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FCS top ten showdown at Stewart Stadium

The No. 9 Weber State Wildcats are set to host the No. 3 James Madison University Dukes at Stewart Stadium on Sept. 18.

The Wildcats will host James Madison University in a marquee FCS matchup on Sept. 17 at Stewart Stadium.
The Wildcats will host James Madison University in a marquee FCS matchup on Sept. 18 at Stewart Stadium. Photo credit: Weber State Athletics

The ‘Cats are currently 1–1 for the preseason after being handed their first loss at the No. 24 University of Utah with a score of 40–17 and received their first dub of the season at Dixie State, scoring 41–3.

JMU is currently 2–0 for their preseason. The Dukes kicked off their season against Morehead State and brought home a 68–10 win, and in the following week, the University of Maine fell to JMU 55–7.

This will be the third matchup between the two FCS powerhouses and their first face-off in Ogden.

Both teams have previously been in the postseason, where the Dukes have hosted the Wildcats at Bridgeforth Stadium in Harrisonburg, Virginia.

“We’re really excited to get them here,” wide receiver Rashid Shaheed said. “We’re ready. They’re ready. This will be an exciting game.”

The Wildcats currently sit at 0–2 against the Dukes.

The first matchup between the schools was Dec. 8, 2017, when the unseeded Wildcats traveled to the No. 1 Dukes. This heartbreaker of a game ended for the Wildcats when a 46-yard field goal pushed the Dukes to 31–28 as the clock ran out.

The Wildcats collected 238 passing yards and 91 rushing yards while the Dukes had 359 passing yards and 190 rushing yards.

Player 23, Wright Jr., celebrating his touchdown on Saturday at Weber State University. (Paige McKinnon/The Signpost)
Player 23, Wright Jr., celebrating his touchdown on March 13 at Weber State University. (Paige McKinnon/The Signpost)

The Dukes found success again on Dec. 21, 2019, in their second game against the ‘Cats with a 30–14 win in the semifinals.

The Dukes were able to capitalize on a 10-point lead in the first quarter and followed up with another 7 points in the second. Weber State didn’t see any points on the board until late in the second quarter, when former WSU quarterback Jake Constantine got the ball to Kevin Smith with a little over a minute left in the first half.

Weber State was able to hold JMU to 6 points in the second half. Constantine found Ty MacPherson for the ‘Cats second touchdown of the night, but their efforts weren’t enough as the clock ran down.

You’ll see familiar faces on Sept. 18 that have played the Dukes in the past including Josh Davis, who had 61 rushing yards on 13 carries; MacPherson, who had five catches for 83 yards; Conner Mortensen, who had 13 tackles and Eddie Heckard, who had a sack.

Quarterback Bronson Barron looks to be sitting out after an injury from the ‘Cats game down south against Dixie State. Randall Johnson is a likely candidate for the Sept. 18 game.

“He has embraced his role really well,” Shaheed said about Johnson. “He’s always ready. Last week, he came in, and he played really well for us.”

Following JMU, the Wildcats will kick off Big Sky play by hosting the UC Davis Aggies on Sept. 25 at Stewart Stadium.

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Emily Miller, Copy editor

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