Weber State football’s perfect season is snapped

Abraham Williams returns a kickoff for a 100-yard touchdown against Montana State on Oct. 22. This is William’s second kickoff return for touchdown of the season.

Weber State University’s football team fell to the Montana State University Bobcats for the Wildcats’ first loss of the season on Oct. 22.

“This game will not define the season, this one will not,” head coach Jay Hill said. “It’s unfortunate, we did not play up to the way that I thought we could have.”

Weber State won the coin toss and sent the MSU offense out on the field. After two plays into the drive, Eddie Heckard intercepted Tommy Mellotts pass and returned it 23-yards to the MSU 11. The Wildcats’ offense wasn’t able to get in the endzone so Kyle Thompson made a 25-yard field goal, putting the first 3 points on the board.

Both the Bobcats and Wildcats weren’t able to produce anything on their following drives until Weber State long snapper Grant Sands sent his first of four snaps into the endzone for a safety. Now trailing 3–2 and looking to keep the momentum going, Mellot saw the opportunity to rush for a 42-yard touchdown, making the score 9–3.

Looking to bounce back from early mistakes, Abraham WIlliams was in the backfield ready to get the Wildcats in scoring position and did just that. For the second time this season, Williams returned a 100-yard kickoff for a touchdown. Weber State was able to regain the lead, 10–9.

The Bobcats were stopped by the Wildcat defense along with their own penalties and had to punt the ball to Weber State. With Haze Hadley out with an injury from the Portland State game, Hudson Schenck was ready to make a return for the Wildcats. Looking to silence the sold out stadium of MSU fans, Schenck returned the punt 91 yards for a touchdown and pushed the ‘Cats lead to 17–9.

Like the first quarter, the Wildcats found themselves on the board first in the second quarter. Damon Bankston capped off a 70-yard drive with a five-yard touchdown and pushed the ‘Cats to 24–9 with just over 12 minutes to play in the first half.

Maxwell Anderson would be the next Wildcat to put a stop to the MSU offense by blocking their field goal attempt. The unbothered Bobcats would respond with 34 unanswered points.

To start the Bobcats’ scoring run, Sands sent another snap over Weber State punter Jack Burgess’s head for a second safety.

Mellott collected Montana State’s second touchdown of the game off of a 1-yard rush and with a good extra point, the Bobcats were closing in on the Wildcats’ lead. After an unsuccessful drive from Weber State and just under two minutes to go in the first half, Sand’s sent a third snap through the back of the endzone, closing Weber State’s lead to 24–20.

On a muffed punt to Schenck at the Weber State 20, Tommy Sullivan recovered the ball for the Bobcats at the Weber State 15 and Mellott then passed it to Derryk Snell, giving the Bobcats a 27–24 lead with less than a minute left in the first half.

Starting the second half, the Wildcats weren’t able to produce anything on their opening drive. Another snap from Sands became the fourth safety of the game and extended the Bobcats lead to 29–24. Not finished yet, the Bobcats added two more touchdowns to their scoring summary and led 43–24 with three minutes remaining in the third quarter.

That would be the final time MSU found themselves in the endzone for the game. Bronson Barron found Ty MacPherson in the endzone off of a 21-yard pass and closed in on the Bobcats’ lead, 43–32. Barron took the Wildcats’ comeback hopes into their hands and rushed for a 1-yard touchdown on the Wildcats’ following drive, bringing the score to 43–38.

With minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, the Wildcats got the ball back and regardless of two fourth-down conversions, Weber State wasn’t able to make the comeback.

“At the end, we still had a shot to win it,” Hill said. “There’s still a lot of fight in our guys.”

Barron completed 14 of their 30 pass attempts for one touchdown, as well as 40 rushing yards and one touchdown on the ground. Dontae McMillan led the squad with 76 rushing yards, and Desmond Williams led the defense with 10 tackles.

Sands sent a total of four snaps into the endzone that resulted in a new single-game FCS record for safeties. The Wildcats are 6–1 following their 43–38 loss against MSU.

The Wildcats are headed back to Stewart Stadium for a three-game home stretch with the University of Montana coming up next on Oct. 29.