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CEDAR CITY — Five games into the season, Weber State football still hasn’t found a way to win.
The Wildcats expected to win long ago with how productive and positive training camp was. However, Weber has found a road-heavy schedule to be unfriendly and experienced a heart-breaking defeat to Southern Utah Saturday, falling 31-28 in the Big Sky Conference opener for both teams.
Southern Utah opened the first quarter with a 10-0 lead, but Weber outscored the Thunderbirds 28-21 from that point. However, the Wildcats also turned the ball over four times.
Weber State coach Jay Hill said the turnovers and mistakes cost the Wildcats the game.
“This game came down to one thing: We turned the ball over four times and they didn’t have any turnovers,” he said. “That’s been our Achilles’ heel in the last three games. We’re minus-10 in the turnover margin these last three games. I don’t care who you are, you’re not going to win games like that.
“To go minus-four in the turnover margin and still have a shot at the end to get a field goal to tie shows what the potential of this team could be, but we’ve got to get that deficiency fixed. That’s where we’re at.”
"This game came down to one thing, we turned the ball over four times and they didn't have any turnovers," Wildcats coach Jay Hill said.
The Wildcats had a chance to tie the game late with a field goal attempt, but opted instead to have quarterback Billy Green pass the ball, which was intercepted.
Hill said he liked the call to be aggressive.
“We’re not necessarily going for a play at that point, we’re trying to make a play,” he said. “We told (Green) it’s got to be at least a first down because it’s third down, and if it’s not there, throw it out of bounds. I don’t second-guess that call. That’s the throw they gave him. He just needs to throw it out of bounds.”
Green said the loss hurts.
“It sucks because we were in this one the whole game,” he said. “We were trading the lead back and forth, and we feel if we would have cleaned up some things, we should have won this game. We don’t feel they really got us. We feel like we beat ourselves.”
Even in the loss, Green said some of the touchdown plays represent Weber’s offensive ability.
“Those big play action plays were a result of us running the ball so well,” said Green, who passed for 341 yards and three touchdowns. “We went to play-action, and every time we went there, there were guys biting on the fakes. There were a lot of positive things we did.
“(Freshman receiver) Drew Batchelor had his first two touchdowns, and a lot of guys are stepping up. We just need to clean stuff up as an offense.”
As the Wildcats prepare for the bye week, Hill said these types of losses strengthen players.
“(Players) need this,” said Hill, whose Wildcats will host Cal Poly on Oct. 11 for Weber’s homecoming game. “This team needs to get tougher. So, we’ve got to come back with some resolve. We need some young guys to step up. We’ve got to battle through it.”