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The Weber State University football team will play its final game of the season this Saturday when it takes on rival Idaho State University in Idaho.
Head Coach Jody Sears said he is excited about the thought of playing a rivalry game and hopes the team will come out strong against ISU.
“We’re looking forward to playing a rivalry game at Idaho State this week,” Sears said. “Our defense will have to be ready to play against their passing offense. “
The Wildcats have defeated ISU in the last seven games and have defeated the Bengals in 25 of the last 28 games.
The Wildcats are coming off an eight-point loss against the University of Northern Colorado last week, while ISU was beaten 70-14 at the hands of California Polytechnic State University. ISU has lost eight straight games, after its only win came in the second week of the season against Black Hills State University. WSU is sitting above the Bengals in the Big Sky standings, with the Wildcats’ one win coming in a conference game.
Last weekend, WSU lost its final home game, falling 42-34. The Bears put up more than 500 yards of offense in the game against the Wildcats, including 418 passing yards. Sears said he felt the offense played well last week, but that the team needs to play better defense if it’s going to beat ISU.
“I think our offense probably played its best game of the year,” he said. “We weren’t able to make some defensive stops when we needed to, which was disappointing. Our kids played their hearts out, (but) we just didn’t have the consistency we needed.”
In last week’s game, wide receiver Xavian Johnson left the game in the first half after coming down hard on his shoulder. Johnson did not return last week, and he will be a game-time decision on Saturday.
WSU’s C.J. Tuckett said that, in order for the team to win, everyone on the team needs to contribute and do his part.
“It takes all 11 guys,” Tuckett said. “It doesn’t matter how good of players you have or what stats you have if you don’t win on the scoreboard. If all 11 guys don’t do their job, you can’t win. That’s one thing we need to focus on more.”
In last week’s loss, the Wildcats saw a strong performance from Mike Hoke, who threw for a season-high 310 yards and four touchdowns on Saturday. Hoke has played in 36 career games with the Wildcats and currently ranks eighth in school history in career passing yards with 4,456. He needs 145 more passing yards to pass Dave Stireman and Ian Pizarro and move into sixth place in career passing yards. Hoke has thrown for 34 career touchdowns and has nearly 5,000 yards of total offense.
Last season, the Wildcats secured a 39-12 win over the Bengals. In that game, WSU had no problem racking up offensive yards, finishing the game with 508 yards of total offense. Hoke had 200 yards passing and four touchdowns in the win. The team also performed well on the defensive side of the ball, with Trevor Pletcher tying a school record with four sacks.
This game will mark the end of WSU’s 50th season of Division I football.