In its final road trip of the season, the Weber State University football team will head to Missoula, Mont., to face the No. 7-ranked University of Montana Grizzlies. The game will be held at noon on Saturday at Washington-Grizzly Stadium.
“(WSU) could have very easily won their game last week,” said UM head coach Mick Delaney at a conference call Wednesday. “They had a few turnovers down the stretch. We’re expecting them to come here and play their best football, like everybody seems to do against Montana. We’ll have to be at our best and play a lot more consistently than we have the last two weeks.”
The Grizzlies are coming off of a come-from-behind win against the University of South Dakota, registering their third comeback win in the last four games. Trailing by three with less than two minutes to go in the game after a USD field goal, UM returned the kickoff 98 yards for the game-winning touchdown, giving it a 31-27 win.
The Wildcats are coming off of a 27-21 loss to Southern Utah University. The Wildcats trailed 24-7 midway through the fourth quarter, but had two quick touchdown drives to cut the game to six points. The Thunderbirds recovered the onside kick, ending the game.
“There’s no question about the things that we did good and the things we improved on,” said WSU head coach Jody Sears. “But we have to continue to build on them. We have to stay the course, stay committed and dedicated to win every day — not hitting the panic button. I think we raised the standard today.”
As of late, UM has dominated the Wildcats, winning 13 of its last 15 games against WSU and 13 straight in Missoula. The Wildcats had a victory snatched away from them last season against the Grizzlies, losing on a late touchdown pass. The game ended 27-24.
Delaney praised the work Sears has done and said he was impressed with the progress WSU has made in the last few weeks.
“Weber State is probably the most improved team in the conference,” Delaney said. “In the last three weeks they’ve been playing solid and playing hard. You have to give credit to Jody there. They’ve struggled for a win since that first week. They still come out every week and play hard.”
The Wildcats played well in the first half of the game against SUU, especially on defense. WSU senior linebacker Anthony Morales said it was probably their best half of football this season.
“I think defensively it was (our best),” he said. “We could have done a better job of getting turnovers. Our goal every game is to get at least three. We need to keep working on that. It’s just finishing. It’s just going to take a will to win and playing four full quarters.”
As it has every week, the team has faith it can get a win. It isn’t just about breaking the losing streak.
“Every game you want to win,” said WSU cornerback Deon’tae Florence. “It’s not about the past, it’s not about the next game; it’s about right now. You just want to go out and win the play. You want to win every single play, because that play has the potential to be your last.”
Saturday’s game is also a homecoming of sorts. WSU offensive coordinator Robin Pflugrad was the head coach of UM for two seasons before being let go two seasons ago. It will be his first game back in Montana since then.
The game will be broadcast on 1430 AM. It can also be seen free online at http://www.americaonesports.com/bigsky.asp.