Weber State is hoping Constantine will make a quick recovery since Josh Davis’s sophomore year is starting off as a slump.

George Robinson - 2019
Photo via NAU Athletics.

Northern Arizona def. Western New Mexico 55-21

Northern Arizona had their tune up game this week against WNMU. Case Cookus was not shy in dropping four touchdowns and 357 passing yards on the D2 team. The running game had many different faces as nine different players had positive yards against WNMU. The passing game was almost too easy as the yards came big and in bunches. Joe Logan finished the day with two catches for two touchdowns and 128 yards. The Lumberjack defense was also very active in the win with 11 TFL, 3 sacks, a forced fumble, and an interception.

Southern Utah def. Stephen F. Austin 45-38 OT

The Thunderbirds grabbed their first win of the season in dramatic fashion. What started as a 10-0 lead for SUU quickly dwindled into a back and forth showdown. The Thunderbirds were only minutes away from defeat until Thomas Duckett had a 17 yard rushing touchdown with 1:12 remaining. In overtime SFA could not match James Felila 11 yard touchdown run. The Thunderbirds had to claw for every yard as SFA matched up well, but SUU was also fighting themselves most of the game. SUU had 17 penalties for 161 yards which is nearly 31 percent of their total yards in which they could have added had they not committed those fouls. A notable perfromance on defense came from Aaron Romero who had 5 tackles, 3.5 TFL, 3 sacks, and a forced fumble.

Photo via SSU Athletics.

Sacramento State def. Northern Colorado 50-0

Sacramento State obliterated Northern Colorado. The old saying, “What can go wrong, will go wrong” perfectly summarizes the performance of UNC. Part way into the second quarter Jacob Knipp took a vicious hit from a Sac. State defender and could not continue the game. While he was being evaluated for concussion protocols, Bears fans cannot stop a wandering mind if his shouder is healthy. Knipp has sustained season ending injuries in the front end of the last three seasons. On the otherside of the ball Kevin Thompson had a banner day throwing for five touchdowns, 361 yards, and one interception. The Sac. State defense had no problems as they pitched a shutout, but the Hornet rushing game could have been stronger, especially against a team in such disarray. The two upsides for UNC would be Luke Nelson’s jump ball interception and Sam Flowers had a 47 yard reception early on.

UC Davis def. Lehigh 41-13

Little surprise to Big Sky fans that this contest was not more of a blowout. Lehigh did contain well on run defense, but Jake Maier had his way with the pass defense. Maier had four touchdowns and 389 yards passing before handing the regins off to Hunter Rodrigues. Neither the passing or run game really ever fully developed until garabage time in the fourth quarter. Tyler Monaco had a sour day passing for Lehigh as he had 171 yards, but only 42.8 percent completed passes. A positive to the day is Lehigh looks ready to face heavy run teams and compete well, but the passing defense will need to seek some more game film in order to be competitive.

Boise State Football vs. Portland State, John Kelly photo.
Photo via Boise State Ahtletics.

Boise State def. Portland State 45-10

Portland State put up a surprising amount of fight by keeping the Broncos to a 14-10 lead. Unfortunate for the Vikings, Boise State would continue to turn on the heat while PSU had no offensive answers. The size, speed, and strength of the Broncos was just too much for the Vikings to withstand. Curtis Weaver was an absolute menace to the Vikings offense as he tallied 6 tackles, 4 TFL, 4 sacks, and broke up a pass. Another example of the sheer overwhelming factor of the Broncos was the 98 yard kickoff return touchdown that started the demoralizing trail to a loss for the VIkings.

Oregon def. Montana 35-3

Montana should be commended for keeping the score as low as it was. Now, 35-3 is no loss to tell the grandkids about in 50 years, but the fact that this loss was almost half of the Nevada vs. Oregon game is notable. Oregon beat Nevada 77-6 after a close loss to Auburn. A week later they host an FCS team and have no worries that this will be a big week for them, yet only score 35 points on them. Is this a warning sign Oregon is no good or that Montana will magically storm through to the championship? No, not at all, but it is a fact that Coach Bobby Hauck is getting a grasp of what his team is capable of and will accomplish this season. Looking at the stats Oregon still had a very decisive day as their stats were positive and Montana’s were mostly pedestrian besides Dante Olson’s 14 tackles.

How Did I Do? Week 3

This week took a finite hit as the upsets have started. Upsets are great for fans, spectators, and anyone on the winning side, but sometimes it all comes down to “anything can happen, any given Saturday”. EWU had the game all wrapped up and then disater strikes as they suddenly forget either how to play football or how to battle back from mistakes. Northern Colorado was supposed to have a hopeful season after decent FBS play and Jacob Knipp back, but not back long enough it seesms. Idaho was supposed to get stomped on by Wyoming, but played mind games with them and nearly won. Things may seem nice and neat, but any given Saturday….

Predicted: EWU 41, JSU 31 Actual: Jacksonville State University Jacksonville State University 49 Eastern Washington Eastern Washington 45

Predicted: Utah 53, ISU 13 Actual:University of Utah University of Utah 31Idaho State Idaho State 0

Predicted: OSU 45, CP 24 Actual:Oregon State Oregon State 45Cal Poly Cal Poly 7

Predicted: WY 42, ID 17 Actual: Wyoming Wyoming 21Idaho Idaho 16

Predicted: UNC 27, Sac. St. 24 Actual:Sacramento State Sacramento State 50Northern Colorado Northern Colorado 0

Predicted: BSU 63, PSU 10 Actual:Boise State Boise State 45Portland State Portland State 10

Predicted: MSU 41, WIU 16 Actual:Montana State Montana State 23Western Illinois Western Illinois 14

Predicted: Nevada 27, Weber 17 Actual:Nevada Nevada 19Weber State Weber State 13

Predicted: NAU 66, WNMU 9 Actual: Northern Arizona Northern Arizona 55Western New Mexico University Western New Mexico University 21

Predicted: UCD 52, Lehigh 10 Actual: UC Davis UC Davis 41Lehigh University Lehigh University 13

Predicted: Oregon 56, Montana 17 Actual:Oregon Oregon 35Montana Montana 3

Predicted: SUU 26, SFA 16 Actual: Southern Utah Southern Utah 45Stephen F. Austin Stephen F. Austin 38

This Week: 10-2 Overall: 33-3