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This Week in the Big Sky

November 07, 1998

Montana State (6-2, 4-1) at Eastern Washington (4-4, 3-3)

The Bobcats, ranked No. 14 in both Division I-AA polls, sit atop the Big Sky Conference with a one-half game lead over three teams tied for second place but Eastern Washington presents one of two difficult challenges in the final three weeks. Montana State concludes the conference season at Montana on Nov. 21. Defending champion Eastern Washington won the last three games against Montana State at Cheney and is playing well after an 0-3 start. The Eagles can strike quickly thanks to Bashir Levingston, the most electrifying and dangerous kick returner in the conference. Levingston set five Division I-AA records and tied two in Eastern Washington's 31-25 victory at Cal State Sacramento last week, including a single-game record with 326 yards on kickoff returns. He scored on kickoff returns of 92, 90 and 84 yards. Levingston, a transfer from Utah State, was selected Big Sky special teams player of the week. Levingston has established or tied 33 NCAA I-AA, Big Sky Conference or school records. Senior Mike MacKenzie had 170 yards rushing and one touchdown last week. Montana State needed a two-yard run by quarterback Rob Compson with 15 seconds to play to defeat Northern Arizona, 32-25, at home last week. Linebacker Kevin Lundstrom was particularly busy for the Bobcats, making 16 tackles and one sack. He was selected Big Sky defensive player of the week.

Weber State (5-4, 3-3) at Northern Arizona (4-5, 1-5)

Weber State has nothing to play for but pride and a winning record after a crushing 26-10 loss to Cal State Northridge last week. The Wildcats won their first five games and then hit a wall, their Big Sky championship hopes crumbling. The Wildcats have had erratic passing and now their running game is sputtering. Morgan Welch, who has 1,371 yards rushing, was held to 61 yards by Northridge, his third consecutive game under 100. He needs eight yards to become the school's single-season rushing leader but the record has been a long time coming. Northern Arizona's story somewhat mirrors Weber State's. The Lumberjacks started 3-1 but are on a three-game losing streak. They lost a heartbreaker at Montana State, 32-25, last week, giving up a touchdown with 15 seconds to play. Freshman Marcus King had a career-high 142 yards in 25 carries in his second start with the Lumberjacks. Mike Goldstein kicked field goals of 47 and 53 yards, a career best.

Cal State Sacramento (4-5, 2-4) at Idaho State (2-6, 1-4)

The Hornets hold Idaho State close to their hearts. The Bengals were Sacramento's only Big Sky victim before this season, 23-19 last year. But Sacramento's last visit to Holt Arena wasn't pleasant, losing, 44-14, two years ago. The Hornets return with a formidable weapon, Charles Roberts, who rushed for 246 yards in Sacramento's 31-25 loss to Eastern Washington last week--his third consecutive 200-yard game. The 5-foot-6 sophomore needs 238 yards to break the Big Sky single-season record of 2,079 yards rushing set by Archie Amerson of Northern Arizona in 1996. Arnold Mickens of Butler owns the I-AA single-season record with 2,255 yards rushing in 1994. Roberts leads I-AA at 204.7 yards per game and has scored 17 touchdowns. Idaho State, worst defensive team in the conference, is in for a long night. The Bengals are allowing 248.3 yards rushing. Idaho State has lost four of five, including last week at Montana, 40-13.

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

Standings

*--*

Conf. Overall W L W L PF PA Montana State 4 1 6 2 237 160 Montana 4 2 6 3 271 226 Portland State 4 2 5 3 279 255 CS Northridge 4 2 5 3 230 172 Weber State 3 3 5 4 196 150 E. Washington 3 3 4 4 241 203 CS Sacramento 2 4 4 5 237 256 Idaho State 1 4 2 6 141 284 N. Arizona 1 5 4 5 198 197

*--*

Saturday games

CS Sacramento at Idaho State

Montana State at Eastern Washington

Portland State at CS Northridge

Weber State at Northern Arizona

Nov. 14

Eastern Washington at Weber State

Idaho State at Montana State

Montana at CS Sacramento

Northern Arizona at Portland State

* CS Northridge at SW Missouri State

*Nonconference

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