In a game that saw the Weber State University Football Team dominate both offensively and defensively, the Wildcats blew out Sacramento State University on Saturday, winning 49-17.
WSU saw a strong comeback performance from their defensive unit, which was overpowered last week in Logan. The Wildcats had two interceptions by David James and Devin Pew. James ran the first interception back for the second longest interception returned for a touchdown in WSU history.
The offensive unit also impressed with quarterback Mike Hoke affectively running the WSU offense and running back Tanner Hinds running rampant against the SSU defense. Hoke finished the game with 198 yards passing, completing 17 passes and throwing for three touchdowns.
Hinds had a breakout game for the Wildcats. He was the team’s leading rusher, racking up 104 yards and one touchdown. Hoke said that Hinds had been hurt during the week and didn’t practice but was still able to turn in a strong performance.
“Tanner played real good,” Hoke said. “He was hurt the whole week but said he was going to play . . . he wasn’t even 100 percent today. I can’t wait to see him at 100 percent.”
The Wildcats struck first on their second drive of the game. Kela Marciel got things started for WSU on the drive with a big punt return, taking the ball into SSU’s side of the field. Mike Hoke completed two first-down passes to Xavian Johnson and Eric Shufford to put the Wildcats within striking distance of the goal line.
WSU scored on a 12-yard pass from Hoke to Shaydon Kehano to take the early lead.
SSU tried to establish a running game in the first quarter, only throwing two passes in the first quarter. The Wildcat defense did a good job containing the run.
The Wildcat defense continued to dominate in the second quarter, forcing an interception on SSU’s first drive of the quarter. Marciel caught a tipped pass to give possession back to the Wildcats.
Midway through the second quarter, it was SSU’s turn to come up with a big defensive play. After being pinned deep in their half, the Hornets punted the ball to Marciel, who fielded it near midfield. Marciel fumbled the ball after being hit and SSU took over on the WSU 45-yard line.
The Hornets got on the board with two minutes left in the half with a 32-yard field goal from Jason Diniz.
The Wildcats closed the half out on a strong note, embarking on a 10 play, 75-yard drive in the last two minutes of the half. Hoke completed a 17 yard pass to Austin Raught who wrestled the ball out of the hands of a SSU defensive back for a touchdown. WSU went into the locker room with a 14-3 lead.
In the second half, the Wildcats dominated the run, forcing the ball down the field. Tanner Hinds got things going offensively for WSU, breaking three runs in a row for three consecutive first downs. The ’Cats found the end zone on a three-yard quarterback keeper by Hoke. McClain converted the point after to give WSU a 21-3 lead.
Hoke continued to pour the pressure on SSU and extended the lead to a 25-point lead with a 30-yard pass to Kehano, who pulled the ball down in the corner of the endzone.
SSU managed to cut the WSU lead to 18 points at the end of the third quarter with a long drive that resulted in a three-yard touchdown run by Bryan Hilliard to make it 28-10.
Hinds dominated the field for large portions of the game, running through the SSU defense. Early in the fourth quarter, Hinds scored on a 25-yard run, running untouched into the end zone.
In the fourth quarter, the Hornets were driving down the field and looked poised to score before WSU closed the door. SSU quarterback Jeff Flemming dropped back and threw a pass down the right side of the field. The pass was bobble and intercepted by WSU’s David James, who raced down the sideline, scoring a 75-yard touchdown
“It was long, that’s all I know,” James said. “I saw an opportunity to make a play, I just focused on the ball and kept on running.”
The 75-yard return was the second longest in WSU history, and James said that he was happy to hold the record of the second-longest return.
“I was just informed in the elevator (that the interception return was the second longest in school history),” James said. “I said ‘What’s longest?’ They said 98′ and I said, ‘Oh, he can have it.’ I saw all green and just kept running. Then I saw the quarterback. I got to the 50 and said ‘I’ve gone too far to stop now’, and just kept going.”
The Wildcats will now head to Colorado where they will take on the University of Northern Colorado next weekend.