Big Sky Week 11 FCS Football Game Breakdowns


Week 11 Big Sky Game Breakdowns


Well, this is the week. By the time Saturday night rolls around, we will know who the top team is in the Big Sky Conference, as Eastern Washington and Montana State finally face off. There will be only one unbeaten team in the Big Sky at the end of the day, but even the loser of this game shouldn’t despair. Not only is the team still likely to get a playoff berth, there is a good chance the team will still be in contention for a conference championship if something should happen to the winner. Let’s take a look at the week’s action:


Northern Colorado at North Dakota, Saturday, 2:05

This series has no clear-cut advantage as Northern Colorado leads 13-12 in the overall meetings. In the last game Tromaine Dennis rushed for 212 yards and two touchdowns as Northern Colorado prevailed 28-27. The teams first met in 1980 and North Dakota has a 7-3 edge in games played at Grand Forks. This could be the year a streak is broken as Northern Colorado hasn’t won in Grand Forks since 1999. Is this the season? North Dakota is 1-5 at home this season. Neither team has taken good care of the football as Northern Colorado is minus-7 in turnover margin and North Dakota is minus-18. I give the edge in this game to Northern Colorado, as this might be the year an upset is pulled.

Projected Score: Northern Colorado 28, North Dakota 20


#15 Montana at South Dakota, Saturday, 2:05

Last year Montana improved its series record to 10-6 overall when it ran for 315 yards in a 35-24 home win over South Dakota. The teams first met in 1915 but Montana has not played a game in Vermillion since 1974. Is it a coincidence this is the last time South Dakota beat Montana. South Dakota is 3-1 at home and Montana is 3-1 on the road. Some help, right? It has been almost 40 years since South Dakota scored a win and it won’t happen this year for two reasons. First, Montana QB Jordan Johnson has 24 touchdown passes and only one interception. Second, Montana has a plus-14 turnover margin. Look out for Montana to win this game.

Projected Score: Montana 30, South Dakota 17


Southern Utah at Weber State, Saturday, 3:05

The 20th meeting between these schools comes at a point when Weber State holds a 15-4 lead in the series yet enters this game winless in the Big Sky and 1-8 overall. At the same time Southern Utah has won six games this year and hasn’t won seven since the 2000 season. The teams have split the last six meetings, but Weber State is 10-2 overall in games played at Ogden. Southern Utah allows 20.2 points a game, which is the lowest point total in the Big Sky. However, Weber State scores a league-low 14.6 points per game. This is going to be a year where Weber State loses, but I think the game will be closer than expected.

Projected Score: Southern Utah 20, Weber State 16


#2 Montana State at #4 Eastern Washington, Saturday, 3:10

This game marks the first time since 1994 that two Big Sky teams this highly ranked will face off for the league championship. Both teams are 5-0 in league play and 7-2 overall, and past games are no indication of how this matchup will turn out. Montana State won last year’s meeting in Cheney, and Eastern Washington won the 2011 matchup in Bozeman. Eastern Washington leads the overall series 26-10 since it began in 1948. Eastern Washington has won eight of the last 10 meetings and 17 of the last 22 dating back to 1991. Eastern Washington has thrown 36 touchdown passes, but Montana State has allowed nine touchdown passes. The key to this game could be turnover margin, as Montana State holds a plus-12 in that area. Get the feeling this game could be a dandy? Eastern Washington should win this game, but it will be very close.

Projected Score: Eastern Washington 40, Montana State 34


Portland State at Idaho State, Saturday, 5:05

Idaho State fans still have nightmares about last year’s game in Portland, where Portland State rolled over, trampled and just about tore apart the Bengals in a 77-10 victory. Idaho State looks to snap a three-game losing streak in this game. The game may come down to sacks, as Idaho State has 20 sacks from its defense but Portland State has allowed four sacks total. Portland State should win this contest, but it will not be anywhere near last year’s lopsided 67-point difference.

Projected Score: Portland State 40, Idaho State 21


Sacramento State at Cal Poly, Saturday, 9:05

The night’s final game is a battle of two California teams that are vying to reach the .500 mark. The series is tied at 16-16 overall, so it is also for supremacy in the series (if only by one game). Last year QB Garrett Safron threw for 303 yards and four touchdowns in a 35-29 win in Sacramento. Safron averages 300.1 yards per game this season and he has thrown 22 touchdowns. Cal Poly has won five of the last six meetings, but Safron’s hot touch could be the catalyst here.

Projected Score: Sacramento State 34, Cal Poly 24


See All FCS Games of the Week Breakdowns