The Weber State University football team had another rough outing Saturday night, this time against Eastern Washington University. The Wildcats fell to the Eagles 41–19.
“There are no moral victories, and there were a lot of good things that we corrected, but it still wasn’t enough tonight,” said WSU head coach Jody Sears.
The Wildcats found improvement passing the ball, as quarterback Austin Chipoletti completed more than 60 percent of his passes. The defense also showed improvement in getting to the quarterback, causing a sack and several rushed throws along with a forced fumble on a quarterback run.
The Eagles jumped on the board on their first possession. After a punt left them with a short field, it took just two plays to score. EWU quarterback Vernon Adams hit wide receiver Cooper Kupp for a 50-yard touchdown. The Eagles failed to convert a two-point conversion, leaving the score at 6-0.
The Eagles added another touchdown just four minutes later. Adams once again hit Kupp, this time on an over-the-shoulder catch two yards deep in the end zone. The extra point made the score 13-0.
The Wildcats continued to struggle in the secondary. Adams had many long completions for first downs and touchdowns. They also continued to struggle bringing down the ball carrier at first contact without their defensive leader, Anthony Morales.
After another punt pinned the Eagles deep in their own territory, Adams sought to avoid the rush, and while he was running up field, cornerback Robbie Diamond stripped him of the ball. Cornerback Adam Padilla recovered the ball, setting the Wildcats deep in Eagle territory.
Chipoletti hit wideout Cameron Livingston on the next play for a 21-yard touchdown. After a failed extra point, the score read 13-6.
After another defensive stop by the Wildcats, they were again marching down the field, but their momentum was halted as Chipoletti threw a pass too far inside that was picked off by linebacker Miquiyah Zamora.
The Eagles capitalized on the turnover, turning it into seven more points as Adams threw another touchdown, this one to wide receiver Ashton Clark.
The Wildcats responded right back, driving the ball 80 yards to the end zone. Running back Josh Booker punched the ball in for a one-yard touchdown. The Wildcats failed on a two-point conversion, leaving the score at 20-12.
The Eagles took the momentum back as Adams marched the team down the field, punching the ball in himself on a two-yard run. The extra point made the score 27-12, which is where the half ended.
The Eagles blew the game open in the third quarter, scoring on two long touchdown drives on a nine-yard run from running back Demetrius Bronson. The other came with just seconds left in the quarter as Adams hit running back Mario Brown for a six-yard score. The score at the end of the third quarter was 41-12 in favor to the Eagles.
“We came out focused and felt confident in the second half,” Chipoletti said. “We just didn’t finish when we needed to, and that was the tipping point for us.”
WSU again went on the offensive, this time being aided by a penalty to give it a fresh set of downs. Chipoletti hit wide receiver Erik Walker for a 40-yard pass that put the Wildcats near the goal line. Running back Bo Bolen drove the ball in, taking the score to 41-19.
“We were able to sustain some drives against a very good defense and were better on turnover margin, and that was a big emphasis for us,” Sears said. “We have to continue to execute and get better, stay the course and be consistent.”
Chipoletti finished the game 17-27 for 140 yards and one touchdown. Booker led the Wildcats with 42 yards rushing with a touchdown. Adams finished the game 16-23 for 194 yards and four touchdowns. Brown finished the game with 98 rushing yards and one receiving touchdown for the Eagles.
The Wildcats will again be on the road next week as they take on California Polytechnic State University at 8 p.m. Mountain Daylight Time. The game will be broadcast on AM 1430 and can be watched live on www.bigskytv.org.