The Weber State Wildcats will play their final home game of
the 2011 season when the ‘Cats host Northern Arizona Saturday at 1:30 p.m. at
The game will be the final home game for Weber State head coach Ron McBride who announced this week that he will retire at the end of this season, following seven years as head coach at Weber State and 20 years as a Division I head coach.
The Wildcats enter this week’s game with a 3-6 overall record and a 3-3 record in Big Sky play. The ‘Cats have lost three straight games.
Northern Arizona enters the game with a 4-5 overall record and a 3-4 record in Big Sky action but have won their last two outings.
The Wildcats have won three straight against NAU.
Saturday’s game will be broadcast live on KZNS AM-1280 “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.
Saturday’s game can be seen for free online at bigskytv.org. In addition, live stats will be available at WeberStateSports.com.
‘CATS FALL IN SECOND HALF TO NATIONALLY RANKED BOBCATS
Weber State lost its third straight game last Saturday, falling 44-24 to second-ranked Montana State at Stewart Stadium. The Wildcats led 24-20 at halftime but Montana State scored 24 unanswered points in the second half to seal the victory.
Saturday’s game will be a special game for the Weber State family and the state of Utah as Weber State head coach Ron McBride will coach his final home game. McBride announced Tuesday that he will retire following the 2011 season after seven seasons as head coach at Weber State and 20 seasons as a Division I head coach.
Coach McBride turned 72 in October 2011. He is currently the sixth oldest active head coach in Division I football. Penn State’s Joe Paterno, Albany’s Bob Ford, Appalachian State’s Jerry Moore, Kansas State’s Bill Snyder and Florida Atlantic’s Howard Schnellenberger are the five head coaches older than McBride.
McBride holds a 41-38 career record in his seven seasons as coach at Weber State. He is 32-21 in Big Sky Conference games. In his 20 seasons as a Division I head coach McBride holds an all-time record of 129-101.
The Wildcats continue to struggle in the second half, particularly the third quarter. Weber State has been outscored 93-63 in the third quarter this season and have scored just seven total points in the third quarter in the last three games.
The Wildcats are also being outscored in the first and fourth quarters. However, Weber State is outscoring opponents 94-71 in the second quarter.
This season ‘Cats are 3-2 when leading at halftime but are 0-4 when trailing at halftime. Weber State has been outscored 56-14 in the second half of its last two home games.
For the fourth straight game and the sixth time in eight nine games this season, sophomore Anthony Morales led the Wildcats in tackles in Saturday’s game. Morales recorded 13 total tackles against the Bobcats and now has 92 total tackles on the season. He is currently second in the Big Sky in tackles at 10.2 per game. He has recorded double figures in tackles in four straight games and six times this season. He also has recorded a tackle for loss in all but two games this season. Morales is one of four team captains for the Wildcats this year.
Weber State sophomore Josh Booker posted a career-high of 121 rushing yards in Saturday’s game with the Bobcats. Booker had 17 carries and scored two touchdowns in the game. On the season he now has 651 rushing yards and five touchdowns and is fourth in the Big Sky in rushing at 72.3 yards per game.
Booker now ranks 23rd in school history in career rushing yards with 1,201 yards.
‘CATS REACH SEASON-HIGH TAKEAWAYS
The Wildcats forced a season-high four turnovers in the game with Montana State. WSU had two interceptions, one by Devin Pugh and one from Mo Neal. They also forced two fumbles against the Bobcats.
On the season Weber State is second in the Big Sky in turnover margin at +3. Weber State has forced 16 turnovers and committed 13.
In addition to the final home game for Coach Ron McBride, Saturday’s game will be the final home game for 13 Wildcat seniors. Eight of the 13 Wildcats played all four years of their career at Weber State.
All 13 seniors will be recognized before Saturday’s game. They are: Gabe Bowers, Tyrell Francisco, Zach Higgins, Matt Miller, Mo Neal, J.C. Oram, Austin Raught, Pete Rolf, Kyle Shaney, Caleb Turner, Joel Turrubiates, Marvin Walker, and Nick Webb.
After missing the game at Montana two weeks ago with a separated shoulder, junior quarterback Mike Hoke returned and started in Saturday’s game with Montana State.
Freshman linebacker Luke King suffered an MCL strain in his right knee against Montana and his status is unknown for Saturday. Freshman wide receiver Xavian Johnson suffered a concussion and spinal contusion in the game with Montana and did not play last week.
Senior tight end Tyrell Francisco suffered an MCL strain in his right leg in the Southern Utah game and will likely miss at least the next two weeks of action.
Northern Arizona enters this week with a 4-5 overall record and a 3-4 mark in Big Sky play. This week’s game with the Wildcats will be their final Big Sky game of the season. They will close out the year next week against future Big Sky member Southern Utah.
The Lumberjacks started the season with a 41-10 loss at Arizona before coming home for a 58-13 win over Fort Lewis.
In Big Sky games this season both Weber State and Northern Arizona have three wins and all three are against the same schools. Both the Wildcats and Lumberjacks have defeated Sacramento State, Northern Colorado, and Idaho State. NAU started conference play with a 31-29 loss at Portland State before coming home to beat Idaho State. They lost three straight games to Eastern Washington, Montana State, and Montana but are coming off back-to-back wins over Sacramento State and Northern Colorado.
On the season the Lumberjacks lead the Big Sky in pass efficiency at 161.4. NAU also leads the conference in kickoff returns at 26.4 yards per return and are first in kickoff coverage at 45.5.
They are also first in time of possession at 32:44 and are first in opponent fourth down conversions.
They are second in the league in rushing defense, allowing just 126.9 yards per game and second in total offense at 433.8.
Individually sophomore Zach Bauman leads the conference and is fourth in the nation in rushing at 128 yards per game. He has 1,152 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns this season. Junior quarterback Cary Grossart is third in the league in total offense and third in passing at 251.6 yards per game. He leads the league in pass efficiency.
Senior Daniel Adler leads the Big Sky in kick return average at 32.4 yards per kick.
Defensively senior Issac Bond is fourth in the league in sacks with six on the season.
The Lumberjacks are coached by Jerome Souers who is the dean of Big Sky coaching. He is in his 14th season as head coach at Northern Arizona, longer than any coach in the Big Sky with the same team and is the longest tenured coach in NAU history. Souers has a career record of 76-80 with the Lumberjacks and is 49-57 in Big Sky games. The 49 wins ranks him fourth in Big Sky history in conference victories. Souers is 8-5 in his career against Weber State. WSU head coach Ron McBride is 4-2 in his career against the Lumberjacks.
Saturday’s game will mark the 48th game all-time between the two schools. Weber State holds a 25-22 all-time series advantage over Northern Arizona and the Wildcats have won three straight meetings between the schools. In games played in Ogden Weber State holds a 17-6 all-time advantage but the Lumberjacks have won four of the last six games played at Stewart Stadium.
Senior Vai Tafuna scored on a two-yard touchdown run in the final minute to lift Weber State to a 27-26 victory against Northern Arizona last November in Flagstaff.
In the game Mike Hoke saw his first significant action and finished the day 11-15 for 168 yards and one touchdown to help the Wildcats. Hoke connected on an 80-yard touchdown pass to Joe Collins in the fourth quarter.
Weber State won 27-9 over Northern Arizona on Nov. 12, 2009 in one of the wildest weather games in school history. An unrelenting snow storm pounded the Wasatch Front one hour before kickoff and left several inches of snow on the field for the game.
Tim Toone had a 90-yard punt return and the Wildcats rallied from a 9-6 deficit with 21 straight points to beat the Lumberjacks.
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.
Weber State will close out the season next Saturday, Nov. 19 when the ‘Cats play at Portland State at 2:00 p.m. Mountain time.