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WSU preps for border war

Associated Press
Weber State University receiver Xavian Johnson tries to break free of a Utah State University defender during a game earlier this season. The Wildcats will take on Idaho State University on Saturday.

After a week off of game situations, Weber State University’s football team will play this Saturday against conference rival Idaho State University in the homecoming game.

“We had the bye week and had a chance to rest up, and to get our legs back under us and get after it in practice,” said Kamaal Ahmad, assistant football coach. “We’ve been working as hard as we can work, making sure we do everything that we need to do.”

WSU sits at 2-1 in the Big Sky Conference after beating Sacramento State University and Northern Colorado University and falling to Eastern Washington University. WSU will now play four of the next five games at home, after playing the first four out of five games on the road.

WSU is 22-27 in homecoming games. A pre-game carnival and tailgate party will be held in the parking lot north of the stadium. There will also be post-game fireworks. WSU has played ISU eight times for homecoming games. WSU has won six of the last eight, and this will be the first time facing ISU in a homecoming game since 1986.

“Homecoming is more of a reason for us to maintain our destiny,” said sophomore Robbie Diamond. “It’s our home field, and we don’t want another university to come in and take our glory, so we play twice as hard.”

This weekend is Head Coach Ron McBride’s 72nd birthday. This makes him the sixth-oldest head football coach in the National Collegiate Athletic Association.

WSU Assistant Coach John Zamberlin served as ISU’s head coach for the last three seasons. He coached the ISU Bengals from 2007-10. He is currently the defensive tackle coach for the WSU Wildcats.

“They’re a good team,” Ahmad said. “Coach Zamberlin, he’s with us now, but he recruited a lot of those guys, and they’ve brought in a few guys who are real good and they do a good job.”

Saturday’s game will be the 51st meeting between WSU and ISU. WSU holds 36-14 over ISU. The Wildcats have won eight straight and 14 out of the last 15. WSU leads 18-5 all-time and has won 12 straight at home in Ogden, Utah. ISU last beat WSU at Stewart Stadium in 1984.

ISU has a 2-4 overall record and a 1-3 record in the Big Sky Conference. ISU played the University of Montana last week and lost in a 33-0 shutout. The Bengals are currently ranked seventh in the Big Sky.

The offense has gotten ready for ISU this week in practice.

“For the offense, we’re going to run the ball and run all over them,” said Captain J.C. Oram. “Once they start stopping the run, then we’re going to throw the ball over them and score a lot of points on them.”

Next week, the Wildcats will stay home, but take a break from Big Sky Conference play. WSU will host Southern Utah University at 4 p.m. on Oct. 22 in the annual Blackout Game. It will be the first meeting with SUU since 2006. SUU will be joining the Big Sky Conference next season.

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