Review: Big Sky Conference – Week 4

The first week of in-conference games started to shape the race to the Big Sky Conference title and eventual playoff hopes. Dog fights, statement wins, and lucky stars all aligned on this week as conference opponents took a step ahead of others while Sacramento State absolutely embarrassed FBS Colorado State. All of the conference leaders moved forward one more win and the bottom of the Big Sky will start to form as teams falter. While one week does not determine the entire season the top, middle, and bottom become clearer with each game we witness.

Saturday 9/24/2022Montana State Montana State 38Eastern Washington Eastern Washington 35Cheney, Wash. (Conf.)Box Score Recap
Saturday 9/24/2022Idaho State Idaho State 14Northern Colorado Northern Colorado 35Greeley, Colo. (Conf.)Box Score Recap
Saturday 9/24/2022Idaho Idaho 27Northern Arizona Northern Arizona 10Flagstaff, Ariz. (Conf.)Box Score Recap
Saturday 9/24/2022Sacramento State Sacramento State 41Colorado State University Colorado State University 10Fort Collins, Colo.Box Score Recap
Saturday 9/24/2022Portland State Portland State 16Montana Montana 53Missoula, Mont. (Conf.)Box Score Recap
Saturday 9/24/2022Weber State Weber State 17UC Davis UC Davis 12Davis, Calif. (Conf.)Box Score Recap
Table via Big Sky Conference.
SchoolConfConf %OverallPF-PAStreak
Weber State1-01.0004-0137-38W4
Montana State1-01.0003-1169-133W1
Northern Colorado1-01.0002-2100-107W2
Sacramento State0-0.0003-0134-64W3
Cal Poly0-0.0001-256-100L1
Eastern Washington0-1.0001-285-137L2
Northern Arizona0-1.0001-347-97L2
UC Davis0-1.0001-390-88L1
Portland State0-1.0000-339-126L3
Idaho State0-1.0000-458-156L4
Table via Big Sky Conference.
Photo via Garrett Becker/MSU Athletics.

Montana State and Eastern Washington had a grueling street-fight type of game. The two teams stuck heavily to the ground game and had some tough hits including Tommy Mellott leaving the game. Sean Chambers took over as the Bobcat gadget quarterback to put up 69 yards passing with a touchdown and 160 yards rushing with two touchdowns. Chambers and running back Elijah Elliots gashed the Eagles for a combined 316 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns. Micah Smith tried to emulate the Bobcats, but a late fumble set up Montana State in scoring position to take the go ahead lead. Gunner Talkington would make an effort for the comeback, but was intercepted to seal the game’s fate. Although these teams played a great game injuries are mounting early, especially for the Bobcats backfield.

Elijah Dotson. Photo via UNC Athletics.
14 - 35
Nottingham Field

Northern Colorado 35, Idaho State 14

Highlights: Available

Northern Colorado’s miscues kept the halftime score all tied up at 14. The Bears could have had a double digit lead if not for the fumble at the goal line by Elijah Dotson and missed 20 yard field goal attempt by Hunter Green. Idaho State’s Hunter Hays was able to take advantage of blown coverages by the Bears and gash them for big yardage in the first half. In a tale of two halves UNC capitalized big time in the second half with Elijah Dotson returning a punt 82 yards for a special teams touchdown and Elijah Anderson-Taylor returning a fumble for 47 yards for a defensive touchdown. The Bears were heating up as the game went on and the Bengals were struggling. Quarterback Hunter Hays left the field with assistance after a big hit on the Anderson-Taylor return that left Hays crumpled on the field.

Roshaun Johnson. Photo via Idaho Athletics.

The Vandals lapped the Lumberjacks in offensive yards and time of possession. A one-score halftime score gave the impression the Lumberjacks were not out of the game, but Idaho found a way to keep them scoreless the rest of the game. There are hardly any valid complaints about Idaho’s offense as Gevani McCoy was 18/20 for 184 yards and a touchdown, two rushers with 80+ yards, and a near even split of receptions among the receivers. Northern Arizona did a good job of limiting further damage on defense as the Lumberjacks only gave up 10 points in the second half and three defenders end the game with double digit tackles.

Photo via Jon Austria/The Coloradoan via AP.
41 - 10
Canvas Stadium

Sacramento State 41, Colorado State 10

Highlights: Available

Sacramento State made news across the nation as they led an absolutely, shockingly large win over FBS Colorado State. While CSU’s starting quarterback left the game early on the Rams had little answer offensively or defensively for the Hornets. The two quarterback threat combined with a competent rushing attack and bulldozing defense allowed Sacramento State to tally their most points scored against an FBS school and largest margin of victory over an FBS school for the entire FCS since 2017. Comparably, the Hornets beat CSU by the same amount as Washington State (FBS) did, more than Middle Tennessee (FBS) and only 13 points less than #4 Michigan (FBS). One of the Hornets keys to success was dominating CSU’s already depleted offensive line and registering key stats in their backfield.

Robby Hauck. Photo via TOM BAUER/Missoulian.
16 - 53
Washington-Grizzly Stadium

Montana 53, Portland State 16

Highlights: Available

Montana molly-whopped Portland State as a homecoming gift to the Griz fans. There were a few individual defensive shining moments for the Vikings, including Broderick Harrell tackling the punter in the end-zone for a safety, but for the most part the Vikings were just busy receiving a shellacking. Robby Hauck returned a failed field goal 99 yards for a touchdown and Junior Bergen returned a punt 72 yards for a score. Montana’s homecoming was special and included Robby Hauck eclipsing Dante Olson’s tackle record and receiving a game ball.

Eddie Heckard. Photo via Weber State Athletics.
17 - 12
UC Davis Health Stadium

Weber State 17, UC Davis 12

Highlights: Available

UC Davis fought like hell to tack a loss on Weber State’s schedule, but three missed field goals and a failed go-ahead drive kept the Wildcats in the winning column. The Aggies forced four fumbles and an interception, but that was not enough to secure the win. Weber State’s Josh Davis and UC Davis’s Ulonzo Gilliam rivaled each other through 100-yard rushing nights averaging over five yards per carry. Ultimately, the offenses had similar production to them despite Miles Hastings throwing nearly double the amount of passes that Bronson Barron did. A sloppy game all around could have been awarded to either side, but the Wildcats found a way to hold on long enough until the double zeros.