Despite losing their first game of the season, I think the Weber State University Football Team will bounce back and improve upon last season’s record.

Last Saturday’s game was a tough loss for the Wildcats, who dropped a close game to the University of Wyoming. Generally when a team loses a close game, one of two things can happen. Either they will use the loss as motivation and come back stronger, or they will get down and struggle to regain their good form. I think the ’Cats will bounce back stronger and better than ever.

One thing that was evident in the game against the UW Cowboys was the fact that WSU has an exciting, high-octane offense. The Wildcats didn’t struggle to find the end zone, putting up 32 points on UW, a FBS school.

When conference play starts next week, I think WSU will challenge a lot of Big Sky teams with their ability to put points on the board. In the game against the Cowboys, many offense players showed they have what it takes to compete against a good team. Mike Hoke threw for more than 300 yards, Josh Booker rushed for 117 yards, and freshman Xavian Johnson (or Professor X, as I like to call him) had more than 100 receiving yards and two touchdowns in his first collegiate game.

To me, Johnson, who was named the National Freshman of the Week by The Sports Network and Fathead.com, was clearly the brightest spot for WSU. During the spring and summer football camps, I was a little nervous and unsure of who would step in and replace WSU greats Joe Collins and Mike Phillips at the receiver spot, but Johnson quickly made me forget those worries.

He had two big touchdowns, one coming in the second quarter and one that gave WSU a late lead in the game. On his second touchdown, Johnson caught a 49-yard pass from Hoke, and showed his speed and running ability, making multiple defenders miss their attempts to bring him down.

One place WSU needs to improve is defensively. In the game against UW, at times, the defensive unit looked good and was able to stop the Cowboys on multiple drives, and even caused a turnover. They also had a few drives where the defense struggled and was unable to stop the Cowboy offense. If the ’Cats are going to be successful this season, the defense will need to step up, and make things hard for opposing offenses on every drive.

I think the Wildcats’ defense will improve, and be able to stop opposing teams this season. They are anchored by senior linebacker Nick Webb. He enters his senior season as one of the top linebackers in the Big Sky Conference. He was named to the Big Sky Preseason All-Conference Team. He earned First Team All-Conference honors last season.

In three seasons at WSU, Webb has played in 35 games career games and recorded 186 career total tackles.

On Saturday, the Wildcats will take on in-state rival Utah State University in Logan. With both games coming off of close losses against FBS schools, it will be interesting to see how the two teams recover. I think the ’Cats will be just fine.

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