A merciless match

Weber State against Idaho State at their football game on Nov. 12.

Coming off a close loss to Sacramento State University, Weber State University’s football team beat Idaho State University 45–7 on Nov. 12 at Stewart Stadium.

Celebrating Senior Day, Wildcat football seniors ran through a line of their teammates. Holding flowers, each player ran down the line and into the arms of family members as their bio was read, detailing their accomplishments at Weber State.

With the Wildcats receiving the ball to start the game, Bengal kicker Ian Hershey squib kicked to avoid a reception from Weber State Cornerback/Kick Returner Abraham Williams. Williams recorded his third return for a touchdown of his sophomore career, putting him on track to reach former Wildcat Rashid Shaheed’s all-time FCS record of seven.

“We’ve been in this situation before,” Weber State head coach Jay Hill said. “For the last five years, we had Rashiid Shaheed, and not many people wanted to kick to him. When I was at the University of Utah, and we had Reggie Dunn, no one would kick to that kid. So it’s not like it’s something that we haven’t seen before. We just got to do a good job of getting the offense good field position out of it.”

The Wildcats’ first two possessions ended in punts. It wasn’t until Idaho State quarterback Sagan Gronauer threw an interception to Weber State cornerback Eddie Heckard near midfield that the Wildcats made a scoring drive.

After the interception, Weber State running back Dontae McMillan ran up the side to the Bengals 36-yard line. During the drive, McMillan ran for 34-yards. Playing from the 12-yard line, Wildcat quarterback Bronson Barron found wide receiver Ty MacPherson open in the end zone for the first touchdown of the game.

“We do our 1/11th,” McMillan said. “As long as we take care of what we’ve got to do on our job and our responsibility, I feel like everybody’s going to make plays. Everybody’s going to get in and do their part.”

Before ending the first quarter with a score of 7–0, Weber State received a punt at midfield and managed to reach the red zone. Starting off the second half near the 1-yard line, running back Kris Jackson plowed his way through the defense for another Wildcat touchdown. Weber State would score again in the second quarter after Damon Bankston ran through a hole in the defensive line on a red zone drive.

While the Wildcats poised to enter the second half on top with a score of 21–0, the Bengals retaliated before halftime. Playing from Weber State’s 40-yard line, a deep pass by Gronauer was tipped but caught by Idaho State wide receiver Xavier Guillory.

Finding their way to the 18-yard line, Gronauer found Christian Fredericksen, who was able to catch the ball over his defender for a touchdown. Converting on the field goal, the score was 21–7 before the half.

Weber State was able to put unanswered points on the board during the second half. A successful field goal attempt made the score 24–7. Although Weber State could not convert on their second field goal drive, they found success later in the third.

Starting from their own 22-yard line off a punt, the Wildcats made a strong attack on the ground to midfield. Playing from Weber State’s 43-yard line, McMillan managed to find a hole in the defense and ran up the sideline, where he was tackled at the Bengals’ 3-yard line. Barron then threw a short pass to tight end Justin Malone for a Wildcat touchdown.

With the score 31–7, the Bengals made a quarterback change before the fourth quarter. Limping on the sideline after a run, Gronauer was replaced by quarterback Hunter Hays.

With a mix of effective plays, Hays was able to put the Bengals on Weber State’s 27-yard line.

While trying to throw, Hays was stripped of the ball by Wildcat linebacker Winston Reid. In the sea of players, Weber State linebacker Garrett Beck found the ball and ran it all the way back to the end zone.

“I was a little winded when I picked up that ball, but the ball was clear as day when Winston got that sack,” Beck said. “When I picked it up, it was just all the help from the defense helping me, escorting me to the end zone.”

The touchdown was Beck’s first across his high school and college career. With the score 38–7, Weber State found their way into the end zone on one more drive. Starting from the 37-yard line, Barron found wide receiver Jacob Sharp, who scrambled to midfield.

After a holding call put the Wildcats on the 30-yard line, MacPherson caught a Barron pass and spun out of a defender’s tackle, managing to step out of bounds at the 12-yard line. With two runs, McMillan was able to find his way into the end zone for the Wildcats’ final points of the night.

“A lot of good today,” Hill said. “I thought in spurts both sides of the ball played absolutely outstanding football.”

Barron finished the game completing 61% of his passes for 226 yards and two touchdowns while McMillan netted 139 yards and a touchdown. Finishing the game with seven tackles and two sacks, Reid was named Stats Perform FedEx Ground FCS National Defensive Player of the week as well as Big Sky conference player of the week.

Weber State will travel to play their next game at Northern Arizona University on Nov. 19 at 1 p.m.