What used to seem like an impossible feat, beating Weber State University at home, was turning into a regular occurrence for visiting teams this season. The ‘Cats were winless at home before hosting the University of Northern Colorado on Nov. 20, handing the Bears a 48–17 loss.
“It was do or die in my mind,” Conner Mortensen said. “We have been so solid at home. We had to come out and put on for Ogden, put on for our hometown. Losing wasn’t an option.”
Concluding their seventh-straight winning season, the Wildcats found three of their touchdowns with interceptions from Desmond Williams, Braxton Gunther and Mortensen.
The first half looked to be a close contest between the two teams, the first quarter was tied 3–3 after Kyle Thompson’s 27-yard field goal and Ben Raybon answered for the Bears with five minutes left and after a 25-yard field goal tied the game.
Sherwin Lavaka was ejected shortly after the Wildcats’ field goal on the Bears following drive after a targeting call.
Dylan McCaffrey started at quarterback for UNC but did not return to the field after Lavaka’s hit.
With their second-string QB in, the Bears found their first lead of the game off of a 29-yard pass from Alec Lewis to Kassidy Woods. After the extra point, the Bears led 10–3 with 9:17 left in the second quarter.
On the following drive, Raybon had an onside kick that he recovered after it bounced off of BJ Taufalele.
The ‘Cats were quick to answer back with Williams’ interception and a 65-yard return, the first of three defensive touchdowns of the day. The game was tied up at 10–10 with 8:18 in the second.
UNC was quick to answer back, with Lewis finding Dylan Thomas for a 63-yard touchdown a little over two minutes later. The Bears re-established their lead at 17–10 with 6:02 on the clock.
Weber State didn’t find their next scoring opportunity until Bronson Barron found Justin Malone for an 8-yard touchdown with 45 seconds on the clock.
UNC wasn’t able to capitalize on their following drive, and what looked to be a tie game at the half quickly changed.
The Wildcats got possession of the ball with 14 seconds left, and on second-and-8, Barron found Haze Hadley for a 53 yard touchdown pushing the ‘Cats to 24–17 headed into halftime.
“Super proud of how our team handled a little bit of a slow start,” head coach Jay Hill said.” To have them rally behind what was going on and play so good after that was critical.”
Gunther was quick to set the tone for the ‘Cats with an interception and a 47-yard return for a touchdown with 13:11 remaining in the third quarter.
Clay Moss was the next Wildcat to find themselves in the end zone for a touchdown after an 8-yard run less than two minutes later.
After both touchdowns, the ‘Cats led 38–17 with 11:40 in the third quarter.
Thompson was sent out to attempt a 43-yard field goal, his second of the game, and pushed the Wildcats to 41–17.
The final score of the game came in the third quarter after Mortensen returned a 50-yard interception and closed out the game 48–17.
Barron was 14 of 21 and finished with 155 passing yards alongside two touchdowns, Dontae McMillan led the squad with 49 rushing yards.
Taufalele and Winston Reid led the ‘Cats’ defense with eight tackles apiece, and Mortensen was close behind with six.
The Wildcats’ season ended with their win against UNC after not making it to the playoffs.