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Wildcats host Eagles for Homecoming game Saturday
Courtesy: Weber State  
Release: Thursday 09/19/2012
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Courtesy: Robert Casey
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Weber State will look for its first win Saturday against Eastern Washington.

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Game #4 -  #9 Eastern Washington (1-1, 0-0)
at Weber State (0-3, 0-0)
Saturday, Sept. 22 • 6:05 p.m.  
Ogden, UT •  Stewart Stadium (17,500)
TV: none
Online video: bigskytv.org
Radio: FM- 106.9 “The Zone”
Live stats: WeberStateSports.com
Series: Eastern Washington leads 16-14
Streak: Eastern Washington 2 wins
In Ogden: series tied 8-8
Last Meeting: 10/01/11 - Cheney - EWU 27, WSU 21
 
 
QUICK HITS
 Weber State is back home for the annual Homecoming game this Saturday, Sept. 22 when the Wildcats open Big Sky Conference play hosting the Eastern Washington Eagles.  The Wildcats are 0-3 on the season and are coming off a 35-21 home opening loss to #19 McNeese State last Saturday.  Eastern Washington enters the game 1-1 on the season and is ranked ninth in the country in the latest polls.  Game time is set for 6:00 p.m. Saturday night at Stewart Stadium.   
 
MEDIA FOR SATURDAY’S GAME
  Saturday’s game will air live on FM-106.9 “The Zone”.  The game will not be broadcast on 1280 The Zone but will be on 106.9 FM.  Steve Klauke will fill in for WSU broadcaster Carl Arky for Saturday’s game.  He will be joined in the booth by former Wildcat standout Ty Sparrow.
 There will be no TV of the game but it will be seen live for free on the internet at bigskytv.org. 
 Live stats of the game will be available at WeberStateSports.com. 
       
 WILDCATS DROP HOME OPENER 35-21 TO MCNEESE STATE
 Weber State dropped to 0-3 on the season with a 35-21 defeat to 19th ranked McNeese State Saturday night in the 2012 home opener at Stewart Stadium.  The Cowboys totaled 301 rushing yards on the game and finished with 557 yards of total offense, finishing with 300 yards of total offense more than Weber State.  McNeese State also recorded three sacks on the night.  McNeese State had two rushing touchdowns of more than 70 yards, including a 91-yard TD run.  
 WSU senior quarterback Mike Hoke finished the night 9-19 passing for 69 yards with one touchdown and one interception.  C.J. Tuckett led the rushing attack with 66 yards and a touchdown.  Defensively, Obi Owoh had two sacks and Danny Mullarkey recovered two fumbles.  The loss dropped Weber State to 0-3 on the season for the first time since 2007.  The game was played in front of 9,617 fans for the home opener at Stewart Stadium.
 
TONY EPPERSON NOW LEADS THE NATION IN PUNTING
    After setting a school record in Saturday’s loss to McNeese State Weber State junior Tony Epperson now leads the nation in punting.  The Park City native is averaging 48.0 yards per punt, the best in the country. 
 Saturday, Epperson set a Weber State single-game school record with an average of 55.0 yards per punt.  He totaled eight punts for 440 yards on the day.  He recorded two punts of more than 70 yards.   
 After three games this season Epperson has recorded 26 punts for 1,248 yards, for the average of 48 per punt, which is the best in the nation by nearly three yards per punt.  He has recorded four punts of more than 70 yards, including a 74-yard punt at BYU, which ranks as the seventh best in school history. 
 Epperson also is second on the Wildcat team in tackles with 19 and has one interception, one fumble recovery and one forced fumble on the year. 
 
OKWUONU LEADS ‘CATS AGAIN ON DEFENSE
    WSU junior Willie Okwuonu has led the Wildcats in tackles in two of the three games so far this season, including Saturday when he recorded nine total tackles.  After three games this year Okwuonu ranks eighth in the Big Sky in tackles at 8.7 per game.  He has recorded 20 solo tackles and six assisted tackles in three games for the ‘Cats this season.  
 
OBI OWOH RECORDS TWO SACKS
    Red shirt freshman Obi Owoh recorded his first two sacks of his career in Saturday’s game against the Cowboys.  Owoh’s two sacks totaled a loss of 12 yards for McNeese State.  For the game he finished with three tackles for loss  for 13 yards and totaled 4.5 tackles.  After three games the Rosewell, Georgia native has recorded 10 tackles with six unassisted and four assisted.  He has started all three games for the ‘Cats so far this season. 
 
KEHANO BREAKS LEG AND WILL MISS SEASON
    Junior wide receiver Shaydon Kehano suffered a fractured fibula in his right leg late in Saturday’s loss.  He underwent surgery Monday and will miss the remainder of the season.  Kehano, a native of Kaneohe, Hawaii, had 11 catches for 149 yards and two touchdowns, WSU’s only two receiving touchdowns this season.  He has played in 20 career games as a Wildcat and has 56 catches for 1,082 yards and 11 touchdowns.  Kehano has not used a red shirt season and will likely look to receive a medical red shirt.        
 
INJURY REPORT
    WSU was without the services of Luke King in Saturday’s game and his status is questionable for this weekend.  Senior linebacker Willie Harris made his season debut Saturday after breaking his leg in spring practice.
 
WILDCATS IN BIG SKY OPENERS
    Weber State is 22-27 all-time in Big Sky Conference opening games, and are 18-10 when opening the Big Sky season at home.  The Wildcats have opened the conference season at home in each of the last three seasons and have won all three games, beating Idaho State in 2009, Northern Colorado in 2010 and Sacramento State last season. 
 
WSU IN HOMECOMING GAMES
    Weber State is 23-27 all-time in 50 years of Homecoming games.  The Wildcats have won four straight Homecoming games, including a 39-12 win over Idaho State last season.  WSU has played Eastern Washington in Homecoming games three times with the Eagles winning all three games played in 1989, 2000, and 2004.   
 
RED ZONE SUCCESS
    Weber State has found success in the red zone after three games this season.  The Wildcats are a perfect 5-5 in scoring in the red zone with all five scores being touchdowns.  They have had four rushing touchdowns and one passing touchdowns in the red zone.  Those five touchdowns account for all but one of the touchdowns the Wildcats have scored this season.
 Defensively, Weber State has allowed its opponents to scored 13 of 15 tires in the red zone with 11 of those 13 scores coming as touchdowns.    
 
FIRST HALF STRUGGLES
    The first half has not been good for the Wildcats in three games this season.  WSU has not scored in the first quarter in any game this season and has just three points in the second quarter.  WSU has been outscored 21-0 in the first quarter and 38-3 in the second quarter.  Weber State has been outscored 59-3 in the first half this season. 
 The ‘Cats are winning the third quarter 20-17 but have been outscored 41-21 in the fourth quarter. 
 
THIRD DOWN THUNDER
    Weber State ranks 10th in the Big Sky in third down conversions at 35.4 percent.  WSU is 17-48 on third down tries after three games.  On the other hand WSU is last in the conference in opponent third down conversions.  The Wildcats have allowed their opponents to convert third downs 47.4 percent of the time so far this season. 
 
BIG SKY RANKINGS
    After three weeks the Wildcats rank last in the Big Sky in scoring offense at 14.7 points per game and are 12th in scoring defense at 39.0 per game.  In addition the ‘Cats are ninth in rushing offense, 12th in rushing defense, and are last in the league in total offense and total defense. 
 As a team the ‘Cats rank fifth in the league and are 15th in the conference in punting at 38.8 per punt.  They are also seventh in punt returns and eighth in penalties.
 Individually senior Kris Parham ranks third in the conference in kick return average at 21.7 yards per return.  Parham is also ninth in the Big Sky in all-purpose years at 115.0 per game.  Jordan Clemente is ninth in receptions at 5.0 per game.  After recording two fumble recoveries in Saturday’s game, junior Danny Mullarkey is now tied for the conference lead in that category.         
 
AROUND THE BIG SKY
    Weber State is the only team in the Big Sky still seeking its first win as 12 of the league’s 13 teams open conference play this weekend.  Montana State, now ranked second in the nation, sits at 3-0 with Cal Poly at 2-0.  Montana is ranked 14th in the latest national poll. 
 
FIRST-YEAR HEAD COACH JODY SEARS
    WSU is under the direction of first-year head coach Jody Sears who brings nearly 20 years of coaching experience to Weber State.  He joined the WSU staff in January as the defensive coordinator and was named head coach in April.  He is the 10th head coach in Weber State history.  Sears will also be the defensive coordinator and coach the safeties for the Wildcats.
    Before coming to Weber State he spent the past three seasons at Washington State where he spent the last three seasons as the co-defensive coordinator with the Cougars under head coach Paul Wulff, a former college teammate at Washington State.
    He is no stranger to the Big Sky Conference as he spent five seasons (2003-07) as the defensive coordinator at Eastern Washington, also under Paul Wulff.  During his time with the Eagles he coached safeties, linebackers and defensive backs.  In his five seasons at Eastern Washington he coached seven players to Big Sky All-Conference honors.
    Prior to his time at Eastern Washington Sears spent three seasons (2000-02) as an assistant coach at Army where he coached cornerbacks and the defensive line.  He also spent time as an assistant coach at St. Ambrose University, an NAIA school in Davenport, Iowa and Iowa State.
    Sears played football at Washington State where he was a two-year letterwinner with the Cougars after walking on as a wide receiver.  He played under head coaches Jim Walden, Dennis Erickson, and former Weber State head coach Mike Price.  He graduated from Washington State in 1991 and received his master’s degree from Iowa State in 1996. 
    Sears, 44, is a native of Pullman, Washington.  He and his wife Molly are the parents of five children.
 
TEAM CAPTAINS
    Coach Sears has selected four team captains for the season.  Mike Hoke, Brian Jankowski, Anthony Morales, and Trevor Pletcher will serve as the Wildcat team captains for the year. 
 
50 YEARS OF DIVISION I ATHLETICS
    The 2012-13 Weber State Athletics season marks 50 years since Weber State became a four-year institution and began athletics competition at the Division I level.  Events and festivities are planned throughout the year to celebrate 50 years of Division I athletics at Weber State.
 
SATURDAY IS THE ANNIVERSARY OF THE FIRST D-1 GAME
    As Weber State celebrates 50 years of playing in Division I football this season Saturday’s game will mark an important anniversary.  Saturday’s game will be 50 years to the date from the first Weber State football game played as a Division I school.  Then Weber State College opened the 1962 season with a 26-6 loss at Western State on Sept. 22, 1962, the first game played as a four-year institution and a Division I school.  
 
QUOTING WEBER STATE HEAD COACH JODY SEARS
 
“I have to give McNeese State a lot of credit.  They are a very talented football team and really played well.”
 
“Our players were disappointed in how things went Saturday.  They still have a good attitude but we need to raise the level of our execution and consistency and tighten things up.  We have to continue to grow and get better and raise our intensity.  We can’t let our guard down at all and have to stay consistent.”
 
“Eastern Washington is another really good team and is extremely well coached.  They have a very strong offense and are very disciplined.  We will have our hands full once again.”    
 
ABOUT EASTERN WASHINGTON
   Eastern Washington enters Saturday’s game with a 1-1 record and come into the game ranked ninth in the nation in the latest national polls.  The Eagles have played two FBS opponents this season and nearly won both games.  They opened the season with a 20-3 win at Idaho and followed that up with a 24-20 loss at Washington State.  They are coming off a bye week last week.
 After two games this season Eastern Washington is ninth in the nation in passing offense, averaging 319.5 passing yards per game.  They are also 17th in total offense at 445.5 yards per game and are 13th in scoring defense, allowing 13.5 points per game, which also ranks first in the Big Sky.  They are also third in the league in rushing defense at 98 and are second in the league in total defense at 306.0 yards per game.  
 Individually, junior quarterback Kyle Pardon, who transferred to Eastern Washington from SMU earlier this year, ranks fourth in the nation and second in the Big Sky in total offense at 325.5 yards per game.  He is second in the conference in passing at 319.5 per game.  Junior Brandon Kaufman ranks first in the Big Sky and is fifth in the nation in receiving yards per game at 145.0.  Kaufman is also fifth in the league and 20th in the country in all purpose yards at 145.0.  Sophomore Jake Miller is fourth in the league and sixth in the nation in punting at 44.7 per punt, meaning two of the top six punters in the nation will be competing Saturday.          
 
Head Coach BEAU BALDWIN
    The Eagles are coached by Beau Baldwin who is in his fifth season at Eastern Washington.  He has compiled a career record of 34-17 at EWU, including leading the Eagles to the 2010 FCS national championship.    
 Saturday’s game will mark a reunion of sorts for the two head coaches in the game.  Baldwin and WSU head coach Jody Sears were the offense and defensive coordinators at Eastern Washington from 2003-06 under head coach Paul Wulff.  The two led the Eagles to Big Sky titles and FCS playoff appearances in 2004 and 2005.  
 
SERIES HISTORY
 Eastern Washington holds a 16-14 all-time series edge over Weber State and the Eagles have won four of the last five games played between the two schools. 
 In games played in Ogden the all-time series is tied 8-8 and Eastern Washington has won five of the last six games played at Stewart Stadium.  Since 2000, the only WSU win in the series at home was a 19-14 win in 2006. 
 
LAST MEETING - 10/01/11 - CHENEY - EWU 27-21
 Eastern Washington won its first game of the season with a 27-21 win Oct. 1, 2011 in Cheney, Weber State’s first game on the new red turf at Eastern Washington.  EWU held a 24-7 lead at halftime but the Wildcats rallied to trail by just six in the closing minutes.  With the ‘Cats driving late Eastern Washington forced a Mike Hoke fumble and the Eagles held on for the win.
 Hoke threw for 235 yards and one touchdown but was sacked four times.  Josh Booker had 13 carries for 84 yards and Nick Webb recorded nine tackles. 
 
LOOKING AHEAD
    After Saturday’s game the Wildcats will hit the road for three of their next four games, beginning next Saturday when WSU plays at new Big Sky member UC Davis.  The Wildcats and Aggies have met just twice in school history.
 After next Saturday the Wildcats will be back home for a Friday night game on Oct. 5 when they host Cal Poly.  WSU will then play at Sacramento State and at Southern Utah.  

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