Fresh off a 39-12 Homecoming win over Idaho State last Saturday, the Weber State football team will be back home for another game this Saturday when the ‘Cats host in-state rival Southern Utah at 4:00 p.m. at Stewart Stadium. Weber State (3-3) will step out of conference play this week to face the Thunderbirds (3-4) who will join the Big Sky next season.
Weber State holds a 14-3 all-time series lead over Southern Utah and the ‘Cats have won three of the last four meetings. This Saturday’s game will be the first with SUU since 2006.
This Saturday’s game will be heard live on AM-1280 KZNS “The Zone” with the voice of the Wildcats Carl Arky calling all the action. He will be joined in the booth by former Wildcat standout Ty Sparrow. Live audio of the game will also be available online through 1280thezone.com and WeberStateSports.com.
There will be no TV of Saturday’s game but it can be seen for free online at bigskytv.org. In addition, live stats will be available at WeberStateSports.com.
WSU KNOCKS DOWN BENGALS FOR HOMECOMING WIN
After a bye week the Wildcats came back strong with a 39-12 Homecoming win over Idaho State Saturday at Stewart Stadium. The Wildcats totaled 508 yards of total offense and allowed just 283 for the Bengals and held Idaho State to -1 yards of rushing, where the ‘Cats had 308 yards of rushing offense. The -1 yards of rushing was the fifth lowest by a WSU opponent in school history.
On the defensive side the ‘Cats forced an ISU safety and recorded eight sacks and 15 tackles for loss. They also blocked two kicks and had one forced fumble.
The ‘Cats have now defeated Idaho State nine straight times, including 13 straight in Ogden.
Weber State junior defensive end Trevor Pletcher has been named Big Sky Co-Defensive Player of the Week after his performance in Saturday’s win over Idaho State.
Pletcher, a 6-2, 245-pound junior from Edmond, Okla., tied the Weber State school record with four sacks in the Wildcats’ 39-12 victory over the Bengals at Stewart Stadium. Pletcher tallied a total of five tackles and also blocked a punt in the second quarter. The four sacks were the most by a Wildcat in a game since 1998. His four sacks resulted in a loss of 17 yards. He also had two quarterback hurries.
On the season Pletcher ranks fourth in the Big Sky in sacks with five. He is second on the team and 14th in the league in tackles for loss with 6.5 and has 20 total tackles in six games this season.
This is Pletcher’s first Player of the Week honor. He shared Defensive honors with Brad Daly of Montana State.
Weber State sophomore received Shaydon Kehano had a huge day in Saturday’s win over the Bengals. Kehano had just three catches but those three catches totaled 157 yards of receiving and two of the three were touchdowns. In the second quarter Kehano hooked up with quarterback Mike Hoke for a 56-yard touchdown reception that gave the Wildcats the lead for good. In the third quarter the two connected again, this time for an 83-yard TD reception. That play was the eighth longest passing play in WSU school history.
On the season Kehano ranks fifth in the Big Sky in receiving yards per game at 85.5 and has 17 catches for 513 yards and seven touchdowns.
Weber State junior Caldwell Taylor had a strong performance on defense in WSU’s win. In the first quarter Taylor caused a safety for the Wildcats, the first WSU safety in two seasons. In the third quarter Taylor blocked an ISU punt, his second blocked kick of the season and the third of his career, tying him for fourth in school history. This season Taylor has 20 tackles, including 5.5 tackles for loss as well as three sacks and one interception.
For the sixth straight game the Wildcats the Wildcats had one turnover, giving them one turnover in each game this season. Junior quarterback Mike threw his first interception of the season in the game, snapping a streak of 196 consecutive passes without an interception, which was the longest in the country.
On the season the Wildcats lead the Big Sky in turnover margin at +5. The Wildcat defense has forced 11 turnovers, four fumbles and seven interceptions, the most in the conference.
The Wildcats are averaging 33.8 points per game this season, which ranks second in the Big Sky and 18th in the country. WSU leads the Big Sky in total offense at 445.7, which also ranks 10th in the country. The Wildcats are also first in passing efficiency rating at 164, which is fifth in the nation and the ‘Cats lead the Big Sky in tackles for loss and turnover margin.
Weber State ranks last in the Big Sky in opponent third down conversions, allowing their opponents to convert on 44 percent of third downs.
Individually, Mike Hoke is first in the conference and fourth in the nation in pass efficiency at 165.3. Shaydon Kehano now ranks fifth in receiving yards per game at 85.5 and Trevor Pletcher is now second in the conference in sacks.
A Homecoming crowd of 11,297 fans attended Saturday’s win over Idaho State. That crowd is the most fans at a game since Coach Ron McBride’s first game at Weber State in September 2005.
This Saturday’s game will be a Blackout game for Wildcat fans. All fans coming to the game are encouraged to wear black. Plus the first 500 fans will receive a commemorative Blackout T-shirt, courtesy of the WSU Campus Stores. In addition, the first 500 WSU students at the game will also receive a commemorative Blackout T-shirt. Additional Blackout T-shirts will be available for purchase.
Senior tight end Brian Jankowski (ankle) and offensive guard Caleb Turner (ankle) did not play last week against Idaho State. Turner is expected to play this week and Jankowski will be a game-time decision.
Two Wildcats returned from injury has junior defensive tackle Ryan Eastman played for the first time since the season opener and sophomore cornerback Robbie Diamond saw his first action of the season.
Senior defensive end Gabe Bowers tore a tendon in his right wrist in the Utah State game and will miss the remainder of the season.
Southern Utah enters this week’s game with a 3-4 overall record. They started the season with a one-point loss at South Dakota State but then followed up with three straight wins and became nationally ranked. They defeated Big Sky member Southern Utah 35-14, beat UTSA 45-22, then won at UNLV 41-16. Since winning those three straight games they have lost three straight losing at home to North Dakota, at #18 South Dakota and are coming off a 31-27 loss at Cal Poly last Saturday.
In 2010 the Thunderbirds posted a 6-5 overall record and a 4-1 record in Great West Conference play, earning them the conference title.
The Thunderbirds lead the Great West and rank 10th in the nation in passing offense at 292.3 yards per game. They also lead the Great West in passing offense, scoring defense, pass defense and punting. They are allowing just 23.1 points per game this season, 36th best in the country. The T-birds average 68.7 yards of rushing per game but are giving up 182 yards of rushing.
Individually junior quarterback Brad Sorenson ranks 11th in the nation in total offense at 283.7 yards per game. In seven games Sorenson has completed 67 percent of his passes and has thrown for 2,028 yards and 13 touchdowns, an average of 289.7 yards of passing per game.
Freshman Brady Measom is seventh in the nation in punt returns with an average of 14.6 yards per return. Measom is also leading the team in receptions with 409 yards receiving and two touchdowns.
The Thunderbirds are coached by Ed Lamb who is in his fourth season as head coach. He led the Thunderbirds to the 2010 Great West Championship and was named conference Coach of the Year. Entering this week’s game Lamb has a career record of 18-22 at Southern Utah.
He is a 1996 graduate of BYU where he played for the Cougars. He has spent time as an assistant coach at the University of the Redlands, BYU, Idaho, and San Diego.
This will be Lamb’s first game against Weber State as head coach. WSU head coach Ron McBride is 2-0 all-time against Southern Utah, recording wins in 2005 and 2006.
Weber State holds a 14-3 all-time series lead over Southern Utah but the two teams have not met since 2006. Since 1999 the series is tied 3-3. The Wildcats won the last two meetings in 2005 and 2006 and have won three of the last four meetings overall. In games played in Ogden the ‘Cats hold an 11-2 series advantage.
In the last meeting between the two schools the Wildcats won 24-13 over the Thunderbirds Sept. 16, 2006 in Ogden, the second season with Ron McBride coaching the Wildcats. In that game the Wildcats recorded 438 yards of total offense led by freshman running back Trevyn Smith who had 16 carries for 186 yards and one touchdown. WSU quarterback Shawn Woods was 18-31 for 186 yards and one touchdown.
The Wildcats have named four captains for the 2011 season. Offensive captains are junior quarterback Mike Hoke and senior offensive lineman J.C. Oram. The defensive captains are sophomore linebacker Anthony Morales and senior linebacker Nick Webb.
This season marks the 50th season of Weber State University football on the four-year level, and the 49th year as a member of the Big Sky Conference. Weber State attained four-year status in 1962-63 and played as an NCAA Division II member until 1978 when, along with the rest of the Big Sky, became members of NCAA Division I-AA, now Football Championship Subdivision.
The 2011 season begins the 49th year of play in the Big Sky Conference. Weber State is a charter member of the league which began operation in 1963-64. WSU from 1963 through 1976, Weber State and the rest of the Big Sky were classified as NCAA Division II members. In 1978, NCAA Division I-AA was created. That was changed to NCAA Division I FCS in 2009.
This season Weber State will have new home for radio broadcasts as all WSU football and men’s basketball games, home and away, can be heard live on 1280 KZNS-AM “The Zone”. The Zone is an all-sports radio station in Salt Lake City that has covered Utah sports for many years. In addition, many of WSU’s games will be simulcast on 97.5 FM.
WSU play-by-play voice Carl Arky returns for his 13th season as voice of the Wildcats. He will be joined in the booth by former WSU standout Ty Sparrow who will provide color commentary for all Wildcat football games.
After Saturday’s game the Wildcats will be back to Big Sky play and back on the road when they play at Montana next Saturday, Oct. 29. Weber State has not won in Missoula since 1987. Following that game the ‘Cats will be back home for Montana State Nov. 5. The Bobcats are currently ranked third in the nation and are 4-0 in Big Sky play.