Big Sky Round-Up: Week 8

Big Sky

The top of the Big Sky race didn’t change a considerable amount after this weekend’s action, but Montana might have found themselves in a hole they may not be able to dig out of. The Griz went on the road to face a surging Northern Arizona squad and came away with an eleven point loss to the Lumberjacks. Northern Arizona relied on throwing the ball downfield much of the game to beat the Griz secondary to setup their scores. Northern Arizona was surprisingly dominant on both sides of the line of scrimmage and kept the Griz offense off balance most of the game. The Lumberjacks are now the winners of three in a row and heading into a bye week. It’s not improbable they could win out and force the playoff committee into some decisions.

Big Sky co-leader North Dakota got more than they bargained for on Saturday when they took on the mostly hapless Idaho State. The Bengals have been mostly non-competitive in their losses this year but somehow managed to stay close with the Fighting Hawks. The game was tied at halftime with North Dakota finally pulling ahead for good in the third quarter. North Dakota got a conference win on the road, and it was ugly, but it happened.

Southern Utah appeared to have their contest with Weber State wrapped up and was going to hand Weber their first conference loss. Someone forgot to mention to the Wildcats that the game was over. Up 22 points in the 4th quarter Southern Utah inexplicably gave up 23 unanswered points and allowed Weber to come back and win 37-36. Jadrian Clark threw a touchdown pass to Darryl Denby with :31 left on the clock to seal the victory for the Wildcats. Next weekend sets up a big matchup between Weber State and North Dakota in Grand Forks.

There is now a log jam at the top of the Big Sky standings with North Dakota, Eastern Washington, and Weber State all tied at the top. One of those teams will drop from the rank of unbeaten next weekend. One game behind is Cal Poly, two games behind is Montana, Northern Arizona, and Northern Colorado. Could chaos happen and there be six teams eligible for the top of the Big Sky heading into the final two weeks? Unlikely, but it’s the Big Sky, everything is possible.

Scores

Eastern Washington 41
Montana State 17

Sacramento State 19
Northern Colorado 27

North Dakota 28
Idaho State 21

Montana 34
Northern Arizona 45

Weber State 37
Southern Utah 36

UC-Davis 16
Cal Poly 21

Big Sky Player of the Week

Jadrian Clark, QB, Weber State. Clark was 31/52 for 436 yards, four touchdowns and one interception, plus 30 rushing yards in a comeback victory over Southern Utah.

Big Sky MVP Candidates

Gage Gabrud, QB, Eastern Washington. 37/51, 520 yards, 4 touchdowns.
Cooper Kupp, WR, Eastern Washington. 13 receptions, 154 yards, 1 touchdown.
Emmanuel Butler, WR, Northern Arizona.  4 receptions, 75 yards.
Joe Protheroe, RB, Cal Poly. 27 carries, 141 yards, 1 touchdown.
Caleb Kidder, LB, Montana. 3 tackles, 1 tackle for loss.

Big Sky Power Rankings

1. Eastern Washington
2. North Dakota
3. Cal Poly
4. Montana
5. Weber State
6. Northern Arizona
7. Northern Colorado
8. Southern Utah
9. Portland State
10. Idaho State
11. UC-Davis
12. Sacramento State
13. Montana State

Looking Ahead to Week 9

Weber State will head to North Dakota in a battle of Big Sky unbeatens. That should figure to be an important game in the Big Sky race. Another important game in the Big Sky race is Montana going to Eastern Washington. Northern Colorado will go north to take on Portland State. Southern Utah will also head north to take on Idaho State in Pocatello. To cap the week Cal Poly will go north to take on Sacramento State.

Final Thoughts and Hot Takes

– I can most definitely say that Montana State, Sacramento State, UC-Davis, and Idaho State will not be invited to participate in the playoffs. #analysis

– The bloodbath in Bozeman wasn’t quite what I thought was going to happen. It was bad, but the scoreboard operators weren’t as busy as I thought they would be after watching the first quarter.

– Bruce Barnum did not get beat in the state of Utah this weekend.

– Montana caught NAU at the absolute worst possible team. Their offense is finding their groove behind Blake Kemp and are playing like the team that was picked to win the Big Sky. If only Jerome Sauers hadn’t started his October swoon in September this year.

– I saw a lot of people on the internet message boards this weekend bemoaning the Griz losing to a backup quarterback and the whole Griz coaching staff should be fired. Let’s get one thing straight.. Blake Kemp would start for all but about four or five Big Sky teams, and one of those teams is only because Kemp probably isn’t built to run Cal Poly’s triple option. Kemp was a good starter at East Carolina, and has played very well for the Jacks this year. He’s not your average schlumpy backup that’s drug in off the street.

– Being a schlumpy backup sounds like a pretty good gig if you can get it though.

– Southern Utah.. bros. You can’t be giving up 23 unanswered in the final quarter. That game was yours. I have no idea what happened down there, but man…

– This might be obvious to most, but Cooper Kupp does silly things when the football gets near him. Probably made a good decision to return to EWU for his senior year. His stock is still rising.

– The poor Griz secondary better figure itself out or they could be in for a long day against Eastern Washington and Cooper Kupp/Shaq Hill.

A sobering reminder

When a person grows up within a golden age of anything, their perspective is decidedly altered by the success that the program, entity, country, or whatever it is. In all my years of consistently attending Grizzly football games (from 1988 to 2003), there was little cognition that what we were living in was a golden age of Grizzly football. We knew it was really good football and we had a good thing going. Yet after the national title in 2001, a person had to assume that they were going to keep pouring in. Every year afterword was merely knocking away the barbarians at the gate.

Every playoff trip since then has ended in defeat, and the program isn’t among the elite in the division anymore, or even its own conference. Yet few could even recognize the ‘demise’ of the program and fewer have come up with answers and solution to all the problems that face University of Montana Football.

So as the Grizzly football program was handed yet again a sobering defeat on the road, it has sent a good many of Griz fans once again to the precipice. This has been a yearly activity pretty much since Bobby Hauck left.

I’ll be as blunt as I could possibly can. There is no coach, no magic formula, no solution that will make Montana great again. 

Continue reading “A sobering reminder”

Big Sky Round-Up: Week 7

Big Sky

The Big Sky season didn’t get any clearer this past weekend as there is a crush of teams at the top of the conference trying to secure the autobid to the playoffs as the season enters the second half. North Dakota kept their undefeated record in conference play in tact by taking down Southern Utah in Grand Forks over the weekend. The Fighting Hawks are now 4-0 in conference play. The Hawks used a balanced attack to beat the Thunderbirds who struggled to get anything going on the ground against UNDs talented defense.

Montana took advantage of having Sacramento State in town and decided to put up 68 points on them in Missoula. Montana won their past two games by a combined 135-14. Sacramento State broke Montana’s point streak in the fourth quarter of Saturday’s game. Prior to that the Griz had rolled off 129 consecutive points without giving up a score. Montana currently ranks in the top 15 in total offense and total defense. This is setting up a great football game in Cheney later this month.

Northern Colorado had a slip-up this week in their quest to finish near the top of the Big Sky standings by stumbling against previous winless (in conference) UC-Davis. UC-Davis, prior to that game, had only one win on the season. Needless to say, the Bears offense suffered a power outage when they switched time zones. Northern Arizona turned in a good ball game against Idaho State this past weekend. The Lumberjacks let the ball fly for 319 yards from back-up Blake Kemp and put up 52 points on the hapless Idaho Bengals. Weber State continued their undefeated play in conference by taking down the even more hapless Montana State Bobcats.

Scores

Sacramento State 7
Montana 68

Southern Utah 23
North Dakota 45

Montana State 27
Weber State 45

Cal Poly 55
Portland State 35

Northern Colorado 21
UC-Davis 34

Idaho State 7
Northern Arizona 52

Big Sky Player of the Week

Blake Kemp, Northern Arizona. Kemp was 23/37 for 319 yards and four touchdowns with one interception in the Lumberjacks’ win over Idaho State on Saturday.

Big Sky MVP Candidates

Gage Gabrud, QB, Eastern Washington. Idle.
Cooper Kupp, WR, Eastern Washington. Idle.
Emmanual Butler, WR, Northern Arizona. 6 receptions, 88 yards, two touchdowns.
Joe Protheroe, RB, Cal Poly. 16 carries, 101 yards, two touchdowns.
Caleb Kidder, LB, Montana. 7 tackles, 3 TFL, 2.5 sacks.

Big Sky Power Rankings

1. Eastern Washington
2. Montana
3. North Dakota
4. Cal Poly
5. Weber State
6. Southern Utah
7. Northern Arizona
8. Northern Colorado
9. Portland State
10. UC-Davis
11. Idaho State
12. Sacramento State
13. Montana State

Looking Ahead to Week 8

The Big Sky week 8 schedule starts off with Eastern Washington taking on Montana State in Bozeman. Sacramento State will head to Greeley to take on Northern Colorado. North Dakota will head across the mountain to take on Idaho State in Pocatello. Weber State will make the trip down I-15 to take on Southern Utah. Montana will head south to Flagstaff to take on Northern Arizona. To cap off the weekend the Cal Poly will host UC-Davis.

Final Thoughts and Hot Takes

– Jeff Choate has to be feeling a little fire under his seat already in Bozeman. Yes, he’s new on the job and is rebuilding his roster, but man.. the Cats haven’t even looked competitive this year.

– Just think of the awful things Eastern Washington is going to do to that Montana State defense. Going to be a blood bath in Bozeman this week.

– Pillow fight of the week gonna be in Greeley this week with Sac State and Northern Colorado. Can’t decide if the Bears are coming back to Earth or if they had a complete mental lapse against UC-Davis.

– Montana and Northern Arizona could result in a broken scoreboard the way both teams have scored points in the last week or so. If Montana’s defense can shut down the NAU passing attack only half of it may break.

– Weber State and Southern Utah should be a pretty good game, and pretty under the radar. Southern Utah is undoubtedly angry about that North Dakota loss and Weber is rolling through conference opponents right now. Should be a fun one in Cedar City.

– Portland State mercifully has this week off.

– North Dakota’s assault on the bottom of the conference continues this week with Idaho State. Only one game left on their schedule that presents any kind of challenge, in my eyes, and that’s their final game of the season at home against Northern Arizona.

Big Sky Round-Up: Week 6

Big Sky

Another week in the Big Sky and another week that Eastern Washington put up gaudy stats on some hapless team. This time that hapless team was Northern Colorado. The Bears are looking like a much improved team this year, but they simply did not have the fire power to compete with Eastern Washington. Gage Gabrud turned in another fine performance, totally a little over 500 total yards and five touchdowns. The Eagles are loaded with weapons on offense. Their defense, however, ranks among the worst in all of FCS. It should be an interesting matchup on Halloween weekend when Montana, with a top ten defense rolls into Cheney to take on the Eagles.

Speaking of Montana, the Grizzlies looked dominant in their win over Mississippi Valley State. Granted, the Delta Devils were a really bad team who does not even fully fund their team, they have 41 scholarships available to their players. However, Montana put up 67 straight points on the Delta Devils after giving up an opening drive touchdown. Montana’s defense was the star of the show by holding the Delta Devils, who average 14 yards per game rushing to -61 yards rushing. Needless to say, that’s a pretty solid effort from the Grizzlies.

In other news, Bruce Barnum hoped for a big crowd in Ogden this week for when his Portland State Vikings went on the road to take on Weber State. In another effort of Bruce Barnum opening his mouth his Vikings were once again beaten in Utah. Eventually he’s going to learn to keep his mouth shut, as his team does not seem capable of cashing the checks his mouth is trying to cash. At least he makes for some good sound bites throughout the week.

Northern Arizona and Montana State had a nice tussle in Bozeman over the weekend. The Bobcats needed a win to keep their playoff hopes alive, and the Lumberjacks needed a win for a chance at remotely saving their season. The Lumberjacks, playing without star quarterback Case Cookus managed to pull off a victory in Bozeman. The Bobcats struggled in many parts of the game, unable to generate a lot of offense. The Lumberjacks rode the legs of Joe Logan to the tune of 147 yards and two touchdowns for a win. The Bobcats are now in an 0-3 hole in conference play.

Scores

Mississippi Valley State 7
Montana 67

Northern Colorado 31
Eastern Washington 49

Northern Arizona 20
Montana State 14

UC Davis 3
Southern Utah 24

Portland State 10
Weber State 14

North Dakota 40
Sacramento State 7

Big Sky Player of the Week

Gage Gabrud of Eastern Washington is the Big Sky player of the week this week. Gabrud completed 33/39 passes for 435 yards and five touchdowns. He also had 11 carries for 79 yards in their victory over Northern Colorado.

Big Sky MVP Candidates

Gage Gabrud, QB, Eastern Washington. 33/39, 435 yards, five touchdowns. 11 rushes, 79 yards.
Cooper Kupp, WR, Eastern Washington. Five receptions for 59 yards.
John Santiago, RB, North Dakota. Did not play.
Case Cookus, QB, Northern Arizona. Did not play.
Emmanuel Butler, WR, Northern Arizona. Seven receptions for 68 yards.
Joe Protheroe, RB, Cal Poly. Bye.

Big Sky Power Rankings

1. Eastern Washington
2. Montana
3. North Dakota
4. Cal Poly
5. Southern Utah
6. Weber State
7. Northern Colorado
8. Northern Arizona
9. Portland State
10. Montana State
11. Idaho State
12. Sacramento State
13. UC-Davis

Looking Ahead to Week 7

Next week will get started with Southern Utah heading to Grand Forks to take on North Dakota. This game has some pretty big implications in the Big Sky for the playoff picture going forward. Expect a good one here. Montana State will head to Weber State. Sacramento State will head to Missoula to take on Montana. Cal Poly goes north to take on Portland State. Northern Colorado will take on UC-Davis. Idaho State will head south to Flagstaff to take on Northern Arizona.

Final Thoughts and Hot Takes

– There is a definite three way race at the bottom of the Big Sky for worst team. I honestly can’t even pick who’s the worst, they all have their .. qualities.

– But at the top of the Big Sky it looks like it’s Eastern Washington and Montana.. everyone else is back in the pack.

– Big win for Northern Arizona in Bozeman this weekend, they needed a win just to try to right the ship. But on the other hand, bad loss in Bozeman this weekend for the Bobcats. Should have been a game they capitalized on.

– Northern Colorado put up a fight in Cheney this weekend for a while. The Bears might be improving.

– Gage Gabrud is piling up a lot of big numbers this season. Dangerous through the air and on the ground. Hard to think what’ll happen when Cooper Kupp really gets going again. Gabrud, in my opinion, is the leader in the clubhouse for Big Sky offensive player of the year right now.

– Montana did some baaaaad thing to Mississippi Valley State this weekend. A very outmatched MVSU team, sure, but that was a pretty healthy beating. Not sure I’ve ever seen a worse team in Washington-Grizzly Stadium in the 12 years I’ve been attending games. There might be a couple.

The Trash Bag

Doing a mailbag seems almost trite at this point or even overdone, but I need a way to express opinions about a myriad of topics that I don’t have a place for in my traditional blog. Whether it be Clay Travis or Bill Simmons there are so many other places to get your mail bag action from. I’ll actually come up with a different name for it at a later point, at this point I settle for the Trash Bag. Basically everything in here is just well…garbage, refuse. You get the point.

Since I don’t get actual questions that would actually necessitate a mailbag, I am going to make up questions because well it’s fun. Maybe there becomes a point where there might be a pressing need for a bag  of mail to be answered.

Question: If Harambe was alive, what would his thoughts be on his stardom, the break up of Brad and Angelina, and the targeting rule?

First as we know Harambe is alive in spirit. In fact Harambe will accomplish more dead than if he were alive. Brady Gustafson believes this as he was donning a Harambe shirt prior to the Cal Poly game. Harambe isn’t a protector or a savior, judging by the loss at Cal Poly this is known to be true, but a guiding spirit to bring on the best (a moral guide if you will) in humanity.

As for the eventual breakup of Bragalina, Harambe recognizes that his own spiritual guide wasn’t enough to save their marriage. But frankly Harambe isn’t a marriage counselor. There are a lot of things that Harambe doesn’t play. Don’t ask him about the Syrian Crisis, where Allepo is, and how to fix the problems with the Bobcats.

I think Harambes response to the targeting penalty would be rather predictable. Judging intent by a third party without considering all the factors is absurd. The fact the NCAA has mandated that officials call the penalty on the field, rather than have conference officials levy the penalty after the fact is absurd. Harambe would definitely sympathize with Justin Strong this week. Harambes advice is don’t judge a book by its cover.

Question: What is the realest fake rivalry in sports?

Jeff Choate’s fake rivalry with the press is pretty good one. In fact the sheer rapidity that Choate played the bunker mentality, us v. Them card is stunning. The lack of context or developing narrative made his media speech odd theatre to watch. Coaches are already a paranoid lot, but Choate’s response appears to be more tin foil hat than he would probably like but it might be an look into the mind of Choate. Reminds me a bit of Oklahoma States Jeff Gundy’s “I’m a man” speech.

I fully expected the Dennis Green “They are who we thought they were” speech after the Sacramento State loss. Choate knows the Bobcats issues are going to take more than a speech to fix, but players do know that Choate has their back. Maybe that was his purpose. He doesn’t pull punches in player evaluations, but he’d rather do it behind close doors than in the paper. He has a track record of being a players coach at his several coaching stops over the years. So while the response seems odd about the offense, it seems more appropriate when you start to understand how Choate works.

Question: Is Rod Spear delusional or an evil genius?

Evil genius. If you aren’t familiar, Spear is the athletic director at Idaho. There are parts of the Vandal football experience that play out more as a delusions of grandeur even after a decade adrift in football purgatory.

After a decade in southern Idaho, there are many Vandal fans that have a very real assessment and understanding of Vanadal football. Yet there is a vocal minority that can’t get the chip off their shoulder. A person would think nearly a two decades of putrid football would remove any said presence as to where Vandal football should be.

Spear I think is trying to play both sides of the street. There is a hope and one that had been bantered around in circles for a few years now about the prospect of a super big sky group separating and creating its own FBS conference. From a Montana perspective, this is a logical outcome of hoarding all the FCS schools in the west in the Big Sky, but from a Vandal perspective it really reeks of desperation.

A move down, only to move back up? Is it to reset the Vandal football perspective at a more real and rational level? Maybe. Idaho by any move back up (maybe 2025 to be safe) would effectively remove it from Boise States rather large shadow. Maybe that is the point.

Doesn’t remove the structural problems that Moscow faces and rather doubles down on their delusion on being a FBS caliber program and taking their rightful place among their peers (BSU, USU, CSU, Nevada, FSU). That doesn’t make them a good conference member if they aren’t going to commit to long term to the Big Sky. Not sure what forced the Lewiston paper to go down the road of exposing Spear’s plan. But it does create for some uncomfortable conversations in a few athletic departments. I think the UM is one. The move up conversation is one that if I were in the athletic department in Missoula would be tired of having.

There is no satisfying either camp, as Idaho is proving at this moment, because there is no middle ground. This is no different than a Clinton supporter trying to talk sense into a Trump supporter. While great fodder for message boards, this is a conversation that causes more undue stress for Haslam, Spear and so forth.

Idaho helps the Big Sky in reality more than the Big Sky helps Idaho perceptively.  They are an above class athletic institution than the vast majority of Big Sky conference programs. You just can’t remove the feeling from some Idaho fans that they are slumming.

So Spear by pushing an FBS agenda to the upper levels of the Big Sky helps Idaho more  than it has the best interest of the conference in mind. It helps him stave off the wolves at the door and push Idaho into a more stable geographic alignment.

Question: If you haven’t played the game, does it make you a pedestrian fan?

Maybe only Haramabe truly knows the answer that question. My impression that it is a penis measuring contest with the person in the mirror.

Question: Is Brady Gustafson elite?

If we can’t settle the answer on Eli Manning or Joe Flacco, how can we begin to debate Gustafson’s elite-ness. Moreover, I might be too pedestrian to answer that question.

I do know that any quarterback that Beau Baldwin finds, including a 40 year old in the crowd would be elite.

I also know that Reese Phillips joins Makena Simis, Jon Edwards, Brandon Neill, and a bevy of other Montana reserve quarterbacks as ‘elite.’

Question: Is MVSU the worst team to play in Washington-Grizzly stadium ever?

I don’t think it matters. Sort of like asking if Joe Flacco is elite. Hard not to overlook teams like MVSU and it it might not matter anyway.

Good message board fodder. I’d personally be careful of having preconceived notions as to how games like this should go on Saturday. MVSU is bound to play better than their stats suggest, and any deviation from the norm only seeks to create more ulcers for the dedicated Grizs fan whose desire is to keep it real.

The game is successful if coaches are capable of getting to their way points as a result of the game. Point margin is irrelevant as is total yardage. If the team takes this as any other game, rather than a body bag game, the game is a success and positives can be garnered.

Finally, the pedestrian observation of the week or conversely evidence that I didn’t play the game:

I get a lot of parents and community members every year engaging in conversations about playing time, coaching philosophy. Mostly unsolicited. Heard a lot of it again surrounding the criticism of Stitt’s offense and secondarily Choate’s terse response to about his offense.

Coaches at least perspectively don’t take criticism from outside sources very well. There are reasons why that frustration exists.

A friend of mine told me this recently. He was at church and sitting in the pew and had a fellow parishioner drop off in his lap a dozen or so hand drawn plays, with the note “These plays will help you win a couple more games and save your job.”

Coaches get hate mail all the times. Really some awful stuff about their families and so forth. Invariably coaches will get a for sale sign put in their front yard. Some of it is done in jest, not all of it though. I am really surprised that a coach hasn’t snapped and went postal on someone. Takes an incredible amount of restraint no to.

My advice, don’t engage coaches about personnel and X’s and O’s. First it is offensive and secondarily you are just asking for trouble.

Thanks for reading and have a great weekend.

GF24

 

Big Sky Round-Up: Week 5

Big Sky

The Big Sky Conference week five football season is over, and if you’re a Montana State fan you’re probably looking forward to week six… because it couldn’t possibly get any worse, right? The Bobcats had a 38-21 lead heading into the fourth quarter and inexplicably let Sacramento State score 20 straight points to win the game by three. That’s just not a loss you can take, and a poor defensive, as well as offensive effort by the Bobcats. Sacramento State is a pretty poor team and if you’re wanting to turn a program around that can’t be one you take on the chin. But congrats to Sacramento State, there’s not going to be a goose egg in the win loss column this year!

In one of the Big Sky match-ups of the week Southern Utah traveled north to Montana to take on the Grizzlies. Right out of the gate Southern Utah was in trouble and the Griz never looked back. Montana racked up over 600 yards of offense to take down the Thunderbirds 43-20. Brady Gustafson accounted for 415 yards and four touchdowns to lead the Griz. Southern Utah did some good things with the ball when they had it, but couldn’t translate those possessions into points against a ferocious Montana defense.

The other match-up of the week, North Dakota at Cal Poly nearly lived up to its hype. North Dakota stole the win 31-24 on their home turf. Cal Poly looked like a team that had a shot to finish at the top of the conference, but ran into a pretty stiff North Dakota defense. The Mustangs, one of the top rushing teams in the country, were held to 202 yards rushing. Joe Protheroe did not accumulate any stats due to an injury. North Dakota will keep their post season hopes alive with that important win.

Scores

Cal Poly 24
North Dakota 31

Northern Arizona 18
Northern Colorado 21

UC Davis 30
Eastern Washington 63

Idaho State 20
Portland State 45

Southern Utah 20
Montana 43

Montana State 38
Sacramento State 41

Big Sky Player of the Week

Cooper Kupp of Eastern Washington is this week’s player of the week. Kupp made his presence known that he was ready to resume his reign atop the Big Sky’s receivers. He caught 12 balls for 274 yards and two touchdowns in the Eagles’ victory over UC-Davis.

Big Sky MVP Candidates

Gage Gabrud, QB, Eastern Washington. 33/46 for 486 yards, six touchdowns. 39 yards rushing, one touchdown.
Cooper Kupp, WR, Eastern Washington. 12 receptions for 274 yards and two touchdowns.
John Santiago, RB, North Dakota. Did not play.
Case Cookus, QB, Northern Arizona. Did not play.
Emmanuel Butler, WR, Northern Arizona. 8 receptions for 58 yards.
Joe Protheroe, RB, Cal Poly. Did not play.

Big Sky Power Rankings

1. Eastern Washington
2. Montana
3. North Dakota
4. Cal Poly
5. Southern Utah
6. Weber State
7. Northern Colorado
8. Portland State
9. Montana State
10. Northern Arizona
11. Idaho State
12. UC-Davis
13. Sacramento State

Looking Ahead to Week 6

In the first game of the week the red hot (?) Northern Colorado Bears will travel to Cheney to take on Eastern Washington on the red carpet. Mississippi Valley State will make the cross-country trek to Missoula to take on Montana. Northern Arizona will limp into Bozeman to take on Montana State. UC Davis will be at Southern Utah. Portland State heads east to take on Weber State in what should be a fine matchup. North Dakota will travel halfway across the country to take on Sacramento State.

Final Thoughts and Hot Takes

Montana State laid a huge egg last week. That was a game they had to win on the road and they totally blew it in the fourth quarter. Unacceptable loss if you’re the Bobcats.

Sacramento State isn’t the worst team in FCS, but they’re pretty bad. Got away with one over the Cats. Judging by their schedule there may not be any wins left.

Northern Colorado is 3-1. That’s not a typo, they have actually won three games this season. They just defeated the preseason Big Sky champion. I guess that’s why we decide games on the field.

Meanwhile, without Case Cookus and Emmanuel Butler that NAU team looked pretty bad. It doesn’t look like Cookus will be back this week either. Could be another long week for the Jacks.

Surprised North Dakota took down Cal Poly. Poly looked like a pretty legit team, and really, should have been undefeated heading into Grand Forks. The Fighting Hawks took care of business to keep their post season alive.

UC-Davis might be 1-4, but they sure have put up a fight this year. Hasn’t quite translated to wins and losses, but they’re not a pushover.