The Weber State University football team looks to regroup this Saturday as it heads to Cheney, Wash., to face Eastern Washington University. The Eagles are ranked sixth in the Football Championship Subdivision and are the defending Big Sky champions.
The Wildcats lost to the Eagles in the final minutes of last year’s Homecoming Game. WSU fell behind early in the game as EWU scored 17 unanswered points. The Wildcats made a comeback, scoring two touchdowns late in the game, but on their final drive lost the ball off of a sack that led to a fumble. The final score was 32-26 in favor of the Eagles.
Both teams are coming off losses. EWU fell to No. 4-ranked Sam Houston State University by a score of 49-34. The Wildcats are coming off a loss to California State University, Sacramento, 31-3. The Wildcats have dropped four straight games, while EWU has lost its last two. The Eagles opened up their season defeating Oregon State University, then the No. 25-ranked Football Bowl Subdivision in the nation.
“We have to be prepared for (the Wildcats) to be a lot better statistically than they’ve been the last few weeks,” said EWU head coach Beau Baldwin in a press release earlier this week, “because they’ve shown that they can. They will continue to get better, so we have to make sure we are geared up and making the improvements we need to make.”
Baldwin said he is not overlooking the Wildcats, and knows that some of the games WSU has played were against high-caliber teams.
“They were really impressive against Stephen F. Austin, and you can’t get caught up in their record and a lot of stats,” he said. “They have played some incredible teams already. They are well coached and they have a good scheme — we saw that last year. We were in a dogfight with them a year ago that came down to the wire, and I would expect the same this year from them.”
After the Homecoming Game, WSU head coach Jody Sears said the blame had to go onto the coaches. He looks to improve in ball security and protection in this week’s game.
“We got to take care of the little detail things,” Sears said. “That is coaching. That is our responsibility. As coaches, we got to take the responsibility of getting these kids in situations to take care of the ball. We got to make sure we have the protection.”
The Wildcat defense suffered a blow in last week’s game, as senior linebacker Anthony Morales left the game with a hamstring injury. The Wildcats had troubles tackling in the middle of the field after Morales left. Morales leads the team, averaging 8.4 tackles per game. He is listed as questionable to play in the game. Whether he sits out or plays will be a game-time decision.
The Wildcats are also moving forward on offense, as Sears announced Tuesday that senior quarterback Jordan Adamczyk has decided to leave the team to have surgery and finish his degree. The Wildcats will start true freshman Austin Chipoletti for the fourth-straight game. It is unclear if the Wildcats will continue to go with a two-quarterback system like they have done thus far this season.
Chipoletti has been one of several young players who has struggled in the early stages of the season. Growing pains have abounded in the first five games of the season, but the Wildcats look to continue their progress.
“It’s all about going to the drawing board and fixing those mistakes,” said WSU junior cornerback Deon’tae Florence. “It’s all about the details; the little things will help us prevail. We have a lot of talent on this team — it probably doesn’t show all the time, but it’s all about little things. If we put the pieces of the puzzle together, we will be fine. Soon enough we will be fine.”