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[media-credit name="Associated Press" align="alignright" width="294"][/media-credit]After losing a nail-biter of a game last weekend against the University of Wyoming, Weber State University Football will play Utah State University tomorrow. A tough battle will ensue after both USU and WSU lost in the last minutes of their previous games.
USU played defending NCAA champions, Auburn University. They gained a solid lead in the first half of the game. After their guard came down in the final minutes of the fourth quarter and AU capitalized on that time, USU fell to AU 42-38.
WSU played UW and also lost in the final seconds of the game. UW took the conversion and ran with it to score a late touchdown. A missed 53-yard field goal let USU beat WSU 35-32. After the narrow losses by both WSU and USU, the teams are ready for another chance to prove themselves.
“Obviously you look for ways to improve from your first game,” said Head Coach Ron McBride. “It’s really important at this point that we establish an identity that we can be successful against D-1 teams.”
After the loss last weekend, WSU is now 3-45 against Football Bowl Subdivision teams. After last Saturday, WSU has lost 22 straight to FBS opponents. WSU has not met USU in a game since 2001. The Aggies have come up against the Wildcats 12 times all together, with the Aggies winning 11 of them.
Even though the track record looks negative against the Wildcats, running back Josh Booker said they believe they are a good team and are well prepared for this game.
“We have prepared for what they have ran in the past and what we think they will run against us,” Booker said. “We are not going out of our way or anything too different just because they are Utah State. We are treating them like any other game. I feel like we have a really good team. I believe in our team, and our team believes in us and what we can do.”
Kicking errors is one thing McBride said they have been working on to change for this upcoming game against the Aggies.
“We need to improve our flaws in our kicking game that we had a week ago,” McBride said.
Freshman Xavian Johnson was named National Freshman of the Week by The Sports Network after his performance in the first game. He emerged as a reliable wide receiver to quarterback Mike Hoke. Johnson finished the day with seven catches for 118 yards and two touchdowns.
McBride said he is expecting great things out of Johnson this week and is planning on giving him plenty of opportunities to continue to grow as a player.
“I expect him to perform his best every week. He needs to take advantage of every opportunity he has,” McBride said.
Offensively, WSU has been ironing out all the minor kinks so that they can compete against USU.
“From an offensive standpoint, we find the little details of everything and make sure that every detail is taken care of,” McBride said, “and make sure the deficiencies that showed up last week in the last four minutes of the game don’t show up again.”
Although the game is against an in-state rival this week, WSU is not worried that the tensions will affect the way the game is played.
“I think we are going to go out there and give 110 percent,” Booker said. “I think we treat it like every other game. Every game we are going to go out there and give it all we got. We aren’t going to treat it any different.”
The Wildcats will open Big Sky Conference play in their first home game against Sacramento State University. SSU beat Oregon State University last weekend, which moved their national ranking to 12.