Wildcats prepare for first home game

[media-credit id=11 align=”alignright” width=”227″][/media-credit]
Tightend Jordan Clemente runs with the ball against Utah State Univeristy last weekend. WSU will play Sacramento State University on Saturday at Stewart Stadium.
The Weber State University Football Team will look to find its winning form this weekend, when it plays its first home game of the year against 20th ranked Sacramento State University.

The WSU Wildcats will face a SSU team, which has had a roller coaster first two games of the season. The SSU Hornets knocked off Oregon State University and then lost to Southern Utah University the next week. WSU linebacker Nick Webb said he is confident that the Wildcats can stop the SSU offense.

“I know we can come out defensively and stop their run,” Webb said.  “I know we can stop everything that they’re going to throw at us.”

Last week, WSU’s offense struggled to stop Utah State University’s offense, but Webb said they will look to have a strong performance this week. WSU Director of Football Operations Kamaal Ahmad said that despite the hard loss last week, the Wildcats will be ready for the upcoming game.

“Yesterday (Tuesday) was our best practice,” Ahmad said. “The thing about these guys is they don’t get down, they respond well. We showed in the first half against Utah State that we’re a good football team; it’s not anything to get down about. These guys know they’re good football players.”

Ahmad said that the Hornets will prove a tough test for WSU, but said that he feels the team will be able to compete.

“They’re a good team,” Ahmad said. “They beat Oregon State, they lost a tough one to a good Southern Utah team on Saturday, they’re good. . . . It’ll be a good game, we won’t deny that, but we feel like if we just take care of our business, we’ll win every game we play.”

The Hornets started out their season on the road taking on the FBS division OSU Beavers in Corvallis, Ore. The Hornets drew national attention by shocking the Beavers and winning a 29-28 overtime thriller. In that game, quarterback Jeff Fleming was 22-35 for 257 yards and three touchdowns.

The next week, however, SSU struggled against the SUU Thunderbirds.

The Wildcats will have to step up defensively against the Hornets, who have two offensive standouts. Senior running back Bryan Hilliard has earned All-Big Sky honors each season of his career.  He totaled 883 yards and 12 touchdowns in nine games last season, entered the season ranked third in school history with 2,791 career rushing yards and was second in career touchdowns with 31.

After two games this season, Hilliard ranks ninth in the Big Sky in rushing at 67.5 yards per game and two touchdowns.

Junior Sam McCowan leads the Big Sky in kick return average at 23.8 yards per kick return.

Last season, SSU beat the Wildcats 24-17 in Sacramento. The Hornets rushed for 244 yards against the Wildcats and had 408 yards of total offense. Hilliard rushed for 136 yards and one touchdown in the game. WSU was led by Cameron Higgins who finished 21-42 for 253 passing yards and two touchdowns.

SSU has never beaten the Wildcats in Ogden. WSU holds a 10-5 all-time advantage over SSU and the ‘Cats have won three of the last four games.

Following the game against SSU, the Wildcats will hit the road for back-to-back games beginning next week when they play at Northern Colorado on Sept. 24.  That game will be broadcast live on Altitude TV.  The ‘Cats will then play at defending national champion Eastern Washington on Oct. 1.