Football taking on defending champs

[media-credit name=”Corie Holmes” align=”alignright” width=”279″][/media-credit]

Weber State University’s Jordan Clemene runs toward the end zone during a game against Utah State University. The Wildcats will take on Eastern Washington University on Saturday in Cheney, Wash.

Weber State University’s football team is going to take on defending Football Championship Series national champion Eastern Washington University on Saturday at EWU. This will be the first time WSU has ever played on EWU’s red turf at Roos Field.

“We are playing the defending national champions,” said Kamaal Ahmad, director of football operations. “It’s not going to be a walk in the park. If we play our game, we can beat anybody we play at any time.”

WSU improved its Big Sky Conference record to 2-0 when it defeated the Northern Colorado University Bears last Saturday. After his performance on Saturday, Mike Hoke earned Co-Offensive Player of the Week in the Big Sky. He completed 20 of 25 passes for 280 yards with five touchdowns and no interceptions. In the conference, Hoke has set the record for 11 touchdown passes and no interceptions in a four-game span.

“These last two games we had have given us a lot of confidence,” said JC Oram, offensive captain. “We just have to keep that up and not look this team over. If we just go out there and stay focused, we will be fine.”

WSU running back Josh Booker said that the past is not what the team is focused on. Instead, he said the team is looking forward to its next opponent.

“I think our past wins are going to build momentum,” Booker said. “We aren’t looking back at last week. It’s on to Eastern Washington now.”

Also due to last week’s game, Defensive Captain Nick Webb moved into the record books and tied the team-high six tackles, with four of them completely unassisted. With the four unassisted tackles, Webb moved into the schools top ten list.

WSU leads the Big Sky in five categories. The Wildcats are first in the league and 14th in the nation in scoring offense. They average 35.75 points per game. They are also first in the conference and 11th in the nation in total offense, putting up 447.25 yards per game. They lead the league in passing efficiency at 158.40 yards. WSU also leads the conference with five total interceptions.

EWU enters Saturday’s game with an 0-4 overall record and 0-2 in Big Sky Conference play. They rank eighth in the conference in scoring offense and fifth in scoring defense. However, EWU is third in passing offense. The Eagles returned 16 starters and 50 lettermen from last year’s championship team.

“The only thing that their reputation means is it emphasizes that we have to play four quarters,” Booker said. “We have to play a full game against them. They are a lot better than what their record shows.”

EWU holds a 15-14 lead over the Wildcats going into their 30th meeting. The Wildcats have won three of the last four games at Roos Field.

Ahmad said that in order to be strong against EWU, WSU needs to tighten up its basics.

“Fundamentals and doing the things that we do well is what we have to do,” Ahmad said. “It’s a lot of just polishing what we do best and making sure that we show up.”

Oram said that WSU’s offense is still working on its hurry-up offense and the team really wants to establish a strong running game early on in the game.

“Our main objective is to run the ball this game,” Oram said. “We want to get their defense tired with our hurry-up offense.”