This marks the 50th year that Weber State University has been competing in NCAA athletics, despite being a smaller mid-major school; the Wildcats have had a lot of proud moments in their sporting history.
WSU knocks off the University of North Carolina: This is probably one of the most spectacular and memorable sporting moments in WSU history. In 1999, the WSU Wildcats had put together a strong team, and made it to the NCAA national tournament. Most people expected them to have an early exit when they were matched up against No. 3-ranked UNC.
The ’Cats were led by Harold Arceneaux, who put on a show and scored 36 points against the UNC Tar Heels. It was the first time that UNC had lost in the first round of the tournament since 1978.
I can remember watching the game on TV with my cousin, who was going to WSU. I can remember getting more and more excited as the game came down to the wire, watching as Arceneaux drove seemingly untouched to the hoop again and again.
With seconds left in the game, WSU clung to a slim lead. UNC threw a last-ditch long in-bounds pass down the court, which was intercepted by Arceneaux to seal the 76-74 victory.
Four-overtime thriller: Last year WSU played one of the most exciting games of football I’ve ever seen. They took on the University of Northern Colorado at home in what would go down as one of the wildest games in WSU history.
The Wildcats were led by former quarterback Cameron Higgins, who completed 33 of 54 passes for 340 yards and four touchdowns. Mike Phillips was Higgins’ most prolific target of the night, catching 11 passes for 161 yards and two touchdowns.
The multiple-overtime game saw a blocked field goal, lots of touchdowns and a long break in the game due to the lights in Stewart Stadium going off. The Wildcats were able to pull off a 50-47 win following a field goal by Sean McClain.
I was sitting in the stands during that game, and the atmosphere was electric. The fans were hanging on every play, holding their breath and hoping that WSU would come away with a win. When the game finally ended, fans rushed the field.
Snow Bowl: Another exciting game in WSU football history took place two years ago when WSU took on Northern Arizona University in a blizzard. It was nearly a white-out; tractors had to plow the field, and the Wildcats won.
Former WSU standout Tim Toone electrified the fans, braving the cold with a 90-yard punt return as WSU claimed a 27-10 victory over NAU in a wild game.
Higgins ended the game completing 14-21 passes for 146 yards and one touchdown. Bo Bolen and Trevyn Smith shared running back duties all afternoon. Bolen had 21 carries for 92 yards and Smith had 17 carries for 84 yards for the ’Cats.
There have been many great moments for WSU fans, and they have been able to see many great athletes come through the ranks. There are lots of more great memories and historical moments in school history, and there will be more to come.