Coming off of a narrow loss to Southern Utah University last week, the Weber State University football team looked to stop its nine-game losing streak with its game against the University of Montana on Saturday. The Wildcats were in the game in the first half, but gave up 28 unanswered points in the second, losing 42-6.
“Consistency and turnovers cost us today,” said WSU head coach Jody Sears. “I thought we made the adjustments we needed to; we just had some missed tackles in the second half and made too many mistakes.”
WSU quarterback Austin Chipoletti finished the game 18-36 for 185 yards and three interceptions. UM running back Jordan Canada finished the game with 189 yards and two touchdowns.
“We were looking to come out and make a statement,” said UM offensive lineman Danny Kistler Jr. “We were lucky to put ourselves in enough run-down situations where we could continue to run the ball and be successful there.”
The Wildcat offense could not have played more poorly and their defense could not have played much better in the first quarter.
After a pair of punts, the Wildcats had the ball deep in their own zone. After gaining about 27 yards, the Wildcats faced a third-down play. Chipoletti dropped back to pass, and, while looking left, the Grizzlies’ defense brought a delayed blitz and stripped the ball away. UM recovered it at the 35-yard line.
The Wildcat defense held firm. After giving up a big play to put UM at the 6-yard line, the Wildcats held the Grizzlies to a 21-yard field goal attempt, which went wide left.
The Wildcats took over, looking to regain their momentum, but on another third down, Chipoletti dropped back and was picked off by linebacker John Kanongata’a, who returned the ball to the 11-yard line.
The Grizzlies punched the ball into the end zone on a fourth-down pass from quarterback Jordan Johnson to wide receiver Cam Warren. The Wildcats once again played tough defense, hitting the ball carrier near the goal line. Warren powered his way to the line and just got the ball to break the plane. That gave the Grizzlies a 7-0 lead.
The Wildcats again were marching down the field on their next possession. After a big play that put them into Grizzly territory, Chipoletti overthrew running back Bo Bolen by a few yards, and UM picked the ball off.
The Wildcats’ defense once again held the Grizzlies in check. After giving up a first down, the Grizzlies went for it on fourth down and the pass was incomplete.
With good field position, the Wildcats took advantage and drove the ball into the red zone. But the Grizzlies’ defense responded by holding the Wildcats to a 21-yard field goal. That brought the score to 7-3.
On the subsequent drive, the Grizzlies finally had their way with the WSU defense. They went on a 10-play, 75-yard touchdown drive. The ball was punched in on a 2-yard run by running back John Nguyen, giving UM a 14-3 lead.
“The coaches put us in a position to make plays,” said WSU linebacker Roman Valenzuela. “We just missed too many tackles today.”
After trading punts for the majority of the second quarter, the Grizzlies again got a drive going near the end of the first half. They drove the ball into field goal range, but once again missed the field goal.
The Wildcats put together a quick drive, calling timeout with just four seconds left. WSU placekicker Shaun McClain had plenty of leg, making the 50-yard field goal that sent the Wildcats into halftime down by just eight.
The floodgates opened in the third quarter as the Grizzlies powered through the Wildcat defense, scoring two touchdowns. The first came on an 80-yard touchdown run from Canada, tying a UM record. The next drive was a 57-yard touchdown drive, giving the Grizzlies a 28-6 lead headed into the fourth quarter.
The Grizzlies added two more touchdowns in the fourth, ending the game at 42-6.
The Wildcats will now return home to face Idaho State University on Saturday in the last game of the season. The game will start at 1 p.m. at Stewart Stadium.