On a dark and gloomy Saturday night, the Wildcats of Weber State University were anything but glum, overwhelming the UC Davis Aggies 41–3 on homecoming night and making history in the process.
The Wildcats struck early and often, building a commanding 31–3 lead before halftime during the Sept. 23 affair.
After surrendering a field goal on the Aggies’ opening drive, the offense kept the Wildcats in the game by executing early. Senior quarterback and captain Stefan Cantwell set the tone for the game by connecting with redshirt freshman wide receiver Rashid Shaheed for a 67-yard touchdown pass on the ’Cats opening drive.
Cantwell said, “We really liked the formation we have against their defense and that aspect. When we ran the play, things kind of just matched up, and we saw they were running their corners and safeties really low, so I decided to take a shot and it worked out for us.”
Cantwell strategically spread the ball around all game, connecting for touchdowns with Shaheed and senior tight end Andrew Vollert.
Running back Treshawn Garrett had a historic night, setting the new school record for longest rushing touchdown in Weber State history. Garrett took a handoff from the Weber State two-yard-line and never looked back, scampering into the end zone untouched.
The 98-yard touchdown run was also the longest offensive play in Weber State history. The previous record was a 97-yard run by former Weber State running back Chad Drecksel, in 1974.
Garrett said, “Well, Coach Q (running backs’ coach Quinton Ganther) the entire week was talking about if you cut it backside, it would be open; it’ll be a touchdown. So, in my head I was just thinking ‘hit the backside,’ and I ended up doing it and it was there.”
Weber State’s only loss so far came in a narrow defeat at the hands of Pac-12 Conference darling, the University of California Golden Bears.
Both teams entered the game with a 2–1 record, with the Aggies’ only loss coming at the hands of San Diego State.
The atmosphere prior to the game was electric, as fans were applying face paint and tailgating while players danced and bobbed their heads to pre-game music blasting through the stadium speakers.
The pre-game entertainment was capped off with people parachuting through the sky, leaving trails of purple in the air.
The rain and thunder was not enough to deter fans as they flocked to the game draped in blankets and covered by umbrellas, determined to watch the Wildcats compete in their first Big Sky matchup of the season.
WSU head coach Jay Hill gushed over the UC Davis football team and how great it felt to see his players perform so well on homecoming night.
“It was a good showing in offense, defense and special teams. I thought they fought, they clawed, they dug and although it wasn’t always pretty, the defense bent a few times but never broke, and that is a very talented football team,” Hill said.
Cantwell ended the night with 205 yards passing and three touchdowns. Garrett ended the night with 122 yards rushing and one touchdown to pace the Wildcats on the ground.
The special teams’ highlight of the night was an 84-yard punt return for a touchdown in the second quarter by senior Xequille Harry.
Harry said, “It felt great to get the first one out of the way. I’m very thankful for my punt return team in doing their job and holding up and allowing me to spring for a touchdown.”
Weber State now holds a 4–2 all-time series lead over UC Davis and has won the last three match-ups between the two.
For the team and fans alike, seeing the Wildcats dominate their opponents brought hope for a similar outcome to 2008’s conference championship, but they are conscious that humility is key.
“We’re proud of that. We want people to take recognition to us because that’s what I want for the players,” Hill said. “I want them to get recognized when they play great and stuff like that, but here’s what I know: If you start patting yourself on the back, you’re going to fall fast. We can’t do that.”
The Wildcats will rely upon their hard work, their humility and their tenacity to navigate through Big Sky Conference play as they look to take on Montana State on the road on Sept. 30.