OGDEN — On any give day in college football anything can happen, and on Saturday afternoon the Weber State Wildcats (8-2) were able to overcome a fourth quarter deficient to grind out a 30-27 win over the North Dakota Fighting Hawks (5-4).
Wildcats quarterback Jake Constantine, who finished 17-of-23 for 230 yards, threw two momentum-killing interceptions, but a fourth quarter 12-yard rushing touchdown tied up the game as the momentum swung back in the Wildcats' favor.
“It was good,” Constantine said. “I was pretty frustrated with myself with the first pick I threw. The guy was open, just bad placement; and the second one was me just being way too greedy. I was running pretty mad there and I had to make it up to my guys. Blessed to tie the game up for us and (Trey) Tuttle with the game-winning field goal. It’s awesome.”
Weber State opened up the game with a quick score when David Ames caught a 2-yard touchdown pass from Constantine to put the Wildcats up early. Everything continued to go well for the Wildcats in the first quarter when Constantine threw his second touchdown pass of the day to Justin Malone on a 41-yard pass to give the Wildcats a two score lead.
North Dakota would answer back when quarterback Nate Katteringham found Travis Toivonen for a 33-yard touchdown to end the quarter.
Tuttle hit a 34-yard field goal early in the second quarter from 34 yards out to add to the lead; but 36 seconds later, Ketteringham found Noah Wanzek for a 16-yard touchdown pass to inch the Hawks closer.
Weber State was forced to settle for a field goal on their next drive. And North Dakota would score with 19 seconds left in the second quarter on a 31-yard field goal by Brady Leach after a faked punt four plays earlier.
The third quarter was dominated by the Hawks as the defense held the Wildcats scoreless. Ketteringham threw another touchdown on a 2-yard pass to Toivonen to give the Hawks their first lead of the game, 24-20.
“We’ve won big like we did last week, and this week we pulled out a tight one,” said Weber State head coach Jay Hill. “Hopefully resilient and hopefully a little bit of a wake up call. I don’t want to say we overlooked these guys, but every team is going to give us their best shot. We got to know that, we got it today from North Dakota and you have to give them a lot of credit. They played lights out tonight.”
Just as the Wildcats were knocking on the door, Constantine threw an interception at the goal line on a pass that was intended for Kevin Smith. But the Wildcat defense stepped up and forced the Hawks to settle for a field goal to put the Hawks up by a touchdown.
With a little under three minutes left in the game, Constantine put his earlier interceptions behind him and was able to have two big runs on the drive, including a 12-yard rushing touchdown to tie the game.
On the ensuing kickoff return, North Dakota’s Brock Boltmann fumbled the ball and Aaron Sessions recovered it for the Wildcats.
Weber State's Smith rushed it three times for the Wildcats on the next drive to help set up a game-winning 32-yard field goal by Tuttle. Smith finished the game with 104 yards on 25 carries.
The Wildcat defense game up big on the final drive of the game as the forced four incomplete passes by Ketteringam to claim the win.
“Guys, I felt like, on the sideline knew we were still going to win that game,” Constantine said. “That’s just battle and grit, gritting your teeth and getting the job done even though you know as a team that was probably one of our worst games this year. It’s college football, you got to find a way. Every week is a tough week.”
Weber State travels to Montana next week where they’ll take on the Grizzlies at 1 p.m. Carra McManamon is a native of Washington State and is attending the University of Utah. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter: @curramac22