Junior punter Blake O'Neill prepares to punt the ball in the Wildcats' home-opener against North Dakota State earlier this season. O'Neill led the team in rushing on Saturday with a 23-yard run, and also completed a 17-yard pass, while also averaging 42.8 yards on four punts.   (Lichelle Jenkins / The Signpost)
Junior punter Blake O’Neill prepares to punt the ball in the Wildcats’ home-opener against North Dakota State earlier this season. O’Neill led the team in rushing on Saturday with a 23-yard run, and also completed a 17-yard pass, while also averaging 42.8 yards on four punts.
(Lichelle Jenkins / The Signpost)

Despite a solid defensive performance, the Weber State football team fell to 0-7 on the season as they lost at Montana State 23-13 on Saturday.

The Wildcats were able to keep the score close early in the game, as they did not allow any points in the first quarter for the first time this season. The Bobcats came out and scored a touchdown early in the third quarter to extend their lead to 14-3, and a costly personal foul penalty by Weber State extended the MSU drive, allowing them to score to make it 20-3.

The Wildcats had an opportunity to score again, but a fumbled punt recovery led to the Bobcats scoring a field goal to go up 23-13, and then a fumble by sophomore quarterback Jadrian Clark just inside the two-minute warning sealed the win for Montana State.

“This is one of the most frustrating losses for us,” WSU head coach Jay Hill said. “We were moving the ball well in the fourth quarter but we fumbled when we had a chance. We had a bunch of missed opportunities and that has defined our season. We battled but we didn’t get it done.”

After back-to-back games of at least 50 points scored and 600 yards total offense, the Bobcats were held to 23 points and 464 yards of total offense by the Wildcats’ defense. Sophomore safety Josh Burton led the defense with 10 total tackles, including eight solo tackles. The difference-maker on the WSU defense though was senior defensive end Dustin Martin, who had eight tackles in the game, including three tackles for a loss and a sack. Martin also came up with the Wildcats second fumble recovery of the season, after knocking the ball loose from Bobcats’ quarterback Dakota Prukop.

The running game never fully materialized for the Wildcats on Saturday, as junior punter Blake O’Neill led the team in rushing after faking a punt and taking off down the sideline for a 23-yard run. Sophomore running back Zach Smith and senior running back Bo Bolen combined for 26 yards rushing, with Bolen scoring the only Wildcat touchdown in the loss.

O’Neill also gained some yards through the air, as he faked another punt before connecting with defensive tackle McKay Murphy for a 17-yard gain to convert on fourth down.

The Wildcats had two 100-yard passers in the loss, as quarterback Billy Green completed 18 of 28 passes for 188 yards and an interception before Clark came on in the fourth quarter and completed six of his 10 pass attempts for 142 yards.

Weber State (0-7, 0-3 conference) returns home for their next two games, as they host Portland State (2-5, 1-2 conference) on Saturday at 1 p.m. and Northern Arizona (4-3, 2-1 conference) on Nov. 1 at 1 p.m.

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