Wildcats draw second-straight FBS opponent

(Source: Robert Casey)
A Weber State University running back tries to find a hole in the game against the University of Utah. They Wildcats will face another upper division team this week as they travel to Utah State University.

The Weber State University football team will continue its three-game road stand this week as it travels to Logan to take on Utah State University. The game will be WSU’s second-straight game against a Football Bowl Subdivision opponent.

The Wildcats are coming off of a 70-7 blowout loss against the University of Utah. The Utes racked up more than 600 total yards against the Wildcat defense on Saturday, handing WSU the second-worst loss in school history.

USU is in its first season in the Mountain West Conference and its first season under head coach Matt Wells. It previously was in the Western Athletic Conference. The Aggies are coming off of a 52-20 win against the U.S. Air Force Academy. Their first game of the season was a 30-26 loss to the Utes.

This will be the 14th meeting between WSU and USU. The Aggies own the series lead 12-1, with WSU’s sole victory coming in a 44-25 victory on Nov. 11, 1978. The teams’ last meeting came on Sept. 10, 2011. The Aggies won the game 54-17.

The first four games of the season have been and will continue to be a refiner’s fire for the Wildcats as they enter conference play at the end of the month.

“We kind of stay the course and keep playing and keep executing,” said WSU head coach Jody Sears after Saturday’s game. “We don’t want to throw in the towel or anything like that. We are going to keep executing the offense and keep growing and getting better. Like I just told them, we are two weeks away from our conference-opener. We’ve got to grow from this. We got to get better, and that’s exactly what we’ll do.”

After the game against the Utes, the players talked about not focusing on the knockout plays, especially against such high-caliber defenses.

“If we just execute, it doesn’t always have to be a big play,” said WSU running back Josh Booker after Saturday’s game. “Four yards here, four yards there, and if we are just able to execute and eliminate the sacks and pick up three or four yards every play, I feel like we will be in a good position. That’s something that we can focus on against Utah (State). I think that that’s the mindset that you have to have.”

In a press conference held on Monday, Wells spoke highly of WSU running backs Bo Bolen and Booker, among other players he will game-plan for.

“I think both of those are a good one-two punch for Weber State,” Wells said. “They’re strong, they’re shifty, they’re good out in space, and I like those two backs. You’ve got the two quarterbacks. They’ve got the senior (Jordan Adamczyk) that’s accurate, and I know the freshman (Austin Chipoletti) is athletic . . . Those will be the guys that we’re going to need to focus on and contain those guys.”

For the second-straight week, the Wildcats will more than likely simplify their game plan and focus on the small things that make huge differences, especially against FBS teams that play the game quicker and capitalize on mistakes more often.

“I think playing against Utah, or Utah State, it really forces you to focus on fundamentals and getting the most about each play,” Booker said. “Whether it’s Utah or a team in our conference, I’ll treat them all the same. I don’t want to say, ‘Well, this is an easier game.’ I feel like any team can come out at any moment and make a statement.”

Without overlooking their next opponent, the Wildcats plan to use these games to prepare for their conference-opener on Sept. 28.

“I think it is a good experience for us,” Adamczyk said. “The game speed will slow down in Big Sky play. Going into these games, you just got to go into it just like any other game, study the same way.”