Getting familiar with the Grizzlies

Weber State University had a match up against University of Montana on Oct. 22. They have not faced off with University of Montana since 2019. This photo was taken during a game that occurred on Nov. 16, 2019.

For their second matchup against a top 10 FCS team this season, Weber State University’s football team will play the University of Montana on Oct. 29. A matchup that hasn’t occurred since 2019, both teams are coming off a loss from the previous week.

On Oct. 22, the Wildcats faced Montana State University and recorded their first loss of the season. Now with a record of 6–1, Weber State is looking to bounce back against the 5–2 Grizzlies.

Montana, on the other hand, is coming off back-to-back losses against the University of Idaho and Sacramento State University. Looking to end their losing streak, this will be the Grizzlies’ fourth-to-last game of the season.

When these teams played three years ago, Weber State won in the FCS quarter-final. In a snow-filled game that was close till the end, the Wildcats came out on top 17–10. Weber State recorded five interceptions and blocked a punt that led to points.

One of the leaders for his team, Wildcat quarterback Bronson Barron will be facing a challenge with Montana’s No. 2-ranked defense. Barron has thrown 1,585 yards, 12 touchdowns and five interceptions through seven games. Although an effective scrambler, the Grizzlies have recorded more sacks than any team in the conference with 23.

The Wildcats faced a tough opponent last week in defensive tackle Sebastian Valdez, who has the second most sacks in the conference. Not only will Weber State be taking on the Big Sky sacks leader in linebacker Patrick O’Connell, but also linebacker Marcus Welnel, who’s No. 3 on the list.

Outside of sacks, O’Connell currently leads his team in interceptions with two. A team with the fourth most interceptions in the conference, cornerback Jayden Dawson is another Grizzly to look out for, coming in at number six on the passes defended list.

On the defensive side of the ball, the Wildcats have to go up against Montana’s offense, which is ranked No. 5 in the Big Sky. Although it’s hard to pick a stand-out offensive talent on the Grizzlies, there are a few players who can take over a game. For example, quarterback Lucas Johnson won a player of the week award on Sept. 26 after a 221 yard performance with two touchdowns, completing 20 of his 26 passes.

Weber State linebacker Winston Reid has 50 tackles this season while Maxwell Anderson has five interceptions. Currently, the Wildcats have the strongest red zone defense in the Big Sky and lead the conference in interceptions.

As of right now, the Wildcats’ defense is No. 1 in the Big Sky, and their offense is No. 3. This game will be a defensive challenge for both squads. Both teams are highly ranked, meaning this could be a playoff matchup.

This week’s game will be played on Oct. 29 in Stewart Stadium at 1 p.m.