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Stan Becton | NCAA.com | October 6, 2022

FCS game of the week: No. 7 Weber State hosts No. 21 Eastern Washington in Big Sky clash

Cooper Kupp’s top FCS playoff highlights at Eastern Washington

Week 6 features three ranked vs. ranked FCS top 25 matchups, but a battle between two Big Sky Conference powers takes center stage when No. 21 Eastern Washington heads to Ogden, Utah, to take on No. 7 Weber State in this week's FCS game of the week.

The Eagles and Wildcats get the game of the week nod because of the intriguing storylines stemming from this Week 6 matchup. Find out more below.

RANKINGS: See the latest FCS Coaches Poll

Week 6 FCS game of the week

No. 21 Eastern Washington at No. 7 Weber State | Saturday, Oct. 8 | 8 p.m. ET | ESPN+

Here are 10 anecdotes about Week 6's game of the week:

  1. Eastern Washington enters the game coming off a short week thanks to a Sunday game against Florida that was moved because of Hurricane Ian.
  2. Eastern Washington enters with a 1-3 record on a three-game losing streak. The Eagles have not lost four games in a row since 2011.
  3. Eastern Washington has played the third-hardest schedule according to the Massey ratings.
  4. Eastern Washington holds a 19-17 all-time series lead.
  5. Weber State has defeated Eastern Washington in the last three matchups.
  6. Weber State has the longest win streak in the FCS at six games.
  7. The Wildcats have a 4-0 start for the first time since 1998.
  8. Weber State hosts Eastern Washington for homecoming.
  9. Weber State is 5-1 in its last six homecoming games and 27-31 all-time.
  10. In Color Rush fashion, Weber State will be wearing all purple uniforms and Eastern Washington will be wearing all red uniforms.

QUARTERBACKS: See Week 6's top 10 FCS quarterback rankings

Analyzing the teams

EWU

Eastern Washington might be 1-3, but it has played two FBS games. Against FCS opponents, Eastern Washington's offense averages 35.5 points per game, with quarterback Gunner Talkington averaging four touchdowns per game. Talkington enters the game as a top-10 quarterback in the FCS and has already led multiple comeback fourth-quarter drives, including a game-winning drive to open the season. While Talkington leads the offense through the air, running back Micah Smith has emerged as a threat on the ground averaging 5.3 yards per carry. With the FBS games against Pac-12 and SEC opponents behind it, Eastern Washington's offense will try to return to its explosive ways against Weber State.

QB-WR: The top 5 quarterback-wide receiver duos in FCS football, so far

Eastern Washington's defense has struggled this year, allowing the second-most points in the entire FCS — a statistic that remains in the bottom half nationally if looking at just FCS opponents. Eastern Washington has faced four quarterbacks with the ability to run and extend plays outside of the pocket and the Eagles have notably struggled. While it won't face a quarterback with as gaudy rushing stats this week, Eastern Washington's defense still needs to step up if it wants to end its losing streak.

UPSETS: See every FCS-over-FBS win 

Weber State Football

So far this season, Weber State's offense has gotten out to a blazing fast start, outscoring opponents 55-19 in the first quarter. Another fast start may be in the works with quarterback Bronson Barron at the helm. Barron got married during Weber State's bye week and could bring newly-wed energy to the Big Sky's second-leading offense. A big day from Barron would likely mean a big day from top receiving target Ty MacPherson who sits eighth in the FCS with five receiving touchdowns.

If the passing game stalls, expect the Wildcats to feel comfortable handing the ball off to running back Josh Davis, fresh off of his 13th career 100-yard game. Weber State is 13-0 in games where Davis rushes for 100 yards, a good sign if the rushing game gets rolling. Davis is only 123 rushing yards away from moving into second all-time in Wildcat history, adding motivation to this week's game.

When it comes to scoring points, Weber State's offense also has the luxury of kicker Kyle Thompson. Thompson recently was named to the Fred Mitchell watchlist after leading the nation with eight made field goals after four games while also converting 15 of 15 extra point attempts. Thompson's ability to score gives Weber State another option when it gets into the red zone.

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Defensively, Weber State is one of the best teams in the FCS. The Wildcats lead the country in interceptions — the only team to snag 10 so far — with standout cornerback Maxwell Anderson leading the FCS with four interceptions. Weber State is one of three teams that haven't allowed a rushing touchdown in 2022, thanks to the FCS's seventh-best rush defense that features tackling machines like Winston Reid and Desmond Williams. Throw in the second-best scoring defense in the country at 9.5 points per game and you have all the makings of an elite defense.

Yet, what's most impressive about Weber State's defense is that the Wildcats step up when it matters most. Weber State hasn't allowed any fourth quarter points and ranks second nationally in third down and red zone defense. Elite.

MOVEMENT: Making sense of FCS conference realignment

Weber State and Eastern Washington both entered the year with playoff expectations, but are heading in opposite directions after the first month of the season. October brings conference play, and these Big Sky foes have plenty of season ahead where things can change. Look for Week 6's FCS game of the week to provide an early look at the conference title race.

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