MH 120217 Weber State Southern Utah 56-6

In this Dec. 2, 2017, photo, Weber State and Southern Utah University meet at the coin toss before an FCS Playoff second-round game in Cedar City.

For the second straight week, a Weber State football player was named as a conference player of the week.

Sophomore defensive end George Tarlas was named Big Sky Conference defensive player of the week for games played Oct. 5 after making crucial plays to help Weber State withstand Idaho in a 41-35 win.

Tarlas, starting for injured senior Adam Rodriguez, recorded six tackles and two pass breakups, as well as two sacks of Idaho quarterback Mason Petrino in which Tarlas forced fumbles by knocking the ball out of Petrino's hand before he could start his throwing motion.

One of those forced fumbles led directly to a WSU made field goal and the other stopped a drive when Idaho was rolling in the third quarter.

"George Tarlas is a great player. The dilemma is he's sitting behind an All-American in Adam Rodriguez," WSU head coach Jay Hill said after Saturday's win. "He's a phenomenal player and he's been a key contributor."

MORE SPECIAL TEAMS PROWESS

Following his punting display that earned him conference special teams player of the week two weeks ago, WSU punter Doug Lloyd reprised that by rushing twice for 41 yards and a touchdown in Saturday's win, including a 30-yard score on a fake field goal, rushing plays that were key in a six-point win.

Trey Tuttle was also key. The junior kicker made field goals from 52 and 45 yards; he's now 8 of 9 on the season with six of those makes coming from 40-plus yards.

'CATS PERCHED AT NO. 4

Weber State remained ranked No. 4 in this week's STATS FCS Top 25 in a week of competitive games for much of the top 10: No. 2 James Madison (over Stony Brook) and No. 6 Montana State (over Cal Poly) needed overtime to secure wins, while No. 5 Villanova and No. 10 Northern Iowa each won by seven points.

No. 1 North Dakota State continues to roll, beating Illinois State 37-3, and No. 8 Montana fell behind 17-0 to Idaho State before crushing the Bengals in a 59-20 decision.

WSU is ranked No. 5 in the FCS Coaches Poll. The Wildcats have been ranked in that poll since Nov. 21, 2016 — a run of 37 consecutive weeks.

MORE BIG SKY NOTES

Weber State's conference opener at Idaho represented the program's 30th game against a Big Sky opponent since the beginning of the 2016 season. The Wildcats are now 26-4 in those games.

Elsewhere around the Big Sky, Sacramento State beat up Eastern Washington 48-27. Sac State (3-2) was one overall point from entering the STATS poll at No. 25 while EWU (2-4), now 1-3 against FCS teams this season, plummeted out of the Top 25.

North Dakota (3-2) edged UC Davis (2-4) 38-36, the latter falling to No. 24 in the rankings.

According to Bill Connelly's SP+ rating, which uses advanced comparative statistics, both Sacramento State and Montana have top-five offenses in FCS while Weber State holds a top-five defense.

STATS & STUFF

Weber State leads the Big Sky in defensive pass efficiency, opponent first downs and turnovers. WSU is eighth nationally in turnover margin, having forced 11 turnovers and lost five through five games.

WSU welcomes Southern Utah to Ogden this week for Homecoming. While the road team has won the last five meetings in the series, Weber State is 20-3 in its last 23 home games. The Thunderbirds (1-5) lost 52-31 to Portland State last week.

Contact Brett Hein at bhein@standard.net. Follow him on Twitter @bhein3/@WeberHQ and at facebook.com/WeberStateSports.

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