The Weber State University football team will cap off Homecoming Week on Saturday night with one of the biggest traditions of the week — the Homecoming Game.
The football team will face Eastern Washington University for the opening of Big Sky Conference play. The match marks the fourth game of the season for WSU as well as its second home game.
WSU is coming into the Homecoming Game after suffering a home loss to McNeese State University last week with a score of 35-21. MSU was ranked 19th in the nation.
The Wildcats will face a ranked FCS team for the second game in a row. EWU currently holds the spot as the ninth-ranked team in the FCS.
“We’re preparing for a team that has played two good games against FBS teams, and they know how to win, and they know how to play hard,” said Matt Hammer, WSU assistant coach and offensive coordinator. “So for us this week, it’s more back to the basics. . . . We just have to be more consistent as a team.”
Because of the difficult home-opening loss last week, Hammer said the Wildcats are taking the following matchup to heart and preparing themselves very seriously.
“Probably the best thing for us right now is our kids have taken this last week very hard, and they should come out and play with some personality to prove a point that ‘hey, we’re still capable of making plays,’” Hammer said.
WSU will have the advantage of a home crowd on Saturday evening as it faces the Eagles in its first Big Sky Conference match. The Wildcats are 0-3 on the season so far, after having faced California State University, Fresno and Brigham Young University (two FBS teams) as well as MSU.
The ‘Cats have a lot of recent history with EWU. WSU lost to EWU last season. In 2010, WSU lost to the 16th-ranked Eagles, and in 2009, the 21st-ranked Wildcats defeated the 14th-ranked Eagles in Cheney, Wash. Football Head Coach Jody Sears also spent five seasons as defensive coordinator for EWU from 2003-07.
“We’ve had some wars with Eastern (Washington) in the past years,” Hammer said. “Coach Sears was at Eastern for a while . . . so it’s a little more personal that way for some of the coaches. But for the players, it’s been back and forth, back and forth.”
WSU safety and punter Tony Epperson said the team has been getting ready for the big matchup and feels it is well prepared.
“We’re coming in with preparation, and I think it’s a great advantage,” Epperson said. “We have a great defensive line that’s going to put on a lot of pressure; our linebackers are going to make their drops. . . . I have all the faith in the world in our corners and our secondary. So it’s exciting for us to go up against someone like this.”
The Homecoming Game will begin at 6 p.m. in the Stewart Stadium on Saturday.