It is going to be a dogfight. I think it'll be a good challenge for both teams. Should be a fun game, a great contest. —Weber State head coach Jay Hill
At the rate things are going this season in the Big Sky Conference, 2017 may become known as the year of the Beehive State. A quick glance at the conference standings shows both No. 17/23 Southern Utah (6-2, 4-1) and No. 14/19 Weber State (6-2, 4-1) near the top of the standings, trailing only Northern Arizona (6-2, 5-0).
In order for either the T-birds or Wildcats to have a chance to claim the conference title, though, they must keep winning, and the games seem to grow more difficult by the week.
SUU took down Northern Colorado (2-5, 1-4) last weekend, 27-14, its fourth win in a row. That victory guaranteed the T-Birds a winning record, making this their third straight winning season.
Saturday, SUU hosts the North Dakota Fighting Hawks (3-6, 2-4), the preseason darlings of the Big Sky.
North Dakota was voted, by both the coaches and the media, as the favorites to win the Big Sky this season. Injuries have undermined the Fighting Hawks, but according to SUU coach Demario Warren they are still a dangerous team.
“They've still got those two backs (Brady Oliveira and John Santiago), they've still got their quarterback (Keaton Studsrud) and they've got some speed outside at wide receiver. Offensively they look really good," said Warren. "Defensively it looks like those young guys are really coming along and they're ready to make a late run like we did. They're starting to be the team that everybody thought they would be.”
Meanwhile, Weber State gets no reprieve after having defeated nationally-ranked Montana 41-27.
The Wildcats are on the road this weekend, at No. 11 Eastern Washington (5-3, 4-1).
“(Eastern Washington) is very well coached. I like the way they play,” said Weber State coach Jay Hill. “I like their quarterback (Gage Gubrud). He's a heck of a player, a competitor just like Stefan Cantwell. I think he makes everyone better with just how hard he competes.”
“It is going to be a dogfight,” Hill added. “I think it'll be a good challenge for both teams. Should be a fun game, a great contest.”
• • •
Wildcats on the air
No. 14/19 Weber State (6-2)
at No. 11 Eastern Washington (5-3)
Saturday, 1 p.m. MDT
Roos Field, Cheney, Washington
TV: SWX ( in Washington)
Radio: KLO 1430 AM
Online: Pluto TV 234/WatchBigSky.com
T-birds on the air
North Dakota (3-6)
at No. 17/23 Southern Utah (6-2)
Saturday, 6 p.m. MDT
Eccles Coliseum, Cedar City
Radio: KSUB 590 AM
Online: Pluto TV 236/WatchBigSky.com