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This Week In The Big Sky

October 14, 2000

Idaho State (4-1, 3-1) at Portland State (5-0, 2-0)

Idaho State, with consecutive victories over Northridge and Northern Arizona, is off to its best start since 1995 and suddenly a contender. An upset of Portland State, ranked No. 2 in Division I-AA, is a tall order. The Vikings are rolling behind running back Charles Dunn and quarterback Jimmy Blanchard, who figured heavily in a 52-13 victory last season at Idaho State. Dunn rushed for a school-record 324 yards against Hofstra and was selected Big Sky offensive player of the week. Dunn, from Pasadena Muir High, has 736 yards in his last three games and leads the conference with 1,049 yards. He also leads the conference in scoring. Blanchard leads the Big Sky in passing efficiency (158.9) and has thrown nine touchdown passes. Nick Whitworth of Idaho State ranks sixth in the Big Sky in rushing with 420 yards and four touchdowns. Idaho State holds an 18-6-1 series edge.

Weber State (3-3, 2-2) at Northern Arizona (2-3, 1-2)

Both teams need a victory to remain in the title chase. Both have played inconsistently. Weber State has not won two consecutive games this season and Northern Arizona has lost three in a row. The Lumberjacks rallied for a 36-19 victory last season at Weber State, scoring three touchdowns in the final five minutes. Preston Parsons of Northern Arizona ranks third in the Big Sky with 1,364 yards passing. Marcus King is third in rushing with 712 yards. Jordan Miller of Weber State has become the Wildcats' offensive threat since an ankle injury to Johnnie Gray two weeks ago. Miller rushed for 176 yards against Northridge last week.

Montana State (0-5, 0-2) at CS Sacramento (3-3, 1-3)

This game features two teams struggling to end second-half slumps. Sacramento has been outscored, 104-66, in the second half, blowing third-quarter leads against Portland State and Montana. Montana State has been outscored, 71-14. Charles Roberts of Sacramento is second in the Big Sky with 977 yards rushing. He had 277 yards in a 41-0 victory over the Bobcats last season.

Eastern Washington (4-2) at Boise State (3-2)

Eastern Washington plays its second I-A opponent that played in a bowl game last season. The Eagles lost to Oregon State, 21-19, in their opener. Boise State defeated Eastern Washington, 41-7, last season and leads the series, 12-6. Defensive back Alvin Tolliver was selected Big Sky defensive player of the week after a dominating performance against Montana State. Tolliver had 18 tackles, his third pass interception of the season and returned a blocked field-goal attempt 67 yards for a touchdown. Eastern Washington is ranked No. 20. Boise State defeated Louisville in the Humanitarian Bowl last season.

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