OGDEN, Utah - Northern Colorado defeated Weber State 42-34 on a snowy afternoon Saturday at Stewart Stadium, the final home game of the season for the Wildcats. Weber State falls to 1-9 overall and 1-6 in Big Sky play with the loss.
Northern Colorado posted 540 yards of total offense, including 418 passing yards to earn their first ever win against the Wildcats.
Weber State posted a season-high in points and finished with 473 yards of total offense.
After nearly a foot of snow fell overnight the game began under cloudy conditions and snow fell off-and-on throughout the game. The Wildcats started the scoring with a 26-yard touchdown from Mike Hoke to Xavian Johnson on their first possession, marking WSU's first touchdown of the first quarter all season. After a defensive stop on the one-yard line by the Wildcats, the Bears stopped WSU's offense and recorded a safety and followed that up with a 65-yard pass from Seth Lobato to Dominic Gunn to take a 10-9 lead after the first quarter.
Northern Colorado score three passing touchdowns in the second quarter with two of them going to Darin McDonald and the Bears led 28-17 at the break.
After Shaun McClain's second field goal of the day the Wildcats were within eight at 28-20 after three quarters. Each team scored two touchdowns the rest of the way but it wasn't enough for the Wildcats.
"We didn't play as disciplined as we needed to and we made some mistakes that cost us," said WSU head coach Jody Sears. "I tip my hat to Northern Colorado who came in and played hard. I was proud of our effort but we've got to clean up some execution and be ready to play next week."
Hoke finished the day 24-46 passing for a season-high 310 yards and four touchdowns, along with one interception.
"It's disappointing for us, especially for us as seniors," Hoke said. "We were able to do some good things offensively but the only thing that really matters is getting the win."
On the ground C.J. Tuckett had 17 carries for 87 yards. Lanny Papanikolas had seven catches for 71 yards and a touchdown. Erik Walker, Xavian Johnson, Jordan Clemente and Brian Jankowski all caught touchdowns for the Wildcats.
Defensively junior Anthony Morales once again led the Wildcats with 13 tackles. The game was the final home game for 14 Wildcat seniors.
For Northern Colorado Lobato finished the day 24-38 passing for 418 yards and four touchdowns, the third best passing day in school history. UNC improves to 4-6 on the season and 3-4 in Big Sky play after an 0-11 season last year.
The Wildcats failed to win a home game for just the second time in school history. WSU will finish the season next Saturday at Idaho State.