Eastern Washington beat writer Ryan Collingwood predicts Week 6 games in the Big Sky Conference. He went 2-5 last week and has an overall record of 43-8.
No. 12 UC Davis (2-3, 0-1) at North Dakota (2-2): After back-to-back losses to No. 1 NDSU and a resurgent, eighth-ranked Montana team, the Aggies need to stop the bleeding. Fortunately for them, it faces a UND team with an anemic offense that won’t be able to trade touchdowns with Jake Maier and Co. UC Davis 40, UND 24
Idaho State (2-2, 1-0) at No. 8 Montana (4-1, 1-0): The Griz are back. Between a Dante Olsen-led defense that’s given its FCS foes fits - holding UC Davis to 20 in Davis is no easy task - and the progession of quarterback Dalton Sneed, this group is going to be tough to stop, especially at Washington-Grizzly Stadium. Montana 31, Idaho State 17
No. 4 Weber State (2-2, 0-0) at Idaho (2-3, 0-1): Remember when we thought Idaho might pivot into a decent Big Sky team after beating EWU, then faceplanted at downtrodden Northern Colorado? Rough. Now the Vandals have to lock up with a Weber State team that may have the best defense in the country. Weber State 28, Idaho 10
Southern Utah (1-4, 0-1) at Portland State (2-3, 0-1): The Vikings fell into a buzzsaw at Idaho State last week, yielding 14 points in the game’s first 56 seconds. It all went downhill from there. That won’t happen in the Rose City, especially to a swooning SUU program that hasn’t won a road game since Nov. 11, 2017. Portland State 42, SUU 38
Northern Colorado (1-4, 1-0) at Northern Arizona (2-3, 0-1): If NAU wants to earn at least an at-large berth into the FCS playoffs in talented quarterback Case Cookus’ senior year, it will likely need to win out. The Lumberjacks had No. 6 Montana State on the ropes in Bozeman before Bobcats’ epic fourth qaurter. They also gave No. 10 Illinois Sate trouble on the road before the Redhawks pulled away. This should serve as a relative breather for NAU, even against a UNC team coming off a win over Idaho. NAU 44, UNC 28
No. 6 Montana State (4-1, 1-0) at Cal Poly (2-2, 1-0): The Bobcats flexed their depth stout running game (average 275 yards on the ground) in its win over NAU last week, scoring 28 points in the fourth quarter. Cal Poly’s defense still can’t stop a cold (allows 478 yards per game), but it’s triple-option offense can make games against more talented teams pretty ugly, especially at home. Montana State 34, Cal Poly 14
No. 22 Eastern Washington (2-3, 1-0) at Sacramento State (2-2, 0-0): As improved and dynamic as Sacramento State’s offense and defense appears to be under former EWU assistant Troy Taylor, these are ideal elements for EWU. Tonight’s 6 p.m. kickoff temperature is forecast for 80 degrees, ideal for a more pass-centric quarterback Eric Barriere, the league’s leading rusher, Antoine Custer, and an Eagles offense in a position to truly flex its balance. This could be the sort of shootout we saw in Jacksonville State last month, depending on tempo. EWU has yet to play well for all four quarters on either side of the ball. This could be it, and a road win over a talented Hornets team would help assure EWU’s contingent that the Eagles’ 1-3 start were growing pains. EWU 38, Sacramento State 31
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