Big Sky Conference: Week 3 Review and Power Rankings

Week three of the Big Sky Conference football season is in the books and some teams got some needed wins this week to either save their season or help their season along. The biggest win of the week happened in Cheney Washington as the Eagles took down MVFC opponent Northern Iowa in a shootout. The Eagles scored the winning touchdown on a … very large onions call by Beau Baldwin. A fake field goal that would have tied the game turned into the game winning touchdown pass. Been a long time since I’ve seen a call that ballsy, gotta hand it to Baldwin there. Coaches are generally pretty conservative, especially in that situation, but man.

North Dakota got a big win against their border rival South Dakota this week. That win may have saved their season as they could not afford to fall into a 0-3 hole to start the season, especially as being picked as a dark horse in the Big Sky. Cal Poly got a very quality win against South Dakota State on the road this weekend. Good momentum heading into a big home game against Montana. Even though it may have been fairly insignificant, Northern Arizona took care of business against their division II opponent this weekend to notch a win in the win column.

The Big Sky suffered four play-up game losses this weekend, none of them were even remotely close. Average margin of victory in those four contests was 29 points. Granted, all four teams that were playing up this week are likely the bottom four teams in the Big Sky. Montana State also took care of business against their division II opponent for their second win of the season. All in all, not a bad weekend for the Big Sky.


UC-Davis 22
Wyoming 45

Portland State 3
Washington 41

Northern Colorado 21
Colorado State 47

Western Oregon 0
Montana State 55

Idaho State 7
Oregon State 37

New Mexico Highlands 3
Northern Arizona 73

Cal Poly 38
South Dakota State 31

Northern Iowa 30
Eastern Washington 34

Sacramento State 7
Weber State 14

Player of the Week

Joe Protheroe, running back at Cal Poly. Protheroe had 31 carries for 217 yards and two touchdowns in the Mustangs win over South Dakota State.

Big Sky MVP Candidates

Gage Gabrud, Eastern Washington. 13/26 for 114 yards, one touchdown, two interceptions.
Cooper Kupp, Eastern Washington. Did not accumulate any stats.
John Santiago, North Dakota. 22 carries for 140 yards and one touchdown.
Case Cookus, Northern Arizona. 14/25, 296 yards and seven touchdowns.
Emmanuel Butler, Northern Arizona. 6 receptions for 99 yards and five touchdowns.

Big Sky Power Rankings

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

Looking Ahead to Week 4

Three big match-ups in the Big Sky this week as conference play gets fully underway. Montana will travel to Cal Poly. Eastern Washington will travel to Flagstaff to take on Northern Arizona. Portland State will head to Utah to take on Southern Utah. In a game that someone has to win, but in the end, we’re all losers for maybe having watched it, Sacramento State will go to Idaho State. No one wins there, folks.

While this week certainly doesn’t have an immediate impact there could be some games this week that will help sort out auto-bids and playoff seeding. Explosive week of games on the docket.

Final Thoughts and Hot Takes

– Big win for Eastern Washington and the Big Sky. The Big Sky has a certain reputation against the MVFC that it might be a little soft. So far Montana and Eastern have taken down the likely number two team in the MVFC, and Eastern took the champions to overtime in Fargo.

– Expected Portland State to put up more of a fight against Washington this past weekend. Portland State was simply outclasses by a Washington team under Chris Peterson who is rolling right now.

– Honestly a little surprised that North Dakota beat South Dakota. Both teams played very well and the game went to double overtime. Keeton Stensrud’s touchdown in overtime was the winner, and a win that the Hawks needed.

– The Fighting Hawks is still a really dumb choice, and even worse logo.

– Cal Poly’s win at South Dakota State surprised me as well, kind of out of nowhere. South Dakota State may have been surprised by that triple option offense, and Joe Protheroe was a load to handle for the Jacks. We’ll find out this weekend if Cal Poly is for real or not.

– Weber State and Sacramento State made people regret spending money on watching that game.. just brutal. Not even sure it was good defense as Weber put up 580 yards and only 14 points to show for it.

– Weber quarterback Jadrian Clark was responsible for 451 of those yards, by the way.

Written by 

I'm a Wyoming native living in Missoula, Montana. I'm the owner of, a fan site for the Wyoming Cowboys. Now that I live in the heart of the Big Sky Conference I write about things that focus on those teams. I watch and read a lot of college football, probably more than is healthy. Hit me up on the Twitters @MrTitleist or @WyoNationDotCom Go Pokes, Go Griz!

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