Wildcats romp rivals

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Weber State University reciever Shaydon Kehano catches a pass in the endzone to score a touchdown in the Homecoming Game against Idaho State University on Saturday night. WSU won 39-12. WSU will stay at Stewart Stadium and face off to Southern Utah University on Oct. 22.

The day after Head Coach Ron McBride’s 72nd birthday, the Weber State University football team dominated rival Idaho State University at Stewart Stadium, running away with a 39-12 victory.

After a tough first half, which saw WSU commit nine penalties, the Wildcats turned it around in the second half and ran away with the game.

Despite the impressive win, McBride said that as a coach, there are no stress-free games.

“Saturdays are never fun, you know, because it’s gut-wrenching,” McBride said. “You sit over there and sometimes you ask yourself, ‘What the hell am I doing?’ Especially in the first quarter, I get so pissed off —excuse my language — at the penalties.”

WSU struggled with penalties early in the game, committing three penalties on ISU’s first drive of the game. The Bengals got into Wildcat territory thanks to WSU’s mistakes; the Wildcats committed three penalties on third down to extend the ISU drive. Anthony Boyles caught a pass from Kevin Yost to take the ball inside the 20-yard line for the Bengals.

ISU went for it on fourth and goal from the one-yard line, and was able to score the first touchdown of the game on a Aaron Prier one-yard touchdown run.

The Wildcat offense answered well on their next possession. Barrinton Collins sparked the WSU offense and broke a 17-yard run down the side of the field; Collins would have scored had he not stepped out of bounds.

WSU’s defense looked better as the quarter progressed. After a punt from Josh Kealamakia pinned the Bengals deep in their side of the field, Caldwell Taylor sacked Yost for a safety, and WSU’s first points of the game.

Taylor had a big game defensively for the Wildcats; along with recording the safety, he blocked two punts.

Early in the second quarter, Hoke, who had thrown 196 consecutive passes without an interception, saw his streak come to an end. The Wildcats attempted a flea-flicker and Hoke threw the ball deep, but it was picked off by Donovan Henley. Hoke’s streak was the longest in the nation.

The Wildcats took the lead for the first time in the game halfway through the second quarter when Hoke connected with Kehano for a 56-yard touchdown pass. Kehano was wide open on the side of the field, and was able to run into the end zone untouched.

Hoke said he felt Kehano was so wide open that he felt nervous throwing the pass.

“Those throws are scary when they’re too wide open,” Hoke said. “You don’t want to overthrow it or underthrow it, so those ones are tough.”

Late in the first half, Trevor Pletcher broke through the ISU defense and blocked a punt, which was recovered by WSU on the 16-yard line. Sean McClain kicked a field goal with a minute left in the half to give the Wildcats the 12-6 lead. WSU tacked on three more points before halftime, taking a 15-6 lead into the half.

While the first half was close, with ISU fighting to keep it close, the second half was all WSU.

On WSU’s first drive of the second half, Hoke found Kehano wide open on the right side of the field again. Kehano caught the pass in stride and took it down the field for an 83-yard touchdown pass, helping the Wildcats to a 22-6 lead.

Kehano said that on both of the passes, Hoke did a great job setting the play up.

“It was just a good checkout by Mike,” Kehano said. “We’d seen the coverage that we wanted to have, and Mike did a perfect job calling that play, and it worked perfectly . . .  I was real surprised. I mean, as soon as the ball was in the air, I was like, ‘Touchdown, thank you.’”

Rodrick Rumble tried to get something started for the ISU offense in the third quarter. Rumble caught two passes to lead the Bengals into the red zone. Rumble capped off the drive by pulling down a pass in the corner of the end zone to cut the WSU lead to 10 points.

After a fairly quiet first half, Tanner Hinds broke a big run through the middle of the field, taking the ball down to the 10-yard line. The Wildcats extended their lead on a Tyrell Francisco catch in the middle of the end zone.

Following Taylor’s second punt block of the game, Collins caught an 18-yard pass to increase the WSU lead to 24 points.

Rumble caught his 13th pass of the game late in the third quarter, taking the ball down to the 10-yard line. But the Bengals failed to convert a fourth down attempt and turned the ball over. Despite Rumble’s best efforts, the Bengals weren’t able to make the game close.

The final highlight of the night came with less than two minutes left in the game. Jarrett Goodson nearly ran a punt back for a touchdown, breaking free and taking the ball deep into ISU’s territory.

The Wildcats closed out a 39-12 win over ISU, improving to 3-1 in Big Sky Conference play. WSU will next face off against Southern Utah University next Saturday at Stewart Stadium.