The Weber State University football team ended their season as the Wildcats fell 45–14 to University of Tennessee Chattanooga on Nov. 26 in the first round of the NCAA FCS Playoffs at Finley Stadium.
Earlier in the week on Nov. 21, tragedy struck the city of Chattanooga when a school bus crashed, killing six children and injuring several others.
In addition to preparing for the game, the Weber State football team offered their support to the victims of the accident.
“Earlier this year, my wife was diagnosed with cancer,” Hill said. “We had a team earlier in the year reach out and support us. Playing in Chattanooga this weekend provides our program a great avenue to pay that support forward. I will be the first to donate, and I’m calling on all Wildcat fans to support as well.”
A little under $9,000 has been raised thus-far.
“Athletics is a vehicle to bring people together for something bigger than the game, and this is an opportunity for all of us to come together and think about others,” Jerry Bovee, Weber State’s director of athletics, told Weber State Athletics prior to beginning the fundraiser. “This is an awful tragedy, and we want to do our part to support them.”
Donations are still being accepted, and all proceeds will go directly to the families involved in the accident.
This marked the fifth time that Weber State football advanced to the FCS Playoffs in school history, the first time since 2009.
UTC capitalized on five Wildcat turnovers, converting the turnovers into 24 points.
“Chattanooga is a really good football team, and you can’t turn the ball over five times against a good team like that,” WSU head coach Jay Hill told Weber State Athletics in a post-game interview. “That was the difference in the game. We played well at times. We just had moments that really hurt our momentum.”
UTC totaled 383 offensive yards, compared to Weber State’s 306, and Chattanooga ran for 229 yards compared to WSU’s 69.
Senior quarterback Jadrian Clark threw for 210 yards and one touchdown and was WSU’s top rusher with 28 yards. Clark finished third in Weber State history in total offensive yards and fourth in passing yards.
Junior wide receiver Drew Batchelor had eight catches for 79 yards and was the top receiver for WSU on the night. Following Batchelor was junior tight end Andrew Vollert with five catches for 83 yards.
On the defensive side, freshman defensive end Jonah Williams had two sacks, senior Tre’von Johnson and junior Cardon Malan each recording one, totaling a season-high of four sacks.
“This was a really good experience for our team, and I’m proud of what this team has accomplished,” Hill told Weber State Athletics. “We have to go back and work harder to get ready to do it next year.”
Weber State concluded their season 7–5 overall, 6–2 in the Big Sky Conference.