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Press releaseGame #1
WEBER STATE vs. WYOMING
Saturday, September 5, 2009 at 1:05 p.m.
War Memorial Stadium, Laramie, Wyoming
Dave Christensen begins his first season as a head football coach and as the coach at Wyoming. Christensen comes to Laramie after spending the past eight seasons as the assistant head coach, offensive coordinator and offensive line coach at Missouri under Coach Gary Pinkel and spent nine years with Pinkel at the University of Toledo. Christensen is no stranger to the Big Sky Conference. He coached offensive line, tight ends and running backs at Idaho State in 1990 and 1991 and spent two seasons at Eastern Washington University coaching the offensive and defensive lines. As an assistant at EWU, Christensen was 1-1 vs. Weber State. As an assistant at Idaho State he was 0-2 vs. Weber State and as an assistant at Toledo he was 2-0 vs. the Wildcats.
Saturday's game marks the third meeting between the ‘Pokes and Wildcats. The first meeting in 1990 saw the Cowboys hold on for a 21-12 win against the ‘Cats led by then-sophomore quarterback Jamie Martin. In 1999 Wyoming ran all over the Wildcats, 41-16.
LAST MEETING -Sept. 11, 1999 - Laramie, WY
The Wildcats took an early 10-3 first quarter lead but did not score again until mid-way through the 4th quarter as the Cowboys rallied for a 41-16 win before 16,227 on a sunny September afternoon. After stopping the Cowboys on the first series of the game, the Wildcats drove to the Wyoming 20 but Mike Minnoch's 37-yard field goal failed.
In the next series, WSU's Jason Allen intercepted a Jay Stoner pass and returned it to the Cowboy 11-yardline. Three plays later on a fourth and one, WSU's Dusty Harris threw a quick pass to Phil Hazel giving the ‘Cats a 7-0 lead.
Wyoming's Aaron Elling made the first of his two first half field goals, a 27-yarder at the 4:06 mark making it 7-3. The Wildcats then drove 51 yards in nine plays capped by a 47-yard field goal from Minnoch making it 10-3. Wyoming answered on its next possession with Elling hitting from 55-yards out.
After a defensive stop, the Cowboys went on a time-consuming 14 play, 80 yard drive with Matt Swanson finding Willie King on a 28-yard TD pass with 5:34 remaining in the first half and a 13-10 halftime lead. Wyoming struck pay dirt twice in the third quarter with Jon Jennings and Tim Beasley each scoring on one-yard runs. The score by Jennings was set up by an interception by Robbie Duncan.
Wyoming took advantage of a Derek Poole fumble early in the fourth quarter going 45 yards in six plays with Beasley scoring on another one-yard run making it 34-10. Poole made up for the fumble on WSU's next series scoring on a two-yard run. The two-point conversion failed. Wyoming came right back marching 65 yards in six plays with Jennings catching a 29-yard TD pass from Swanson with 7:47 remaining.
Both teams had balanced attacks. The Wildcats rushed for 183 and passed for 151 while the Cowboys rushed for 250 and threw for 238. Wyoming's Jon Jennings rushed 20 times for 115 yards.
WEBER STATE AGAINST NCAA DIVISION I FBS
In 48 seasons of playing on the four-year level, Weber State is a combined 3-40-0 (.069) against teams in the old NCAA Division I level, now Division I FBS. WSU's three wins have come in 1978 (at Utah State: 44-25) and back-to-back wins at Nevada in 1992 (23-2) and 1993 (47-30). Those were the first two years in which Nevada moved up to Division I and joined the Big West Conference.
WEBER STATE VS. THE MOUNTAIN WEST
Weber State is a collective 2-18-0 (.100) against teams which currently make up the Mountain West Conference.
- 0-1 vs. Air Force
- 0-2 vs. BYU
- 0-2 vs. Colorado State
- 2-5 vs. UNLV (wins came when UNLV was Div. II)
- 0-1 vs. New Mexico
- 0-2 vs. San Diego State (SDSU was Div II both games)
- 0-3 vs. Utah
- 0-2 vs. Wyoming
COACH MCBRIDE VS. WYOMING
The lonesome stretch of I-80 from Utah to Laramie is a familiar one for Weber State head coach Ron McBride. McBride spent 13 years as the head coach at Utah and faced the Cowboys 11 times and posted a 7-4 record. Utah did not play Wyoming in 1996 or 1997. McBride was 4-2 against the Cowboys when playing in Laramie.
Here is his breakdown vs. Wyoming while at Utah
- 1990 Salt Lake City L 10-28
- 1991 Laramie W 57-42
- 1992 Salt Lake City W 38-7
- 1993 Laramie L 28-12
- 1994 Salt Lake City W 41-7
- 1995 Laramie W 30-24
- 1998 Laramie L 27-24
- 1999 Salt Lake City L 43-29
- 2000 Laramie W 34-0
- 2001 Salt Lake City W 35-0
- 2002 Laramie W 23-18
SCOUTING THE COWBOYS
Wyoming is coming off a 4-8 record in 2008 and a 1-7 mark in Mountain West Conference play. Those two marks led to the dismissal of Joe Glenn as the head coach.
Coach Dave Christensen brings in the no-huddle spread offensive which he directed at the University of Missouri with much success.
The Cowboys return 43 lettermen (19 offense, 21 defense, 3 specialists) and 17 starters (7 offense, 8 defense, 2 specialists).
Wyoming's strength coming into the 2009 season is its defense led by defensive tackle John Fletcher (6-6, 272 Sr.), defensive end Mitch Unrein (6-4, 270 Sr.) and free safety Chris Prosinski (6-1, 208 Jr.).
Fletcher enters the 2009 season ranked 10th on the Wyoming career quarterback sack list with 17.0. He has earned 2nd Team All-Mountain West honors each of the past two seasons while Unrein and Prosinski earned Honorable Mention honors in 2008.
Coach Christensen's new fast-paced offense will be put into the hands of either Dax Crum (6-4, 206 Jr.), Karsten Sween (6-2, 229 Sr.) or JC transfer Robert Benjamin (6-2, 205 Jr.) Sween enters the 2009 season with 3,636 career passing yards and needs just 184 more to move into 10th place on the Wyoming career passing charts. Sween has thrown 21 career touchdown passes but also has 31 career interceptions. Benjamin was not enrolled at Wyoming last spring and enters 2009 Fall camp behind the other two but is experienced in running the spread offense at Phoenix Community College.
In the 2009 Mountain West Conference Pre-Season poll of coaches and media, the Cowboys were picked to finish 9th.
WEBER STATE UNIVERSITY "WILDCATS"
COACH RON MCBRIDE
Weber State head coach RON McBRIDE enters into his 5th season as head coach of the Wildcats and his 18th overall as a head coach on the NCAA Division I level. McBride is now 25-22 (.532) at WSU and 113-85 (.571) overall. In 2008 McBride was named the Big Sky Conference Coach-of-the-Year after leading the Wildcats to a 10-4 record overall and a 7-1 mark and the conference co-championship in Big Sky Conference play. It marked the first time since 1968 that the Wildcats had captured the Big Sky Conference championship.
McBride guided his Wildcats to a 45-28 win over #2 ranked Montana during the regular season and a stunning 49-35 road win over #3 ranked Cal Poly in the first round of the NCAA Division I FCS playoffs.
Twelve of McBride's athletes earned First Team All-Big Sky Conference, the most by any team in a single season in the 47-year history of the league. Twenty Wildcats earned some type of all-conference honor in 2008. Ten Wildcats earned Second or Third Team All-America honors either by The Associated Press or The Sports Network.
Team will depart on Thursday night, Sept. 3 by charter bus. Team headquarters Thursday and Friday night will be the Howard Johnson. Team will bus back to Ogden immediately after the game on Saturday evening.
Back for his 11th season as the football radio voice of Weber State football is Wildcat Carl Arky. He will be joined in the broadcast booth for all home games by former WSU standout defensive back TY SPARR OW and on the road by Assistant Athletic Director for Media Relations, Brad Larsen. Derek Johnson, who all or part of six seasons for the Wildcats as a defensive tackle, will serve as the sideline reporter. Once again, all Weber State football games will be carried LIVE on KLO (1430 AM) with the Pre-Game Show beginning 30 minutes for each kickoff.
The official web site for Weber State University Athletics is: www.weberstatesports.com.
There will be TWO major weekly top 25 polls for NCAA Division I FCS this season. The Sports Network poll is voted upon by sports information directors from all 125 FCS schools plus members of the media who cover those schools. The FCS Coaches Poll is just that.
Coaches from various FCS schools representing each conference and independents vote each week. Both polls are released each Monday afternoon.
FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP SUBDIVISION
It's no longer NCAA Division I-AA but NCAA Division I FCS (Football Championship Subdivision). There 125 teams. Iona dropped football but Old Dominion added the sport for 2009.
There are 14 Division I FCS leagues, eight (Big Sky, Colonial, MEAC, Missouri Valley, Ohio Valley, Patriot Southern and Southland). In 2010, the Big South and Northeast Conference champions will get an automatic berth as well.
This year's first round games begin on Saturday, November 28 with quarterfinals on Saturday December 5, semifinals on Friday/Saturday December 11-12 and the championship game on Friday, December 18 in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
In the 30 year history of NCAA Division I FCS football, a team from the Big Sky Conference has reached the championship game 10 times and have captured five titles. Montana advanced to the 2008 championship game, losing to Richmond. Montana is the last Big Sky team to win the national championship. The Grizzlies defeated Furman, 13-7, in the 2001 title game. Weber State has made three FCS playoff appearances and are 2-3 overall. In 1987 the Wildcats won @Idaho, 59-30 in the opening round then lost @Marshall, 51-23, in the quarterfinals. In 1991, the Wildcats lost @Northern Iowa, 38-21, in the opening round. Last season (2008), the Wildcats won @Cal Poly, 49-35, then lost @Montana, 24-13, in the quarterfinals.
48TH SEASON OF FOOTBALL AT WSU
Saturday marks the beginning of the 48th season of Weber State University on the four-year level, and the 47th season as a member of the Big Sky Conference. Weber State attained four-year status in 1962 and played as an NCAA Division II member until 1978 when, along with the rest of the Big Sky Conference, moved up to the newly created NCAA I-AA (now FCS) level. Weber State's all-time football record stands at 244-259-3 (.482).
The 2009 defensive captains will be: Brighton Barkdull (6-3, 250 Sr. DE), Beau Hadley (6-0, 185 Sr. Safety), Kevin Linehan (6-3, 245 Sr. DE), Josh Morris (6-0, 190 Sr. CB) and Taylor Sedillo (5-11, 235 Jr. MLB).
The offensive captains will be: Cameron Higgins (6-2, 210 Jr. QB), Kyle Mutcher (6-3, 300 Sr. OC), Treyvn Smith (5-9, 210 Sr. RB) and Tim Toone (5-10, 175 Sr. WR).
The special teams captain will be Mike Snoy (6-2, 180 Sr. Punter).
COACHING STAFF CHANGES
The Wildcats had a significant staff changes following the 2008 season. Kevin Clune (Defensive Coordinator), Kevin McGiven (Offensive Coordinator) and Chad Kauha'aha'a (Defensive Line) left as a package to join Gary Anderson's new staff at Utah State. Don Eck was then promoted to assistant head coach/offensive coordinator, but he left after Spring practice to take position with the Las Vegas team in the new NFL development league. After the trio left for USU, Inoke Breckterfield was named the new Defensive Line coach. Former BYU quarterback Jason Beck was named Quarterbacks Coach and former Utah and NFL player, Andre Dyson, was hired to coach the cornerbacks.
Jake Cookus and Colton Swan were named Co-Defensive Coordinators and Matt Hammer was named Assistant Head Coach. In early June, veteran coach Tom Freeman was hired by McBride to replace Eck as the offensive coordinator and offensive line coach.
Weber State is 26-21-0 (.553) in season opening games. Last year the Wildcats opened the 2008 campaign with a 64-6 home field win over Montana-Western. When opening the season ON THE ROAD, the Wildcats are just 4-15-0. The last time WSU opened the season on the road was just two years ago, dropping a 56-7 game at Boise State.
The only season opening WINS on the road by the Wildcats have come in 1963 (13-7 @Eastern Montana); 1966 (32-14 @Northern Arizona); 1968 (27-12 @South Dakota State) and the last time in 1990 (37-21 @Southern Utah).
As a team, the Wildcats have been picked to finish SECOND in the Big Sky Conference by the conference coaches and media.
Nationally, the Wildcats come into the 2009 season ranked NINTH in both The Sports Network and FCS Coaches polls. Cameron Higgins (6-2, 210 Jr. QB) and Trevyn Smith (5-9, 210 Sr. RB) are both on the Walter Payton Award watch list. The Payton Award is presented annually to the top offensive player in NCAA Division I FCS.
Josh Morris (6-0, 190 Sr. CB) is on the Buck Buchanan Award watch list. The Buchanan Award is presented to the top defensive player in NCAA Division I FCS.
Weber State is the only FCS team with TWO PLAYERS on the Payton Award watch list.
The Wildcats return 36 lettermen (16 offense, 18 defense, 2 special teams) and 12 starters (6 offense, 4 defense, 2 special teams) from last year's team which posted a 10-4 record overall and a 7-1 mark in Big Sky Conference play.
Offensively the Wildcats return a load of talent. Trevyn Smith (5-9, 210 Sr. RB) is seeking to become the first player in Big Sky Conference history to lead the league in Rushing Yards Per Game for four straight seasons. He is already WSU's career rushing leader with 4,028 yards. He was the 2008 NCAA Division I FCS Scoring leader with 168 points.
Cameron Higgins (6-2, 210 Jr. QB) was voted the 2008 Big Sky Conference Offensive Player of the Year. He threw for a Big Sky and WSU single season record 4,477 yards and 36 touchdowns. His Passing Efficiency Rating of 166.40 is a WSU single season best, led the Big Sky Conference and was ranked 3rd nationally in NCAA Division I FCS.
Tim Toone (5-10, 175 Sr. WR) set a Big Sky and WSU single season record with 1,525 receiving yards in 2008. He now has 123 career receptions for 2,498 yards and 19 touchdowns. Those 19 TD snags is a WSU career record.
Cody Nakamura (6-2, 240 Sr. TE), who had just 10 catches for 74 yards and no touchdowns in his first two seasons, exploded for 48 catches for 729 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2008.
Up front, Kyle Mutcher (6-3, 300 Sr. Center) is the line leader. All four of those players earned First Team Big Sky honors and all-America honors.
On the defensive side Beay Hadley (6-0, 185 Sr. Safety), Kevin Linehan (6-3, 245 Sr. SE) and Josh Morris (6-0, 190 Sr. CB) each earned First team All-Big Sky Conference honors and all-America honors as well.
The Wildcats return three-year starter Mike Snoy (6-2, 180 Sr.) as the punter and Jon Williams (5-10, 185 Jr.) returns for his second season as the kicker.
Replacing All-America offensive left tackle Paul Carpenter ( 6-6, 310 Sr.) and right tackle Zac Carlson (6-4, 285 Jr.) will be the offensive priority. Carpenter was a three-year starter and Carlson opted to enter the Canadian Football League draft.
Marcus Mailei (6-1, 245 Sr. FB) was a two-time All-Big Sky First Team member and is currently on the roster with the Philadelphia Eagles as a free agent.
On the defensive side, Bryce Scanlon (6-3, 290 Sr. DT) was First Team All-Big Sky and Third Team All-America in 2008. The Wildcats will have to replace all three starting linebackers (Ryan Galovic, Biff Swan and J.D. Folsom). Folsom was a 7th round draft pick of the Miami Dolphins and was named First Team All-Big Sky in 2008
Something the Wildcats cut down on, and got more of, in 2008. The Wildcats lost just 11 fumbles and threw 13 interceptions for 24 turnovers, but recovered 12 fumbles and had 19 interceptions for 31 take-aways for a +7.00 which is a good number.
There are no NCAA Division II or NAIA teams on the Wildcat schedule in 2009. The ‘Cats open the season with back-to-back games at Wyoming (Sept. 5) and Colorado State (Sept. 12). Both teams are members of the NCAA Division I FBS Mountain West Conference.
The Wildcats make three appearances on regional television in 2009. The home game on Sept. 19 with Idaho State, and road games Oct. 10 (Eastern Washington) and Oct. 24 (Northern Colorado) will be carried live on ALTITUDE TV out of Denver, Colorado. The Oct. 3 home game vs. Montana State will carried live on MAX MEDIA TV out of Bozeman, Montana and the Oct. 31 game at Montana is being carried live on KPAX-TV out of Missoula.
Since becoming a four-year school in 1962-63, Weber State's all-time football record stands at 244-259-3. In the friendly confines of Stewart Stadium, the Wildcats are 149-92-2 and will be looking for the 150th home field victory on Sept. 19 against arch-rival Idaho State. The 10 victories in 2008 tied the WSU school record for most in a season. The 1987 team posted a 10-3 mark.
COACH RON MCBRIDE QUOTES
ON PLAYING AT WYOMING: "I have some great memories of playing Laramie while I was at Utah as an assistant and head coach. They have some of the best fans and supporters of any team in college football. At least I know this week it won't be snowy, below zero and at night!
ON THE COWBOYS: "They are really solid and physically strong on the defensive side of the ball. They have some good athletes who get to the ball in a hurry. Our offensive line will be tested in hurry. Offensively they have a new system in place and we really don't know what to expect, other than we will need to be on our toes, focused and ready because the ball is going to be put in play in a hurry.
ON THE WILDCATS: "We came out of Fall camp in great shape. Our summer lifting and conditioning programs really paid off and our injuries in camp were minimal and nothing serious. I am excited about this group. They have a chance to do some special things this season but like I tell them each day, it's all about being mentally, as well as physically, prepared each and every down."
ON THE SEASON: "Obviously our first two games will be challenging, but on our level it helps pay the bills and get us more exposure in our region. The Big Sky is going to be strong again, but this year we will have the bull's eye on our jerseys. We won't be sneaking up on anyone this season. That's way it is imperative we come prepared every week this season."