Big Sky Week 3 FCS Football Game Breakdowns


Big Sky Week 3 Game Breakdowns


For the first time this season, all 13 of the Big Sky Conference’s teams are in action on the same weekend. It is a large number of games, yes, but the numbers will dwindle once the teams actually begin conference play. The highlights of the weekend include five of the Big Sky teams going up against FBS foes, and the hopes are one or more of these teams will beat the FBS teams and further raise the Big Sky’s visibility. Here is a look at the week’s games:


Colorado-Mesa at #2 Montana State, Saturday, 3:05 pm

This isn’t a presidential election year, but the previous three times these teams met America elected a new president. Colorado-Mesa is a member of the Division II Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference, and it opened up with a 34-0 shutout of Menlo in its first game. The teams met in 1984, 1988 and 1992, with Montana State winning the last meeting 43-30. Montana State should win despite the loss of quarterback DeNarius McGhee, who sustained a shoulder injury and will be out until October. Cody Kirk has four touchdowns in two games at RB, and that should help new QB Jake Bleskin find his footing.

Projected Score: Montana State 40, Colorado-Mesa 7


Cal-Poly at Colorado State, Saturday, 3:35

Colorado State has a connection to the Big Sky, as defensive line coach Greg Lupfer served as an assistant at Portland State between 1995 and 2006 and a defensive coordinator at Cal-Poly. Tim Walsh, now Cal-Poly’s head coach, was his boss. These two schools are meeting for the first time. Colorado State has lost to Colorado and Tulsa but averaged 27 points per game in the process. Cal-Poly’s Kristaan Ivory leads the Big Sky with an average of 141 yards per game. This game could be closer because Cal-Poly QB Vince Moraga is hurt and that could hinder the offense somewhat.

Projected Score: Cal-Poly 28, Colorado State 24


Humboldt State at Portland State, Saturday, 4:05 pm

These two teams have not met since 1987, when Portland State scored a 50-15 victory to go up 6-5 in the overall series. Portland State has won the previous four meetings against Humboldt State, which is a member of the Great Northwest Conference in Division II. Running back D.J. Adams is averaging 123 yards per game and has five touchdowns in two games. Portland State nearly took down an NCAA Division I FBS program last week, but California hung on in the end for a 37-30 victory. This game should not be a problem.

Projected Score: Portland State 48, Humboldt State 10


Northern Colorado at Wyoming, Saturday, 4:05 pm

A Saturday game in Laramie pits the Cowboys against one of the more explosive offenses in all of FCS. Northern Colorado is seventh in total offense in the FCS with 468 yards per game. Wyoming has 583 yards per game. Get the feeling this could be an aerial shootout? These teams have not met since 1949 when the Cowboys scored a 103-0 victory. Wyoming won’t score that many points on the way to a win, but the Cowboys should squeak one out in a high-scoring contest.

Projected Score: Wyoming 47, Northern Colorado 40

Western State at Idaho State, Saturday, 5:05 pm

Like Colorado-Mesa, Western State is a member of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference, and these teams saw each other every season between 1946 and 1962. The meetings between these teams have dwindled since, with Idaho State winning the last contest in 2011. Idaho State finally snapped a long losing streak, ending a nine-game drought with a 40-14 win over Dixie State in Pocatello. If Idaho State wins it will go 2-0 for the first time since 1999. Idaho State has a good chance to win this game, especially if QB Justin Arias can throw for anywhere near 439 yards like last week.

Projected Score: Idaho State 34, Western State 7

Southern Utah at Washington State, Saturday, 6:35 pm

If Southern Utah can win this game, it would be 3-0 for the first time since 1980. This may be a tall order, as Washington State is coming off a 10-7 victory over USC for its first win over the Trojans since 2000. Southern Utah’s defense may carry this game, as it has allowed 274.5 yards per contest, second in the Big Sky. Matt Holley has 16 total tackles, a sack, forced fumble and two fumble recoveries. Southern Utah has outscored opponents 31-0 in the first quarter this season, so if the Thunderbirds can get off to a hot start they might stay unbeaten.

Projected Score: Southern Utah 24, Washington State 21

#8 Montana at North Dakota, Saturday, 7:05 pm

In its opening game Montana rushed for 246 yards against Appalachian State, and North Dakota recently allowed close to 300 yards rushing in a loss to South Dakota State. If the game is decided on the ground Montana should prevail easily. The wild card is North Dakota’s passing game, which averages 361.5 yards. If North Dakota can uncork its passing offense then Montana could be in a world of hurt. Montana holds a 12-8-1 lead in the overall series.

Projected Score: Montana 31, North Dakota 27

#5 Eastern Washington at Toledo, Saturday, 7:05 pm

Could we see another FBS team go down at the hands of an FCS foe? You bet. Eastern Washington and Toledo have never met before, but Florida and Missouri have defeated the Rockets this season. Eastern Washington QB Vernon Adams has nine touchdowns and an average of 354.5 yards through the air per game, and its 611 yards total offense per contest is second in the nation. The Glass Bowl is likely to get tarnished, giving Eastern Washington its first 3-0 start since 2007.

Projected Score: Eastern Washington 34, Toledo 20


Weber State at Utah State, Saturday, 8:05 pm

Utah State has won 12 of the 13 meetings between these schools, including a 54-17 win in 2011, the last time these schools met. Weber State lost 70-7 last week at Utah, but Utah State lost 30-26 to Utah and then beat Air Force 52-20. Utah State should make it 13 wins in 14 tries, especially if QB Chuckie Keeton gains 437 all-purpose yards like he did against Air Force. Weber State is deciding between Jordan Adamczyk and Austin Chipoletti at quarterback, and that indecision will cost them.

Projected Score: Utah State 54, Weber State 10


#21 Northern Arizona at UC Davis, Saturday, 9:05 pm

In last year’s meeting Northern Arizona RB Zach Bauman had 111 yards rushing as the Lumberjacks defeated UC Davis 21-7. Bauman needs one yard to move into the top 10 in career rushing yards for the Big Sky. Bauman needs 48 yards to pass Marcus King and become the school’s all-time leading rusher. UC Davis QB Jimmy Laughrea and Northern Arizona’s Kyren Poe each threw for close to 180 yards in their last games, so they are quite similar. UC Davis has not started 0-3 since the 1965 season, but that is a distinct possibility.

Projected Score: Northern Arizona 21, UC Davis 17


Southern Oregon at Sacramento State, Saturday, 7:05 pm

Relax, Sacramento State fans. Your team has not started 0-3 since 2009, and that streak should continue. Southern Oregon is a member of the NAIA’s Frontier Conference, and if Sacramento State loses to this team it may be time for some inward thinking about what went wrong. QB Garrett Safron needs to find his own receivers (303 yards passing, four interceptions and no touchdowns). Sacramento State hasn’t been shut out three times in a row since the first year of football at the school (1954).

Projected Score: Sacramento State 21, Southern Oregon 10


See All FCS Games of the Week Breakdowns