Both of the Big Sky schools were swept in the playoffs this past weekend. Eastern Washington broke down midway through the second quarter and could not get their engines restarted. Weber State tried their best to pull off another heart stopping finale, but instead their chances ended.
North Dakota State def. Eastern Washington 42-20
Eastern Washington took off to a hot start 20 minutes into the game with a lead of 20-7. Unfortunately for the Eagles, the missed point after attempt would be the beginning of their end. The Bison quickly found solace and scoring behind the powerful legs of Hunter Luepke.
The rushing attack would continue to wear down the Eagles with 35 unanswered points. Once NDSU found their way in the second quarter there was no turning back. As a team the Bison put up 422 yards on the ground.
Despite the Bison’s measly 50 passing yards they managed to show they have no problems simply overpowering teams into submission. NDSU faces a similar threat this weekend as Sam Houston offers an explosive offense that could be challenging to contain in the beginning.
Southern Illinois def. Weber State 34-31
Weber State held true to its spring nickname of the “Cardiac Cats”, but the name stuck too well as the cats finally crashed. The game was fairly back and forth as the Wildcats and Saluki’s truly went at each other for the entirety of the game. Ultimately, Southern Illinois played a cleaner game than Weber State.
The two teams mirrored each other very closely throughout the game in yards, penalties, time of possession, and turnovers. SIU 422 to Weber’s 443 total yards. SIU six penalties for 42 yards to Weber’s five penalties for 43 yards. SIU 31:15 to Weber’s 28:45 in time of possession. SIU lost fumble and thrown interception to Weber’s two thrown interceptions.
These two teams embodied a great representation of a playoff game. With one team being a conference champion and the other being a fringe playoff team Southern Illinois pulled of an impressive victory. Next week they will face a huge rematch and opportunity to take down another conference champion in South Dakota State.
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.