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The Weber State University football team will finish its three-game road stand this week as it travels to Lake Charles, La., to take on McNeese State University. This will be the second year in a row that the Wildcats face the Cowboys.
The Wildcats will face a tough matchup against a pass-heavy team. MSU is ranked 13th in the nation in the Football Championship Subdivision. The Cowboys will come in averaging 305 passing yards a game. MSU quarterback Cody Stroud set career highs last week with 366 yards and five touchdown passes.
The Wildcats lost to the Cowboys last season at home, 35-21. MSU held the lead for the whole game, holding WSU to just seven points in the first three quarters. The Wildcats made a run in the fourth quarter, but were ultimately denied on a late fumble recovery that put the game out of reach.
“Last year from McNeese, I saw a veteran offensive line control the line of scrimmage,” said WSU head football coach Jody Sears. “They made a couple plays that were the difference in that ball game. We left a couple plays out there to make it closer and keep ourselves in it.”
The Wildcats are coming off of a lopsided 70-6 loss to Utah State University. The Aggie defense held WSU to just seven first downs in the game, with only one coming against the first string defense. The Aggies also held the Wildcats to just 138 total yards.
The Cowboys will enter this week at 3-0, having scored in the final minute in their game against Western Alabama University to take the game 44-42. The Cowboys are coached by Matt Viator, who has a 55-24 record in his eight seasons at MSU.
This is the fourth meeting between WSU and MSU. The Wildcats won the first-ever meeting against the Cowboys, but have dropped the last two, both home games.
The last two games for the Wildcats have been rough sailing. They were outscored 140-13 against Football Bowl Subdivision opponents, netting two of the worst losses in school history. Needless to say, the Wildcats are excited to be back in FCS play.
“We are not going to be facing anyone as good as these last two teams,” said defensive captain Anthony Morales after Saturday’s game. “We take these beatings these past two games, and maybe it will make us stronger this next week. But I know this team we are playing beat South Florida two weeks ago, so it’s not like FCS is going to be a cupcake. There’s nothing really for anyone to get too excited about right now; we just got to get better. “
Freshman quarterback Austin Chipoletti, who started last week against USU due to injury to senior quarterback Jordan Adamczyk, said the two FBS games taught the team a lot, especially about what it needs to improve on.
“We can improve on the little things,” Chipoletti said. “I feel that our coaches called the right things. A lot of times we made the right reads; it’s just finishing, the fundamentals of football — catching, running, holding onto the ball, just the little things.”
With the two losses that came after an opening-day win against Stephen F. Austin State University, the Wildcats look to regroup and get ready for Big Sky Conference play next weekend.
“Everything needs to improve,” Morales said. “We need to learn how to finish, learn how to win again. Obviously our defense has a lot of work to do. We need to still learn how to stop drives. Our offense needs to start drives. . . . everything needs to be worked on.”
The game will start at 6 p.m. Mountain Daylight Time. The game will be broadcast over the radio on AM 1430, and live stats can be found on www.weberstatesports.com.