Wildcats looking to get back in the win column against Cal Poly

Weber State and James Madison contest an FCS football game, Saturday, Sept. 19, 2021 in Ogden.

Weber State and James Madison contest an FCS football game, Saturday, Sept. 19, 2021 in Ogden. (Robert Casey, Weber State Athletics)



Estimated read time: 5-6 minutes

SALT LAKE CITY — The Weber State football program finds itself in somewhat uncharted territory after back-to-back losses to top 15 opponents and an abysmal 1-3 record.

But the WIldcats catch a break moving forward with all their remaining games being conference opponents. Weber State still has a chance to run the table as the reigning conference champions, and their first chance to get back on track will be Saturday as they travel to San Luis Obispo, California, to face Cal Poly.

Scouting the Wildcats

Ranking: No. 17 in the Power Poll Ranking

Record: (1-3, 0-1 Big Sky)

Last Week: L vs UC Davis, 17-14

Due to the strength of their schedule, Weber State still finds itself in the top 25 of the Power Poll Rankings despite dropping their latest matchup to UC Davis in a 17-14 nailbiter. With Bronson Barron sidelined with injury, the offense struggled to produce touchdowns amid a respectable 411 total yards. UC Davis consistently stopped the Wildcats when it mattered most, producing multiple turnovers, and narrowly defeated Weber State on their home field.

Kylan Weisser was the man under center for the Wildcats against UC Davis, and while he threw for 225 yards and a touchdown on nearly a 60% clip (19-of-32), he also threw two interceptions and struggled to finish drives.

Weber State outgained UC Davis in the ground game with a total of 186 yards, but the team finished with only one rushing touchdown on the day. Despite the loss, Josh Davis reached a career milestone and became just the fourth player in program history to reach 3,000 career rushing yards.

Ty Macpherson led the receivers with 74 yards on five receptions, while Rashid Shaheed recorded three catches for a total of 52 yards. Ironically, Davis was the only player to record a touchdown through the air against UC Davis.

Defensively, the Wildcats were stout and only allowed 314 total yards. But Weber State was unable to force any turnovers, which played a major role in the loss, as the offense turned the ball over three times. Notably, Braxton Gunther led the team with eight total tackles, seven of which were solo.

Hear it from head coach Jay Hill

"I think the running backs run hard, so that's one thing. But I heard they have a wide-out transfer from Fresno State, No. 6, that does a really good job. Their offensive line is a big, solid, Big-Sky O-line, and then the defense plays hard," head coach Jay Hill said. "They'll fly around, hit you, and do some good things. They went up to Montana, and I thought their defense played good.

"The reality was, they gave up two defensive touchdowns and a kick return for a touchdown; and if you go up to Montana and do that you're going to get beat. But the defense did a lot of good things in that game against Montana's offense."

Wildcats to Watch

Kylan Weisser

If Barron remains out, Weisser will likely get the call at quarterback against Cal Poly. Given the opportunity, Weisser will have a chance to right his wrongs as he faces an inferior secondary, which has allowed a total of 1,243 passing yards this season. If he can get into any kind of groove, he very well could have a career day and help the team get back into the win column.

The secondary

While the Mustangs have given up a lot of passing yards this season, they've also done the most damage through the air, accruing 1,033 yards through four games. If Weber State's secondary can effectively lock down receivers, they can avoid an offensive shootout and help the offense run up the score.

Scouting the Mustangs

Ranking: N/A

Record: (1-3, 0-1 Big Sky)

Last Week: L vs Montana, 39-7

Despite also having a 1-3 record, Cal Poly does not find themselves amongst the top 25 rankings. Through four games, the Mustangs have been outscored 167-59, including a debilitating 63-10 loss at the hands of Fresno State. In their latest matchup, the offense continued to be a problem as they lost to Montana 39-7.

As for the quarterback situation, the position was a revolving door as the Mustangs played three guys over the course of last week's game. The room finished with a total of 315 yards and two interceptions as Conor Bruce went 16-of-30 for 183 yards and an interception, Kahliq Paulette finished 12-of-23 for 100 yards and an interception, and Michael Roth completed just a single pass for 32 yards.

In the run game, the room netted just 47 yards and were continually tackled for losses, totaling 60 yards; however, Shakobe Harper recorded the only touchdown of the day and led the room with 31 yards gained.

The receivers had the most productive day as seven Mustangs went for 25+ yards. Notably, freshman Giancarlo Woods led the room with 62 yards on three receptions.

Defensively, the Mustangs allowed less total yards than their opponent, they failed to stop Montana from scoring. Special teams was off its game and allowed a 95-yard kickoff return touchdown and a blocked punt, which was scooped up and returned for 6 points by the Grizzlies.

Regardless of the team's struggles, junior Laipeli Palu led the team with 12 total tackles, seven of which were solo and one sack.

Mustangs to Watch

The quarterback(s)

More than likely, Cal Poly will probably play several quarterbacks again as they've struggled to produce any type of consistency at that position all season long. Bruce may be the specific quarterback to watch for as he got his first start last week and threw for the most yards.

The receivers

The receivers have been the most reliable and consistent position group for the Mustangs, helping the offense compile an average of 258 yards per game. Graduate student Chris Coleman will be one to watch as the veteran receiver has knotted 224 yards and three touchdowns on 17 receptions.

How to Watch

This week's game will be available to stream via ESPN+ and the ESPN app, with kickoff set for 6:30 p.m. MT on Saturday. Additionally, fans can also listen to 103.1 "The Wave" with Tony Parks and Jerry Graybeal on the call.

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