PICKS FOR BIG SKY GAMES OCTOBER 13
$Montana at North Dakota — L
*Idaho at Montana State (ROOT)
*Eastern Washington at Weber State — L
*Sacramento State at Southern Utah
*Idaho State at UC Davis
*Northern Colorado at Portland State
SKYLINE SPORTS 2018 PICKS FOR PRESEASON POLLS
BIG SKY PLAY: 15-9
BIG SKY ROUNDUP
Redshirt freshman Josh Davis took Eastern Washington’s first punt of the day 75 yards for a touchdown, Jake Constantine hit Rashid Shaheed for a 38-yard touchdown midway through the first quarter and Weber State suffocated Eastern’s normally explosive offense to a crucial victory. Weber State moved 2-1 in league play, 4-2 overall, rebounding from last week’s 28-24 loss at Northern Arizona in the process. The win over Eastern marks the highest-ranked opponent Weber State has defeated since beating No. 3 Cal Poly in the 2008 FCS playoffs.
Eastern Washington entered the game ranked among the FCS leaders in points per game (45.6 ppg), total offense (570.6 yards per game) and rushing yards per game (287.4). Weber State allowed just 18 first downs to an EWU attack still without senior All-American quarterback Gage Gubrud. The Eagles rushed for just 62 yards on 36 carries, averaging 1.7 yards per rush. Eastern finished with 247 yards of total offense a week after totaling 648 yards in sophomore quarterback Eric Barriere’s first career start.
Keilan Benjamin, Noah Vaea, Adam Rodriguez and Kawika Tupuola all recorded sacks for the Wildcats. WSU also snared a pair of interceptions in the fourth quarter to boost its Big Sky-leading total to 20 takeaways. With Eastern Washington driving into Wildcat territory, Jawain Harrison picked off a pass in the end zone that stopped the Eagle drive. Landon Stice had an interception with 1:50 to play that sealed the win for the Wildcats. Harrison finished with nine tackles to lead the Wildcat defense and Benjamin added eight.
On offense, Constantine was 15 of 25 passing for 159 yards and one touchdown. Devon Cooley had five receptions for 46 yards, while Shaheed had three catches for 53 yards. Treshawn Garrett had 19 carries for 68 yards and moved into 10th in Weber State history in career rushing yards. Davis had 12 carries for 52 yards.
WSU hosts Montana State on Saturday at 4 p.m. at Stewart Stadium. The defending Big Sky champion Wildcats have now won 17 of their last 21 league contests.
In a game featuring two of the nation’s top scoring offenses, No. 14 UC Davis and Idaho State did not disappoint on Saturday night. Ulonzo Gilliam’s four-yard touchdown scamper in overtime provided the winning margin, lifting the Aggies to a Homecoming victory in front of the third sellout crowd in Aggie Stadium history.
Junior quarterback Jake Maier, who ended the night 40-of-51 for 382 yards, finished with a career-high five touchdown passes to five different receivers. Senior wide
receiver Keelan Doss caught 13 balls for 131 yards, recording his school-record 15th career 100-yard receiving performance. Doss’ touchdown with 69 seconds left in regulation cut the Idaho State lead too 37-35. Maier fired a strike to sophomore Jared Harrell in the back of the end-zone for the game-tying two-point conversion.
“We were confident, we were at home, and we had a great crowd behind us, and we had momentum,” said Maier regarding the first OT game for him and his teammates. “And we had a great plan because we practice plays in special situations all the time. We even ran various plays last spring for overtime situations, that hard work paid off today.
The Bengals, who were receiving votes in the latest national polls, fell to 4-2 overall and 3-1 in league play despite Mitch Gueller catching eight balls for 175 yards and James Madison finished with 147 yards on the ground on 33 carries. Gueller’s 28-yard grab was part of a 65-yard Idaho State drive to the Davis 10 to set up what would’ve been a game-winning field but Campbell Sheidow pushed the 27-yard attempt wide right, sending the Aggies to overtime for only the second time in the Division I era and the first since October 10, 2009, against South Dakota (a 24-23 victory).
Trailing by 15 points after Idaho State scored just 1:25 into the fourth quarter for a, 37-22, advantage, the Aggies roared back, using a 12-play drive that ended with a seven-yard touchdown shovel pass to Gilliam to make it an eight-point contest.
The two teams then traded three-and-outs as UC Davis began the game-tying drive at its own 23 with 3:37 remaining. Six straight completions by Maier marched the Aggies down the field — the longest of which a 20-yard strike to Doss to move inside the red zone — before Maier found Doss two plays later in the right corner of the end zone to make it a two-point contest.
“No matter who we played, our guys showed up, played hard and hung in there. I thought we showed some resiliency and battled to the very end,” UC Davis head coach Dan Hawkins said.
UC Davis won the toss and elected to go first in overtime, working the ball down to the four-yard line before Gilliam stretched around the left side and in for the go-ahead score.
Idaho State took over and was faced with a do-or-die fourth and three from the 18 as Tanner Gueller tried to hit his brother, Mitch, but Vincent White was there to break up the pass, ending the game and sending a jubilant Aggies squad streaming off the sidelines.
Sophomore sociology major Tehran Thomas scored from four yards out on a pass from Maier to open the game before the Bengals exploded for 23 unanswered points — capped by a 58-yard run by Ty Flanagan — to build a 23-7 lead.
Harrell’s 12-yard touchdown grab with 64 seconds remaining in the half made it a nine-point game at the break before the defenses stiffened on both sides. A 45-yard touchdown catch-and-run by freshman Justin Kraft answered a Bengal score to make it an eight-point contest, setting up the thrilling finish.
Gilliam finished with 20 carries for 99 yards on the ground, while Harrell added nine catches for 97 yards on the night. Tanner Gueller threw for 310 yards and three touchdowns a week after claiming FCS National and Big Sky Offensive Player of the Week by throwing for 492 yards and eight touchdowns in a 64-28 win over Idaho.
UC Davis plays at Cal Poly next week. Idaho State steps out of conference play to take on Liberty, a former FCS power in its first year as an FBS independent, in Lynchburg, Virginia.
In front of 10,424 fans, Southern Utah snapped a five-game losing streak by rolling up 259 yards and five touchdowns on the ground.
“I just want to thank Cedar City and Southern Utah,” SUU head coach Demario Warren said. “The crowd out there was amazing. We’ve struggled this year but the fans showed out, they were incredible today and really pulled us through this victory.”
The contest got off to an incredibly fast start, as the Hornets scored on their opening drive, and the Thunderbirds responded with a Judd Cockett kick return for a touchdown that quickly tied the contest up at 7-7. Unfortunately for the T-Birds, the Hornets added two more touchdowns before the end of the first quarter and held a 21-7 lead after 15 minutes despite senior quarterback Kevin Thomson being knocked out of the game.
The second quarter, however, was all SUU. Karris Davis scored back-to-back touchdowns on back-to-back drives for the Thunderbirds, which also were the first two of his career. He finished the game with 84 yards on the ground.
SUU capped off the second quarter with a trick play that resulted in Lance Lawson hitting Austin Ewing for a touchdown. After a Hornet field goal to end the quarter, the T-Birds held a 27-24 lead heading into the break
The T-Birds were the only offense to score in the third quarter, as Jay Green Jr. scored his first touchdown of the night and Austin Ewing snuck into the end zone on the ground to put SUU up 41-24 after three quarters of play.
The Hornets scored to start the fourth quarter, but the T-Birds quickly responded as Green Jr. scored his 19th career touchdown to put SUU up 48-27, which would ultimately be the final score. Green finished with 107 yards on 20 carries.
Aaron Zwahlen finished the game 22-of-31 through the air for 153 yards. Zwahlen, Lawson and Ty Rutledge all completed a pass for SUU on Saturday.
AJ Stanley led the team in tackles with seven. The T-Birds had eight tackles for loss, five pass breakups and four quarterback hurries.
The Thunderbirds plays at Idaho next week. Sac State (0-3 in league play, 2-4 overall) hosts North Dakota for homecoming on Saturday night.
Portland State played a near-perfect half of football as you Saturday afternoon in its first home game at Providence Park this season, carrying the momentum of last week’s walk-off win in Missoula with a homecoming victory that pushed Northern Colorado to 0-7.
After losing 17 straight Division I games, Portland State is now 2-2 in league play, 3-4 overall. The Bears are 0-4 in league, 0-7 overall.
A week after a monumental win against Montana, the Vikings carried all sorts of confidence and momentum into their own Homecoming game. The defense stifled Northern Colorado’s offense, the quarterbacks combined for four rushing touchdowns and the special teams made key plays to pin the Bears deep in their own territory all game long.
Davis Alexander scored the first three touchdowns of the game on his feet and finished the day with 72 yards rushing. The running attack from the Vikings led to the success all game long as Alexander attempted just nine passes and had 90 yards through the air.
Carlos Martin and Jalani Eason each ran for a touchdown while Sirgeo Hoffman and Darian Green combined for 94 yards on the ground. The rushing success translated to a perfect day in the red zone, with Portland State scoring a touchdown on all five trips inside the 20.
Northern Colorado out gained the Vikings by 85 yards in the game, but big plays by the Portland State defense made the difference in the blowout win. The Vikings forced three turnovers, all interceptions, and scored 14 points off of them.
“We had short fields the whole first half. But what I enjoyed is we weren’t kicking field goals, we were scoring touchdowns, and that makes life a little easier,” said Viking head coach Bruce Barnum.
Portland State also stopped Northern Colorado on three fourth-down attempts in Viking territory. The defensive line dominated all game long and recorded five sacks and nine tackles for loss. A pass-first team, Northern Colorado managed just 16 yards on 31 rushes.
Martin’s one-yard touchdown run put Portland State up 35-0 with six minutes left in the third quarter.
“It was fun on both sides of the ball,” said Barnum. “I got conservative, but when you are up that many scores, I’ll go conservative to get the “W”. I don’t need statistics. Good for this crew; offense, defense, special teams.”
In the fourth quarter, the passing attack finally produced a score for Northern Colorado. Regan found Alex Wesley for a 42-yard touchdown. They tacked on a late score for a 35-14 final.
Portland State has a bye next week. UNC does not have a bye until the final week of the season, instead looking to snap the nightmare losing streak against Northern Arizona in Greeley, Colorado next Saturday.
Photos attributed. Recaps courtesy of Big Sky athletic departments.