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Big Sky picks: Eastern Washington-Weber State could be a battle of defenses

UPDATED: Sat., Oct. 13, 2018, 9:41 a.m.

Eastern Washington running back Antoine Custer Jr. (28) shakes off Weber State linebacker Landon Stice (45) during a run play in the second half of a college football game, Sat. Nov. 4, 2017, in Cheney Wash. Colin Mulvany/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)
Eastern Washington running back Antoine Custer Jr. (28) shakes off Weber State linebacker Landon Stice (45) during a run play in the second half of a college football game, Sat. Nov. 4, 2017, in Cheney Wash. Colin Mulvany/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)

No. 4 Eastern Washington (5-1) at No. 13 Weber State (3-2)

Even if defensive-minded Weber State can slow down the country’s third-most productive offense, the Wildcats have the chore of trying to score against a stingy EWU unit that’s surrendered an average of 18 points in its five wins.

Tall task. Weber State’s struggling offense averages a meager 244 yards a game.

Eric Barriere or Gage Gubrud at QB (likely the former, in this reporter’s opinion), if the Eagles take care of the football — not easy, as Weber has already forced 18 turnovers — they’ll spoil the Wildcats’ homecoming.

The pick: EWU 34, Weber State 20

Idaho State (4-1) at No. 14 UC Davis (4-1)

ISU’s Tanner Gueller and Davis’ Jake Maier can sling it with the best of them, leading their respective, explosive offenses that rank in the top 15. Winner of this game proves its legitimacy as a Big Sky contender. Hard to pick against Dan Hawkins’ club at home, though.

The pick: UC Davis 35, Idaho State 28.

No. 22 Montana (4-2) at North Dakota (3-2)

North Dakota has had two weeks to prepare for the Griz, who make the trek to Grand Forks after getting beat by a Portland State team that won its first Division I game in two years. The Hauck mojo appears to be wearing off.

The pick: North Dakota 34, Montana 30

Idaho (2-4) at Montana State (3-2)

It snowed hard in Bozeman today, so expect both run-heavy teams to keep doing what what they’re doing. Idaho has a chance in these conditions, but Troy Andersen and the Bobcats are a little more dynamic on offense than the Vandals, who’ve struggled against the league’s tougher defenes.

The pick: Montana State 24, Idaho 17

Northern Colorado (0-6) at Portland State (2-4)

Things have gone from bad to worse for Northern Colorado, which has already guaranteed itself a losing season. Portland State, which typically shares the Big Sky cellar with the Bears, is riding high after a monumental upset at Montana last week. The Vikings have been impressive defensively, allowing 20 points in their last two outings at Idaho and Montana.

The pick: Portland State 24, Northern Colorado 21.

Sac. State (2-3) at Southern Utah (0-5, 0-2)

Southern Utah has big problems. Not only is former starting QB Chris Helbig — a player who led the team in total yards for a month — applying for a medical redshirt, its defense ranks dead last in the FCS (590 yards allowed per game). The Thunderbirds’ first home game since Sept. 1 is against an angry, well-coached Sacramento State club that was upset by Cal Poly last week.

The pick: Sac. State 44, Southern Utah 35

Bye week: Cal Poly, Norhern Arizona

Collingwood’s season record: 42-11

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