[media-credit name=”Associated Press” align=”alignright” width=”178″][/media-credit]After two impressive conference wins, the Weber State University football team dropped a close game to defending national champion Eastern Washington University on Saturday in Cheney, Wash., losing 27-21.
“We got down in the first half and we fought back, but we didn’t finish the job,” said WSU Head Coach Ron McBride. “We didn’t handle the adversity, and we let this one slip away from us. Now we have to learn from it and try to move on.”
Barrinton Collins started the WSU offense out with a bang, taking the kickoff out to the 45-yard line, helping to spark the WSU offense early on.
The Wildcat offense was effective for much of the first quarter, moving the ball nicely down the field on their first possession. Josh Booker was the catalyst of WSU’s first drive, breaking a 34-yard run on WSU’s first drive of the game. Mike Hoke got the ’Cats on the score board with a two-yard sneak into the end zone.
After a quick offensive start, the Wildcats slowed down, having to punt, then missing a field goal, which allowed EWU to jump out to a 14-7 lead.
Towards the end of the first half, the Wildcats had to take a timeout to evaluate Hoke, who was injured on a broken play. Hoke snapped the ball and looked as if he would be sacked but managed to pitch the ball to CJ Tuckett, who ran for a first down. Hoke’s arm was injured on the play. Still, he remained in the game.
Despite a few good plays, WSU struggled offensively, only getting 99 yards of total offense.
WSU’s offense scored their second touchdown of the game halfway through the third quarter. Jordan Clemente set up the touchdown and caught a pass taking the ball to the one-yard line for WSU. On the next play, Hoke faked a handoff then ran into the end zone for his second touchdown of the game.
In the second half, WSU was able to establish their running game, which opened up the passing game for the Wildcat’s.
Devin Pugh stepped up for the Wildcats defensively making a crucial interception. EWU was driving down the field and looked set to score another touchdown when Pugh dove across the field to intercept the ball in the end zone.
The Wildcats held EWU on their next drive as well and received the ball deep on their half of the field with just over two minutes to drive the length of the field to score a game-winning touchdown. Faced with 4th-and-23 on their own 32-yard line with under a minute to play, Hoke connected with Kehano for a 51-yard pass to bring WSU to the 17 yard line. But they were unable to convert, and the Eagles got the ball back following a fumble by Hoke.
Hoke said that the team wasn’t able to put everything together for all four quarters, but he said he feels that they will grow from this loss.
“We didn’t play a full game today, and this is what happens when we don’t play a full game,” Hoke said. “We didn’t execute like we needed to. This will make us refocus and more hungry to move on to the next one.”
WSU falls to 2-3 on the season and 2-1 in conference play. The Wildcats will be in action again on Oct. 15 when they take on Idaho State University at Stewart Stadium in the Homecoming game.