The long-awaited kickoff to the 2021 season will take place in Pocatello on Feb. 27 where the Wildcats take on the Idaho State Bengals.
The last time the Weber State Wildcats football team played in a game, the team took a loss in the FCS semifinals against James Madison University on Dec. 21, 2019. WSU will have been on the bench for over 400 days since last time they saw game action.
“I feel like we’re there,” Jay Hill, Wildcats head coach, said. “Players are ready to go, they’re sick of practicing against each other. They’re ready for an opponent.”
The Big Sky Conference released the preseason poll in July 2020 that dubbed the Wildcats as the preseason favorite at No. 1 in the conference, with the Bengals landing at 11th.
“Rob Pehnicie is a fabulous coach. He has done a great job on both sides of the ball,” said Hill. “They’re [ISU] better right now offensively and defensively than in years past.”
Preparing for Feb. 27, there is a toss-up between who will start at QB for the Wildcats. On Feb. 22, the depth chart for the game was released, with two players in the quarterback slot: Freshman Bronson Barron, a Utah native out of American Fork, and junior Randall Johnson, a transfer from Middle Tennessee State.
“Randall is a strong-armed guy, he can chuck it a mile,” said Hill. “He’s big, he’ll be hard to tackle, he’s competitive and will take a hit.”
Josh Davis, WSU’s two-time running back is returning to the field for his third season with the Wildcats. Davis had a total of 88 rushing yards in 2019 in addition to 128 rushing yards and one touch down in 2018 against ISU. In the 2019 match-up, Davis tallied his 1,000 rushing yards for the season and moved up Weber State’s all-time rushing list.
“It’s been a long time since we’ve prepared for a game week,” Davis said. “We’re doing the best we can to prepare for this game.”
In the Wildcats’ most recent matchup against the Bengals on Nov. 23, 2019, Weber State defeated ISU 38–10.
WSU’s quarterback, Jake Constantine, recorded three season highs. He went for 16–23 and had 289 passing yards, his longest longest pass of 69 yards and four passing touchdowns.
The win secured the Wildcats’ third straight Big Sky Championship title. Idaho State has not won a title since 2002.
Both teams have belonged to the Big Sky Conference since 1963, and this will be the 60th game played between the two schools.
Overall, the Wildcats hold a record of 44–15 over Idaho State. This is a 23–5 home record and a 21–10 record in Pocatello. WSU has won their last five games against the Bengals and their last loss was in 2014 in Hill’s debut season as head coach.
The rivalry will also take place in Ogden this year. The Wildcats will still close out the regular season play with their final game also being against ISU where they will host the Bengals at Stewart Stadium on April 10.