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WSU travels to Montana for Big Sky Clash

[media-credit name=”Bryan Butterfield” align=”alignright” width=”300″][/media-credit]
Weber State University’s Josh Booker cuts up field to elude a defender during a game earlier this year. WSU will take on the Univeristy of Montana on Saturday.
After suffering their first home defeat of the season, the Weber State University Football team, will head to Montana this week, where they will face off against the No. 11 team in the nation, the University of Montana Grizzlies.

Director of Football Operations Kamaal Ahmad said that he is looking forward to the game with Montana, and that it’s always special to travel to Washington and play in the Grizzly Stadium.

“We are playing in one of the best college football atmospheres in the country,” Ahmad said. “We have started a great rivalry with Montana. Both teams will be ready to play. It should be a great game.”

In order for WSU to have a chance at the playoffs, they will need to close out the season without suffering another loss. Linebacker Mo Neal said, adversity is something the team is familiar with.

“Personally,” Neal said. “I feel like a lot of this game is played off of adversity . . . It’s up to the team to get through the adversity.”

The Grizzlies enter this week’s game with a 6-2 overall record and a 5-1 mark in Big Sky play and are ranked eighth in the nation in the FCS coaches poll and 11th in the Sports Network poll.  WSU is 3-4 overall and 3-1 in conference action.

WSU won the meeting last season in Ogden, but the Grizzlies have won 11 of the last 13 meetings with the WSU Wildcats and Montana has won 12 straight against Weber State in Missoula.

The Wildcats have struggled in the second half of games this year, but have performed well during the first two quarters of games. The team has outscored opponents 77-37 in the second quarter of games, but has struggled in the later stages; they have been outscored 76-63 in the third quarter and 51-47 in the fourth quarter this season.

Last week WSU had a 14-3 lead at the half, but lost 35-28 in a close game to SUU. Mike Hoke said that the loss will help motivate the team, and that he looks forward to proving those who doubt WSU’s chances wrong heading into the final stretch of the season.

Despite the loss last week, Josh Booker and Mike Hoke each reached a personal milestone in the game against SUU.

Booker, a sophomore running back finished with 11 carries for 74 yards in Saturday’s game.  That pushed him over 1,000 yards for his career.  In 18 career games with the Wildcats, Booker now has 1,049 career yards, making him the 26th running back in WSU history to reach 1,000 career rushing yards.  Booker has 499 yards and three touchdowns this season.

Hoke reached a career milestone as well, surpassing 2,000 career passing yards in Saturday’s game. He became the 19th Wildcat to reach 2,000 career passing yards and now ranks 18th in school history with 2,072 career yards.

In the season Hoke has thrown for 1,653 yards and 17 touchdowns.  He ranks fourth in the league in pass efficiency and fourth in passing at 236.1 yards per game.  He is completing 64.5 percent of his passes this season.

Senior tight end Tyrell Francisco suffered an MCL strain in his right leg in Saturday’s game and will likely miss at least the next two weeks of action for the Wildcats.

WSU will face stiff competition on Saturday against UM; The Grizzlies are coming off a 28-24 win at Northern Arizona last week, and are 4-0 at home this season.  UM has trailed by double figures in each of the past two games but rallied to win.

On the season the Grizzlies rank second in the league in scoring defense at 24.6 points per game and are third in total defense at 347.0 yards per game.

Following the game against UM, WSU will return home and face off against league leaders, Montana State University.

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