The Weber State football team picked up their first home win of the year on Senior Day against Northern Colorado on Saturday, as the Wildcats’ seniors put together some of their best performances of the year in the 34-21 victory.
“(I’m) super excited for the seniors and especially how those guys played,” said WSU head coach Jay Hill. “I couldn’t be happier to send those guys out with the win at home, going on a two-game win streak. They deserve this win because they were a big part of the reason we got it.”
Coming off their first win of the season the previous week at North Dakota, the Wildcats came home and blew past the Bears for their first win in Ogden since last year’s season finale against Idaho State. The win was also the first time Weber State defeated Northern Colorado in Stewart Stadium since Sept. 11, 2010 when the Wildcats came away with a quadruple overtime 50-47 win.
“(The win) just builds momentum for our program. As a young team with a new coaching staff, we’re just gonna keep rolling into the next game and the next season,” said senior WSU defensive end Dustin Martin. “We’ve been on the edge every single week, and we’ve just finally been able to put it all together.”
The win also came on a historic day for the Wildcats. Former WSU quarterback Jamie Martin was on the field during halftime as Weber State officially retired his jersey. Martin became the first Wildcat in school history in any sport to have his jersey retired.
Senior running back Bo Bolen played a major part of the Wildcats’ success on offense in his final game at Stewart Stadium, as he rushed for 143 yards and a touchdown on 25 attempts. On a 27-yard touchdown run in the third quarter, Bolen became the ninth player in team history to reach 2,000 career rushing yards. Bolen became the first Wildcat to reach the mark since WSU career rushing leader Trevyn Smith passed 2,000 yards as a sophomore in 2007. Bolen is currently ninth in team history for career rushing yards, and is only six yards away from passing Geoff Mitchell for eighth place all-time. After the game, Bolen said that it felt weird for him to realize that he had played his final game in Stewart Stadium.
“It hit me today that my college career playing at home is done,” Bolen said. “I was a little emotional before the game; I was a little emotional after the game. It’s kind of crazy that it’s over here at Weber State.”
In his fourth start of the season since replacing Billy Green, sophomore Jadrian Clark set a new career-high with 251 passing yards one week after throwing for a then career-high 235 yards. Clark completed 16 of 25 pass attempts for three touchdowns and two interceptions. Two of Clark’s touchdowns went to junior Kamana Kaimikaua for his first career in a multi-touchdown game. Kaimikaua finished the game with four receptions for 73 yards and two touchdowns.
Senior Shaydon Kehano caught four passes for 58 yards, but his biggest play came off an interception in the third quarter. On the third play of the half, Clark threw an interception to Northern Colorado sophomore Taylor Risner who appeared to have an open lane to take the interception back for a touchdown. Kehano chased after him, and just before Risner crossed into the endzone, Kehano punched the ball out of Risner’s hands and out the back of the endzone for a touchback, giving the ball back to Weber State.
“It was a big momentum change. When the defender caught the ball, I (saw) the ball just waving, so much open space,” Kehano said. “So I just waited for the right opportunity to punch it out and that’s what I did, and fortunately we got that touchback and we got the ball back. It was a good shot I guess. It was a cool play.”
Kehano wasn’t the only senior to have big plays on defense, as Dustin Martin had eight total tackles-three for a loss-blocked a punt, and forced a fumble and recovered the loose ball during Northern Colorado’s second drive of the game, which led directly to the Wildcats scoring to take a 14-7 lead. Senior cornerback Deon’tae Florence had a big game as well, as he recovered a fumble and caught his third interception of the season.
The Wildcats (2-9, 2-5 conference) will wrap up their season on the road on Saturday as they face the Idaho State Bengals (7-4, 5-2 conference) in Pocatello, Idaho at 2:30 p.m. As the season comes to a close, Bolen says he is disappointed that this is his final season, as he feels that the team is beginning to turn things around and will do well in the future.
“It just sucks, because I feel like the team has turned a corner, and I was talking with some of my roommates and I told them the Coach Hill era has begun when they were asking me if (the team) was going to win or lose,” Bolen said. “And what I mean by that is I expect them to be good from here on out. It just sucks that I’m done now, because I promise that Coach Hill is going to win a championship while he’s here.”