Big Sky Week 6 FCS Football Game Breakdowns

 Week 6 Big Sky Game Breakdowns


Looks like Montana State quarterback DeNarius McGhee came back just in time. Montana State has a big game against Idaho State that highlights the week of Big Sky football action. There are seven games on the agenda this week, six of which are Big Sky matches and one which involves a non-conference opponent. Let’s take a look at the week’s action:


UC Davis at Southern Utah, Saturday, 3:05

A meeting between former members of the Great West Conference, this matchup puts a strong Southern Utah team against a UC Davis squad that looks to be in the middle of a rebuilding year. UC Davis leads the series 11-6, but Southern Utah won the last meeting 34-3 in 2011. Southern Utah is 4-1 for the first time since 1997, but it has not been 5-1 since the 1986 season. Thanks to a league-low 98 rushing yards per game allowed, that looks like it might happen. On the other hand, UC Davis is allowing 174.4 passing yards per game, also the league’s lowest. Southern Utah is plus-6 in turnover margin. If Southern Utah can cut down on the run and force a few turnovers, this game goes to SUU.

Projected Score: Southern Utah 34, UC Davis 14


Portland State at #19 Montana, Saturday, 3:35

Each team has three victories to date, but historical data tilts this game in favor of Montana. Montana has won seven in a row, 11 of 12 and 15 of 17 against Portland State. When was the last time Portland State beat Montana? You have to go back to 1985 for that occurrence. It could be a high-scoring game, as Portland State leads the league at 41 points a game and Montana is third at 37 points a game. Montana is tops in scoring defense at 17.8 points per game, and Portland State is third at 21.6 points per game. It’s hard to predict whether this will be high scoring or low scoring, but Montana should curtail Portland State’s offense somewhat.

Projected Score: Montana 38, Portland State 20


North Dakota at Idaho State, Saturday, 4:05

The history in this series is spotty. North Dakota has won all three meetings against Idaho State, but the meetings took place in 1965, 1966 and 2008. In that last meeting North Dakota defeated Idaho State 38-36 in Pocatello. Both teams have had trouble holding onto the football, with Idaho State at minus-4 and North Dakota at minus-8. Idaho State QB Justin Arias is at 305.5 yards passing per game. Based on this data, North Dakota’s undefeated streak could come to an end, and an additional reason to pick Idaho State involves the game being played in Pocatello.

Projected Score: Idaho State 37, North Dakota 27


#11 Northern Arizona at #4 Montana State, Saturday, 4:05

The marquee matchup of the week takes place in Bozeman as these teams get together for the 47th meeting in the series. McGhee’s return should bolster Montana State’s offense, but look out for the Lumberjacks defense, which has scored five touchdowns in the last three games. Montana State has also forced eight more turnovers than it has given up. Look for this game to tilt in Montana State’s favor, even if Northern Arizona RB Zach Bauman has a good game.

Projected Score: Montana State 40, Northern Arizona 27


Yale at #25 Cal Poly, Saturday, 5:05

This game is historic because it is the first meeting between an Ivy League school and a member of the Big Sky. It is also Cal Poly’s first home game in over one month, so it should be a welcome relief to return to San Luis Obispo. If Cal Poly can come anywhere close to its 278.2 rushing yards per game, this could be an interesting contest. Keep an eye on Yale WR Deon Randall, who had 11 catches for 148 yards and scored three touchdowns last week against Cornell.

Projected Score: Cal Poly 37, Yale 24


Weber State at #8 Eastern Washington, Saturday, 7:05

This is a longtime series that has gone on since 1969, but recent years have seen Eastern Washington take command in the series. Eastern Washington has won three in a row and five of six against the Wildcats, and it is a return to home for Weber State coach Jody Sears, who was once an assistant at Eastern Washington. Both teams rank near the bottom in total defense, suggesting this could be an offensive slugfest. If EWU can get out to a strong first-quarter lead, this game could be over in a hurry.

Projected Score: Eastern Washington 48, Weber State 40


Northern Colorado at Sacramento State, Saturday, 9:05

Sacramento State has won all seven meetings in this series, and there is little to suggest anything will change. For starters, the game is in California. Second, Northern Colorado has only scored three first-quarter points the entire season. Third, QB Garrett Safron has thrown 13 touchdown passes in the last three games. This game shouldn’t be close, but you never know when Northern Colorado might decide to pull a surprise.

Projected Score: Sacramento State 43, Northern Colorado 14


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