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Weber State fakes out No. 2 Eastern Washington

Weber State University’s football team left Cheney, Washington, victorious after shutting down the 20 home-game winning streak No. 2 Eastern Washington Eagles had on their mantle with a 35–34 win.

Ty MacPherson runs down the field against Eastern Washington on Oct. 23
Ty MacPherson, WSU wide receiver, runs alongside Eastern Washington player in an away game on Oct. 23. Photo credit: WSU Athletics

The Eagles started the game on offense, and they were first to score after quarterback Eric Barriere rushed a 13-yard touchdown with 7:49 on the clock in the first quarter, and Seth Harrison kicked in an extra point for a 7–0 lead.

The Wildcats recovered two fumbles in the first quarter: Mitchel Maxfield recovered the first fumble at Weber State’s 25-yard line with 4:25 on the clock, and then with less than a minute left in the quarter, Winston Reid recovered a fumble at Weber State’s 35-yard line.

With seconds left in the first, Bronson Barron went three for three on passes to Rashid Shaheed and Jon Christensen for a total gain of 23 yards before the second quarter.

Starting the quarter at the Eagles’ 42-yard line, Barron had a loss of three yards before throwing an incomplete pass to Dave Jones at the Eagles’ 45-yard line.

On third-and-13, Barron threw the ball across the field for a 44-yard pass that Shaheed caught at EWU’s 1-yard line.

Kris Jackson was the first Wildcat of the night to find themselves in the endzone, and after Kyle Thompson kicked the extra point, the game was tied 7–7 with 13:32 on the clock.

EWU quickly answered back with their second touchdown of the night after a 13-play drive for 88 yards. Barriere threw a 3-yard pass to Dylan Ingram in the endzone and with another kick from Harrison, the Eagles led 14–7 with 8:44 on the clock.

The first of the three fake punts came from the Wildcats on fourth and third when the snap was sent to Maxfield, who rushed for 7 yards, securing a first down for the ‘Cats at the Eagles’ 37-yard line.

With the Wildcat offense back on the field, Barron sent the ball down the field to Shaheed for the second time in the game on a 29-yard pass, putting the ‘Cats at EWU’s 16.

Barron rushed for two yards before Kyle Thompson was sent out for a 31-yard field goal attempt, scratching the Eagles’ lead down to four points with 14–10 score with 3:37 on the clock.

The Eagles’ drive started, and Barriere rushed for 18 yards before running out of bounds. EWU was only able to gain 4 additional yards before sending Nick Kokich out to punt for 53 yards for a touchback.

Dontae McMillan started the Wildcats’ drive with two rushes, collecting 16 yards with 1:32 left in the half.

On fourth down, Mackenzie Morgan was sent out to punt for the ‘Cats, but instead rushed for 10 yards and completed Weber State’s second fake punt of the game and collected a first down for WSU.

Barron found Ty MacPherson for 44 yards with 22 seconds left in the half, and the Wildcats sent Thompson out for a 45-yard field goal attempt. The kick was good, and the ‘Cats closed out the half trailing by one point, 14–13.

Wyatt Hawkins started the second half for the Eagles with a 59-yard kickoff. Shaheed was on the receiving end for the ‘Cats and ran for 30 yards.

The Wildcats found little success in the first drive of the half. McMillan rushed for 13 yards, and Barron passed for two yards to Christensen before getting sacked for a loss of 12 yards and fumbling the ball. The Eagles recovered the ball at WSU’s 39-yard line, and Caleb Davis ran for 33 yards, taking EWU to first and sixth.

Merritt first rushed 2 yards and then on second down rushed for 4 yards, securing the Eagles their first touchdown of the second half, bringing their lead to 21–13.

Mackenzie Morgan attempts a fake punt return on Oct. 23 against the Eastern Washington Eagles.
Mackenzie Morgan attempts a fake punt return on Oct. 23 against the Eastern Washington Eagles. Photo credit: WSU Athletics

Shaheed fumbled the kickoff return at Weber State’s 20-yard line and recovered at the 25-yard line. A personal foul on EWU gave the ‘Cats 15 yards and took them to the 40-yard line.

Jackson opened the second drive of the half after rushing for 14 yards and followed up with an additional six yards.

Barron got the ball to Hadley for five yards. Jackson answered with 10 rushing yards, and McMillan rushed 25 yards between two runs to help the ‘Cats collect a touchdown, bringing the score to 21–20 with 11:03 on the clock.

The Wildcats got the ball with a little over a minute left in the third quarter, and Randall Johnson was in for Barron and completed a pass to Justin Malone for 6 yards at EWU’s 43.

Neither the ‘Cats nor the Eagles saw any further scoring opportunities for the remainder of the third quarter.

Heading into the fourth quarter, Johnson attempted another pass attempt intended for Damon Bankston but wasn’t successful.

Morgan came out to punt for the Wildcats but instead completed the third and final fake punt for the Wildcats. Morgan found Jared Schiess for a completed 20-yard pass to EWU’s 23 and a first down for WSU.

With momentum rolling for the ‘Cats, Jackson rushed for 9 yards and gave the Wildcats their first lead of the game, 27–21, with 12:39 remaining in the fourth quarter.

The Eagles didn’t have much time to make a play before the ‘Cats had the ball back in their hands. On first and ten at EWU’s 38, Barriere’s pass was intercepted by Eddie Heckard, who returned the ball for 18 yards.

“In the game, keeping Barriere backed up is a huge deal, especially with our defense,” head coach Jay Hill said.

Weber State’s final scoring drive of the game included 21 rushing yards between four plays, a completed pass from Johnson to Shaheed for six yards and three rushing yards from Jackson before he ran 13 more yards into the endzone to push Weber State to 33–21.

The Wildcats went for a two-point conversion, and Johnson found Hayden Meacham in the endzone to get the ‘Cats to 35–21 with 8:36 left in the game.

The Eagles weren’t done yet, and Barriere found Blake Gobel for a 30-yard pass into the endzone, inching EWU closer to the ‘Cats with 35–28 and 6:12 remaining.

Jackson fumbled the ball on a 2-yard rush attempt at WSU’s 39 by Calin Criner. With 4:48 remaining, Merritt rushed for 1 yard into the endzone, leaving the Eagles trailing 35–34.

Harrison missed the extra point, and the Wildcats held onto their lead for the remainder of the game.

“This is an unbelievable win,” Hill said. “Proud of the players, the coaches, absolutely outstanding effort in many phases of the games.”

The last time the Eagles lost at the Inferno was in 2017 when EWU fell to the Wildcats 28–20.

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Emily Miller
Emily Miller, Copy editor

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