The Weber State football team couldn’t capitalize on their opportunities and came up short again in a back-and-forth homecoming game against Cal Poly, 30-24.
In front of a rowdy homecoming crowd, the Wildcats came out of the gates strong with a 54-yard kickoff return by senior captain Bo Bolen. The momentum soon changed for Weber State, as the Wildcats continued their first quarter struggles with an early interception.
What was very surprising was the offense’s inability to move the ball through the air. In the past four games of the year, Weber State has been able to put up big passing numbers thanks primarily to their sophomore quarterback, Billy Green. Green struggled against the Cal Poly defense, throwing for a season-low 97 passing yards. Green was able to complete 16 of his 23 passes, though the early interception appeared to influence his decision making the rest of the game.
“We’re not throwing the ball for enough yards per attempt,” said WSU head coach Jay Hill. “The key stat is yards per attempt, and we’re not doing high enough right now. I thought Billy got a little bit gun shy after the first pick.”
The Wildcats and Mustangs traded scores back-and-forth in the second quarter, beginning with a 90-yard Weber State drive, capped off by a 4-yard touchdown pass from Green to senior wide receiver Shaydon Kehano.
It didn’t take long for Cal Poly to respond thanks in part to a 59-yard pass that set up the Mustangs at Weber State’s 5-yard line. The defense held up strong, holding the Mustangs out of the end zone at their own 1 yard line. But on a pivotal fourth down, the Mustangs quarterback Chris Brown took the ball and ran up the middle for a touchdown.
The very next play from scrimmage, Weber State running back Zach Smith took a handoff to the left side for what appeared to be a 10-yard pick-up. Smith appeared to be tackled around the 40-yard line, but somehow was able to roll over the tacking defender, and sprint 60 yards down the sideline to the cheers and enjoyment of the homecoming crowd. The 70-yard rushing touchdown, a career best for Smith, gave Weber State a 14-10 lead with only 4:20 left in the first half, but a Weber State fumble led to the Mustangs scoring just before halftime to take a 17-14 lead.
A season-long 40-yard field goal for junior kicker Josh Kealamakia coming on the heels of the Wildcats’ first fumble recovery of the season by defensive tackle Likio Pope tied the game at17-17, but Cal Poly retook the lead on a misdirection play that saw Brown walk into the endzone for the score. A 94-yard kickoff return touchdown from senior Bo Bolen would be the last time the Wildcats would score, as the Mustangs held on to spoil the Wildcats’ homecoming.
The Wildcats (0-6, 0-2 conference) will be on the road for their next game, as they play at Montana State (5-2, 3-0 conference) on Saturday.