November is shaping up to be a big month in the Big Sky Conference. League leader Weber State will face off with Montana, and a week later the Griz will face Montana State. For those three teams the conference will more than likely be decided in those two weeks. Provided I’m reading the tea leaves correctly.
This week the top three kept separating themselves from everyone else in the Big Sky. Montana thoroughly dominated an Idaho State team that came to Missoula bubbling with confidence. And for one quarter the Bengals cup runneth over, but after that the Griz went on a 59-3 run to close the game. Dalton Sneed accounted for nearly 470 yards in total offense to lead the Griz on that rampage. Over on the west coast Montana State survived an overtime contest against a salty Cal Poly team. And up in the Northern Rockies Weber State got themselves into a dog fight with Idaho to survive. Idaho put a scare into the Wildcats late in the game as Nick Romano took a kick 97 yards to the house to put the Vandals in position to possibly win the game.
In other Big Sky action UC Davis continued their free-fall in the standings by losing to North Dakota. Davis held a late lead after being down by 14 at multiple points in the game. Jake Maier connected with Wesley Preece on a two yard pass, and converted a two point conversion to take the lead. However, North Dakota would launch a 46 yard field goal in the final minute to win. Sacramento State quarterback Kevin Thomson took over and accounted for five touchdowns as the Hornets beat Eastern Washington rather handily. Northern Arizona had a 24 point third quarter to asset their dominance over Northern Colorado. Case Cookus had a five touchdown, 406 yard effort to lead the charge for the Lumberjacks. Portland State put up a 50-burger on Southern Utah.
Coming up this week North Dakota will travel to Pocatello to take on Idaho State. Sacramento State will go on the road to take on Montana State. Northern Colorado will travel to Cheney to take on Eastern Washington in the Big Sky pillow fight of the week. Idaho will go to Portland State. Cal Poly will make the short trip to take on UC Davis. In the night cap Weber State will host Southern Utah for Beehive State supremacy.
UC Davis 36
North Dakota 38
Idaho State 20
Weber State 41
Southern Utah 31
Portland State 52
Northern Colorado 23
Northern Arizona 41
Montana State 34
Cal Poly 28
Eastern Washington 27
Sacramento State 48
Big Sky Player of the Week
This week’s Big Sky Player of the Week is Montana quarterback Dalton Sneed. Sneed was 26/41 for 397 yards and two touchdowns, and rushed for 67 yards and two touchdowns as Montana defeated Idaho State over the weekend.
Big Sky MVP Candidates
Dalton Sneed, QB, Montana
Jake Meier, QB, UC Davis
Case Cookus, QB, Northern Arizona
Ulonzo Gilliam, RB, UC Davis
Jeff Cotton, WR, Idaho
Big Sky Power Rankings
The Quad Shot
I think we can put the done chain (borrowing that from Pardon my Take) on Eastern Washington and UC Davis. They are definitely not going to make the playoffs, but holy cow, will they even finish in the top half of the league? For two teams that started the season in the top 5 and getting even first place votes, how have they fallen out of the playoffs by week six? Eastern is transitioning quarterbacks, I get it. But they’ve been pretty plug and play at that position for quite a few years, now all of a sudden they have a power outage. And UC Davis, the weapons are there. Maybe terrible coaching follows Dan Hawkins?
Montana’s surge to start this season definitely surprised me. I didn’t expect the Griz to be this good on offense. So far the Griz are now seventh in scoring offense at 41 PPG, fifth in total offense at 496 yards per game, 32nd in turnover margin at +3, and ninth in 3rd down conversions. Dalton Sneed is the runaway offensive MVP in the Big Sky right now and there’s no one even close to him. Case Cookus could maybe make a case of the Lumberjacks were good. The Griz will get a test against Sacramento State in a few weeks, and after that they’re skating free until Weber State in mid-November.
Montana State eeked out an overtime win against Cal Poly on Saturday night. Was catching that game at a local watering hole wondering how the Bobcats are now this far into the season and are getting by without a quarterback. Not sure Jeff Choate has recruited a quarterback in his tenure in Bozeman. I know why the Bobcats are doing this, but I just can’t fathom not having the ball in Troy Anderson’s hands. He might be one of the best athletes in the entire Big Sky Conference and he’s hitting people on defense. Think he’d get tired playing both ways? Just a thought when things go south in Bozeman.
Stealing this from my Mountain West blog, but if you’re reading this particular blog you’re more than likely a die-hard college football fan. We all have places we want to see football games. If you’re going to pick five places to see a college football game, what is your bucket list? How many of that bucket list have you knocked off? For me it’s The Swamp at Florida, Death Valley at LSU, Michie Stadium at Army, Harvard/Yale in the Yale Bowl (though, wouldn’t complain about seeing it at Harvard either), and just because I want to tailgate with these people a game at Kidd Brewer Stadium at Appalachian State. If I happen to go to Boone for a game, send a rescue team, I’ll need it.