In a game filled with firsts, the Weber State football team couldn’t pick up the most important first. The Wildcats came away without a win once again in a 30-17 loss to Portland State on Saturday.
The loss dropped the Wildcats to 0-8 on the season. It is the first time since 2004 that the Wildcats were 0-8, and the third time in team history they reached that mark. Weber State also dropped to 0-8 during the 1975 season.
“Losing sucks,” said senior running back Bo Bolen. “We’re all just tired of losing.”
Portland State took the early lead, as a pass from Kieran McDonagh managed to get deflected by WSU cornerback Cordero Dixon into the hands of Darnell Adams to make it 7-0. The Wildcats quickly responded on a trick play, where quarterback Jadrian Clark pitched the ball to running back Bo Bolen, who took it to the left side where he pitched it to wide receiver Shaydon Kehano, who fired the ball across the field to Clark for a 20-yard touchdown reception. The touchdown pass was the first pass attempt of Kehano’s career.
The Wildcats failed to score in the second quarter, as Portland State jumped out to a 13-7 lead by halftime. The Vikings never slowed down after that, as they outscored the Wildcats 17-10 in the second half to come away with the victory.
“As a team we just have to get over this. We got to stick together, we can’t be pointing fingers, we can’t be getting down on each other,” Kehano said. “It’s hard as a team, but at the same time we got to stick together and stay positive.”
Weber State suffered a big scare halfway through the first quarter, as leading tackler Emmett Tela and safety Jawian Harrison collided on a tackle that left both players down on the field. Harrison was able to get up and walk off the field under his own power after a few minutes, but Tela was eventually carted off the field.
“Last I heard, he was going in for an MRI. They were very optimistic he was going to be OK,” Hill said. “They were thinking stinger, but again the MRI was going to reveal exactly what was going on, and that’s where he was heading. They said he was moving everything, which is obviously a blessing to me and it was a huge relief to hear that he was moving everything.”
After putting up a flashy performance in the second half of the Wildcats’ loss to Montana State, Clark got his first start of the season against Portland State. Clark went 7-13 for 97 yards and an interception before being pulled halfway through the third quarter for Billy Green. Green finished the game 14-24 for 196 yards an interception and a touchdown. Clark also had 19 yards rushing on four attempts, as well as 20 yards receiving and a touchdown.
“We’ve got a lot to work on, that’s no doubt. I’ve got a lot to continue to fix. We got to be a tougher football team,” Hill said. “We got to be more demanding as coaches, on ourselves and on our players. Right now we’re making too many mistakes on things that we shouldn’t be making mistakes on.”
Freshman wide receiver Darryl Denby had his best game of the year, catching five passes for a career-high 100 yards, including his first career touchdown.
One bright spot in the loss came from Bolen, who became the Big Sky Conference career kickoff return leader when he returned his 101st career kickoff. Bolen returned three kickoffs in the loss for 73 yards, including a game-long 46-yard kickoff return early in the second quarter. Bolen also led the team in rushing with 38 yards on nine attempts. He needs just six more rushing yards to pass his former teammate Josh Booker for ninth place in WSU history for career rushing yards.
The Wildcats (0-8, 0-4 conference) will stay in Ogden for their next game, as they host the Northern Arizona Lumberjacks (5-3, 3-1 conference) on Saturday at 1 p.m. as they look for their first win. Hill said that there’s work that needs to be done, but he has high hopes for the future.
“Again I’ll never blame the players. I won’t do it. I don’t believe in that. The coaches got to get it fixed starting with me. The coordinators got to do a better job getting the players in position to make the plays, and I got to do a better job of helping the coordinators do that,” Hill said. “I love our coaching staff. I love these players. There’s so many positives about what they do, that I’m encouraged about the future, I’m just frustrated at our current situation, that’s obvious.”