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This Week in the Big Sky Conference

September 06, 1997

Today

St. Cloud (Minn.) State (0-0)

at Northern Arizona (0-1)

Coming off a 33-10 loss at New Mexico, the Lumberjacks surely can't wait to torment Division II St. Cloud, a team that was 5-6 last season and doesn't seem much improved. Northern Arizona, one of the favorites to challenge for the Big Sky Conference title, played New Mexico close until the Lobos pulled away with 21 points in the fourth quarter.

Idaho State (0-0)

at Utah State (1-0)

Idaho State, coached by former L.A. Raider assistant Tom Walsh, has 42 new players, replacing most of the crew that last year finished 4-7. Senior Craig Joseph, the Big Sky's top returning rusher with 820 yards, and senior linebacker Telly Lockette lead Idaho State. Utah State last Saturday dumped Utah, 21-14. Matt Sauk completed 19 of 30 attempts for 212 yards to lead the Aggies. Utah State is 11-1 against Idaho State.

Portland State (0-1)

at Idaho (0-1)

Both teams last week lost to Western Athletic Conference foes; Portland State to Fresno State, 35-7, and Idaho to Air Force, 14-10. Portland State is 1-10 against the Vandals, who are in their second Big West season and who were a Big Sky power in the late 1980s and early '90s. This is Portland State's second year in the Big Sky. The Vikings allowed 419 yards to Fresno State, were penalized 13 times for 106 yards and scored on a fumble recovery in the end zone in the fourth quarter. Former Moorpark College running back Gary Clemons carried six times for 33 yards for the Vikings.

Rocky Mountain College (0-0)

at Eastern Washington (0-0)

How's this for a soft nonconference schedule: Eastern Washington's first two games are at home against the Bears and Eastern Oregon, two NAIA schools. Eastern Washington was ranked 13th in one preseason Division I-AA national poll. Linebacker Derek Strey and free safety Maurice Perigo lead the Eagles, who last year finished 6-5 and lost three games by a combined nine points.

Western (Colo.) State (0-0)

at Weber State (0-0)

Weber State last season defeated the Division II Mountaineers, 36-3, holding them to 169 yards. Weber State's proven weapons are Cam Quayle and Scott Shields. Quayle, a 6-foot-7 senior, last year led I-AA tight ends with 62 receptions, 658 yards and seven touchdowns. Shields made 18 of 24 field-goal attempts, led the Big Sky in punting with a 40.4-yard average and was second in I-AA with 10 interceptions as a free safety.

In a game played Thursday:

Southwest Texas State 24,

Sacramento State 14

In its opener, Sacramento didn't score until late in the third quarter, on a 19-yard pass from A.J. Bernhardt to Lamont Webb. The Hornets' other touchdown came with 1:10 left, on a 27-yard pass from Bernhardt to Jason Soilsn. Southwest Texas (1-0), playing before a capacity home crowd, gained 331 yards and got two touchdown passes from David Williams.

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