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This Week In The Big Sky

November 04, 2000

Idaho State (4-4, 3-3) at Montana (7-1, 5-0)

A victory moves Montana closer to a fifth Big Sky Conference title in the last six years. Fresh off a big victory over Portland State, it appears the hardest part of the schedule is over for Montana. But Coach Joe Glenn considers this the toughest challenge of the conference schedule. "They are the surprise team of the league," Glenn said of Idaho State. "Coach [Larry] Lewis has done a great job of bringing the Bengals back into the conference picture." Montana, defending Big Sky champion, moved up to No. 3 in the Division I-AA rankings after beating Portland State, 33-21. Quarterback Drew Miller, who sprained a shoulder on Oct. 14 at Northridge, might play. Backup John Edwards led the Grizzlies to three victories with Miller out. Shane Griggs of Idaho State leads the Big Sky with 2,335 yards passing and 16 touchdown passes.

Portland State (6-2, 3-2) at Montana State (0-8, 0-5)

Montana State's losing streak has reached 14 games, the longest in school history. Coach Mike Kramer knows it will be hard to break it against the Vikings, led by quarterback Jimmy Blanchard and running back Charles Dunn. Blanchard has passed for 2,010 yards and 13 touchdowns. Dunn leads the Big Sky with 1,287 yards rushing. Among Montana State's woes is its kicking game. Nate Cook's 31-yard field goal in last week's 32-9 loss at Northern Arizona was the Bobcats' first of the season. "Our kicking game continues to be like dirty socks in the washing machine," Kramer said. "Round and round she goes, and every time it turns it stinks a little more."

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

Teams with strong running games meet in a battle of middle-of-the-pack teams. Eastern Washington has lost three in a row, including a 31-26 setback last week at Northridge. Jesse Chatman has rushed for 847 yards and six touchdowns. Marcus King of Northern Arizona has rushed for 1,052 yards and nine touchdowns.

Nonconference:

Western New Mexico (1-8) at Weber State (6-3)

With four consecutive victories, Weber State is assured of a winning season for the second time in Coach Jerry Graybeal's three seasons. The Wildcats, 5-2 in the Big Sky, have climbed to No. 20 in the I-AA rankings. If the Wildcats beat Montana next week, it should assure Weber State of a playoff appearance. Graybeal wants to make sure his team remembers to play this week. "We now have two games on our turf to end the year and we have our destiny in our hands," he said. "First off, we need to take care of business [today] and worry about Montana [afterward]."

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