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Big Sky picks: Eastern Washington better than Idaho, with or without Gubrud

UPDATED: Sat., Oct. 27, 2018, 8:46 a.m.

Eastern Washington's T.J. Lee III  gives University of Idaho's Jahrie Level a shove out of bounds on Idaho's best touchdown attempt in the first half Thursday Aug. 30, 2012. The pass to Level was ruled incomplete. (AP Photo/Lewiston Tribune Steve Hanks)  ORG XMIT: LEW102 (Steve Hanks / AP)
Eastern Washington's T.J. Lee III gives University of Idaho's Jahrie Level a shove out of bounds on Idaho's best touchdown attempt in the first half Thursday Aug. 30, 2012. The pass to Level was ruled incomplete. (AP Photo/Lewiston Tribune Steve Hanks) ORG XMIT: LEW102 (Steve Hanks / AP)

No. 4 Weber State (5-2) at No. 22 North Dakota (5-2)

Defense travels well, and Weber State may have the best unit in the country. UND’s isn’t too far behind. If Weber State wants to show it’s truly a top 5 team, though, t’s going to have to find ways to score in this type of environment.

This will be a defensive purist’s dream.

The pick: Weber State 17, North Dakota 14

No. 6 UC Davis (6-1) at Montana (4-3)

That Bobby Hauck mojo I was talking about in September? Yeah, UC Davis coach Dan Hawkins has it now. Montana is staring at its first three-game losing streak in a very long time. The Griz have had two weeks to prepare for quarterback Jake Maier and Co., but this UC Davis team is a too dynamic and seasoned for Montana to handle, even in Missoula.

The pick: UC Davis 35, Montana 21

Montana State (4-3) at Idaho State (4-3)

The Bobcats offense has struggled, forcing coach Jeff Choate to make changes to his staff this week. Not a good sign before traveling to a good Idaho State team that was nipped by UC Davis in overtime two weeks ago, before being edged at FBS Liberty. Tanner Gueller and the Bengals can score (the Bengals rank second in the country in offense), but they’ll get a good test here with Montana State’ physical, athletic defense.

The pick: Idaho State 40, Montana State 28

Northern Colorado (1-6) at Southern Utah (1-6)

The Bears ruined Northern Arizona’s season last week in Greeley in dominating fashion. Southern Utah, however, is down to its third-string QB. Couple that with the worst defense at the FCS level, and it’s pretty rough times in Cedar City.

The pick: UNC 44, SUU 35

Portland State (3-4) at Sacramento St. (2-5)

Sacramento State is swooning, and the injury to its veteran QB, Kevin Thomson, has made matters much worse. And now the Hornets face a Portland State defense that’s given up an average of 22 points in its last three Big Sky games.

The pick: Portland State 27, Sac. State 20

Cal Poly (2-5) at Northern Arizona (3-4)

Which NAU team will we see today? The one who beat Weber State or the one that got hammered by one of the worst teams in the league last week?

The Lumberjacks are a much better team in the Walkup Dome, though, and Poly has some serious problems of its own. Will this be the game Case Cookus returns for NAU!? (sarcasm).

The pick: NAU 31, Cal Poly 21

Idaho (3-4) at No. 5 Eastern Washington (5-2)

I don’t expect Gage Gubrud to play today unless Eric Barriere struggles. Either that or Gubrud starts. Who really knows? I would bet on the All-American being in pads, at least.

I don’t think Barriere will struggle like he did at Weber, though. Idaho can give him fits, but the Eagles, who have healed up nicely up front thanks to a bye week, can go back to its ground game if the passing windows aren’t opening. Idaho’s offense has struggled, too, and I’m not putting much stock in their 32 points against a very SUU defense last week. It won’t cut it against a EWU defense that’s allowing just 16 points a game on the red turf.

The pick: EWU 42, Idaho 24

Collingwood’s season record: 51-14

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