The Weber State University Football Team, came close to beating a Football Bowl Division school for the fourth time in school history on Saturday in Laramie, Wyo. But the University of Wyoming was able to pull out a late win.
The Cowboys converted on fourth and 11 with 33 seconds left and then scored a nine-yard touchdown with 22 seconds left to go ahead. The Wildcats quickly drove down the field and had a chance to send the game to overtime when Sean McClain tried to convert his third field goal of the game. Mclain missed a 53-yard field goal as time expired and the Wildcats fell 35-32.
Despite losing the game WSU dominated the stats sheet. WSU had 541 yards of total offense, compared to 463 for the Cowboys. The ‘Cats also had seven more first downs and outrushed Wyoming 227-169.
The ‘Cats had several bright spots on offense. Junior quarterback Mike Hoke, making his first collegiate start, finished the game 19-28 passing for 314 yards and two touchdowns. Hoke started the game out a little shaky, but found his stride in the second quarter. Hoke who is replacing long time WSU quarterback Cameron Higgins said it’s a big task to replace him.
“It’s some big shoes to fill,” Hoke said. “But I think I can do it.”
In addition to his passing attack, Hoke carried the ball 13 times for 82 yards.
Several other WSU players shined on offense. Xavian Johnson, playing in his first collegiate game, finished the game with seven catches for 118 yards and the two touchdowns. Shaydon Kehano had two catches for 85 yards, including a 50-yard reception in the second half. On the ground Booker rushed for a career-best 117 yards and one touchdown on 18 carries.
The Wildcats started the game off with an interception by Pete Rolf which set up a two-yard Tanner Hinds touchdown run to give the ‘Cats the early 7-0 lead.
Wyoming came back with back-to-back scores and led 14-7 at the end of the first half. Weber State made a field goal before the Cowboys took their largest lead of the game 21-10 with 9:03 to play in the half.
After another field goal from Shaun McClain Hoke found Xavian Johnson for a 35-yard touchdown pass and the ‘Cats trailed 21-19 at halftime.
Wyoming pulled ahead 28-19 early in the third quarter but then Weber State took over. Josh Booker had a 12-yard touchdown rush with 9:44 to play in the third quarter and the ‘Cats were within two points at 28-26 at the end of three quarters.
Hoke found Johnson again for a 49-yard touchdown pass that game Weber State a 32-28 lead with 12:44 to play. That would remain the score until the Cowboys scored in the final seconds.
WSU will now prepare to face Utah State University on Saturday in Logan Utah. The Aggies nearly upset the University of Auburn, in their opening game of the season.
On the defensive side Willie Okwuonu had a career-high ten total tackles, including two for losses. Anthony Morales had eight tackles and Malone Fiso had six and a half a sack. Caldwell Taylor also picked up a sack for the Wildcats.
Weber State (0-1) will take on Utah State next Saturday at 6:00 p.m. in Logan. The Aggies also lost a heartbreaker today, falling 42-38 at Auburn.