Estimated read time: 17-18 minutes
(21) Weber State at (14) Eastern Washington
Saturday, October 10, 2009- 12: 35 p.m. (PDT)
Woodward Field- Cheney, Washington
STORYLINE: #21 ranked Weber State faces a difficult road test this Saturday, October 10 as they travel to Cheney, Washington for a match up against #14 ranked, and Big Sky Conference leader, Eastern Washington. Kickoff is set for 12:35 p.m. (PDT) / 1:35 (MDT) and will be carried LIVE on Altitude TV. ... Last year, it was Eastern Washington who spoiled a perfect Big Sky season for the Wildcats. The Eagles rolled into Ogden in the last game of the season and defeated the Wildcats, 33-26, and WSU was forced to share the conference title with Montana.
Eastern Washington "Eagles"
Eastern Washington's BEAU BALDWIN is in his 2nd season as head coach of the Eagles. He comes into Saturday's game with a two-year record of 10-6 overall and 8-3 in Big Sky Conference regular season games. ... Baldwin spent one season as the head coach at Central Washington in 2007 where he was 10-3, so his overall career coaching mark stands at 20-9. ... Baldwin is 1-0 vs. Weber State.
Eastern Washington leads the series 14-13-0 and hold an 8-5-0 advantage when playing in Spokane. ... EWU is 3-0 vs. Weber State in games played at Joe Albi Stadium and 5-4 vs. the Wildcats inside Woodward Field. ... The Eagles come into Saturday's game with a modest two-game win streak over the Wildcats. ... Neither team has posted a SHUTOUT in the series. ... Since the Eagles joined the Big Sky Conference on July 1, 1987, they are 12-10 overall vs. Weber State. ... There has been one OVERTIME game played in the series. During the 2000 season in a game played in Ogden, EWU won 27-24.
LAST MEETING - Nov. 22, 2008 - Ogden, Utah
The Wildcats came into the game after a bye week with a chance to something which had never been done in WSU football history - win an outright championship. A win over the Eagle would have given the Wildcats a perfect 8-0 mark in league play, but those hopes and that dream was dashed as the Eagles withstood a furious second half rally to post a 33-26 win before 8,841 fans in Stewart Stadium. ... After begin down 33-7, the Wildcats rallied for three unanswered touchdowns in the final 6:06 of the 3rd quarter to pull within six at 33-26. The Eagles managed to block two of the tree PATs by the Wildcats. ... The two defenses took over the 4th quarter. EWU had three possessions and WSU, two, in the first 12 minutes. .. The Wildcats' 3rd possession began at their own 19 with 2:31 left. CAMERON HIGGINS then guided the Wildcats down field on the strength of two big pass plays of 15 and 16 yards to TIM TOONE. ... On 2nd and 10 from the EWU 28, SMITH rushed 11 yards to the 17 and EWU called time out. ... On the first play following the time out, HIGGINS dumped a short pass to SMITH coming out of the backfield and it appeared he had a slot to go up field and score, but a Wildcat lineman up field bumped SMITH as he was gathering steam to head up field and knocked the ball out of his hands which was recovered by 2008 Buchanan Trophy winner GREG PEACH to end the hopes of the Wildcats with 1:02 remaining. ... The KEY PLAY in the game came at the beginning of the 2nd half when EWU tried to surprise the Wildcats with an on-sides kick and the Wildcats took over at he EWU 38. In shot-gun, a bad snap cost the Wildcats eight-yards on the first play, which was followed by an incomplete pass. On 3rd-and-19, HIGGINS threw downfield and was intercepted by KEVIN HATCH who returned it 73 yards for a touchdown. NICHOLS ended the day 17-33-1 for 242 yards and 2 TDs, and rushed 13 times for 71 yards keeping a couple of scoring drives alive in the 2nd half. .. AARON BOYCE had six catches for 108 yards and two touchdowns. ... HIGGINS WAS 24-41 for 312 yards and 1 TD but suffered 4 interceptions. SMITH had 20 carries for 171 yards a nd 3 TDs. ... TOONE had seven catches for 133 yards.
LAST TIME IN CHENEY, WASH. - Nov. 17, 2007
MATT NICHOLS completed 18-37 passes for 256 yards and four touchdowns, leading the Eagles to a 38-16 win before 4,181 on a cool (49 degrees) rainy afternoon at Woodward Field. .. EWU led 14-10 at half on a 4-yd run by A.J. JIMERSON and a 14-yd pass from NICHOLS to SHANE ELLER. ... WSU scored on a 3-yd run by TREVYN SMITH and a 26-yd field goal from MIKE SNOY as the half ended. .. A 40-yd TD pass from HIGGINS to TIM TOONE with 7:55 left in the 3rd quarter gave the Wildcats a brief 16-14 lead after SNOY's PAT kick missed. ... On the kickoff, NICHOLAS RAMOS returned it 35 yards to the EWU 42, and a personal foul penalty on DUANE PAUL put the Eagles at the WSU 42 and it took the Eagles just two plays to regain the lead for good on a 22-yd pass from NICHOLS to BRYNSEN BROWN. ... A 36-yd TD pass from NICHOLS to NATHAN OVERBAY, a 20-yd field goal by FELIPE MACIAS and an 11-yd run by JIMERSON with 51 seconds left completed the scoring. ... NICHOLS also had 15 carries for 103 yards. ... CAMERON HIGGINS was 21-44-1 for 238 yards and SMITH had 24 carries for 84 yards.
SCOUTING THE EAGLES
Eastern Washington comes into Saturday's game LEADING THE BIG SKY CONFERENCE with a 3-0 record in league play and an overall mark of 4-1. EWU is ranked 14th in The Sports Network poll and 15th in the FCS Coaches poll. .. EWU has three straight Big Sky wins over Northern Colorado (16-0 at EWU), at Sacramento State (56-30) and last week at Idaho State (38-3). ... They opened with season with a 35-14 win at home over Western Oregon and lost 59-7 at California. ... EWU is led by senior quarterback MATT NICHOLS (6-3, 220). A four-year starter, Nichols is just 300 yards away from becoming EWU's career passing leader. He is 102-152 this season for 1,175 yards and nine touchdowns. Nichols has thrown just TWO INTERCEPTIONS all season and none in the last 18 quarters of play. ... His favorite receiver is four-year letterman AARON BOYCE (6-3, 210 Sr.). His 210 career catches ranks him 2nd in EWU history. He has 27 catches for 432 yards and 4 TDs this season. ... What the Eagles have added to their offensive arsenal is a top flight running back in the form of TAIWAN JONES (6-1, 200 Soph.). .. Jones has burst on the scene in 2009 with just 63 carries for 577 yards and 9 TDs already in five games. He is the current Big Sky RUSHING leader (115.40 ypg) and SCORING leader (54 points / 10.8 ppg) and is averaging an eye-popping 9.2 yards per carry! ... On the defensive side, linebacker J.C. SHERRITT (5-10, 220 Jr.) currently leads the Big Sky in Tackles Per Game at 12.0. He has 60 tackles, 31 unassisted and is tied for 2nd in Tackles for Loss per game at 1.50. ... Eastern Washington is the Big Sky TEAM leader in Rushing Offense (168.0), 3rd in Scoring Offense (30.4) and 2nd in Scoring Defense (21.2). ... The lead the Big Sky in Quarterback Sacks at 2.80 per game as well.
NICHOLS VS. WEBER STATE
In three career games vs. Weber State, EWU quarterback Matt Nichols has completed 45-88 passes for 591 yards and seven touchdowns and has rushed 34 times for 177 yards. His Passing Efficiency Rating vs. the Wildcats is 129.30
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 27-25 (.519) at WSU and 115-88 (.566) overall. McBride is 2-2 lifetime vs. Eastern Washington and 1-1 vs. the Eagles in Cheney. ... 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.
RADIO / TV
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 by former WSU standout defensive back TY SPARROW. ... 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. ... New this year is the NCAA Division I FCS Round Up Show which airs 30 minutes before each Pre-Game Show. ... Saturday's game will be carried LIVE on ALTITUDE TV out of Denver, Colorado with MYCHAL CLANTON calling the action, JAY TUST providing color commentary and BROOK HANSEN roaming the sidelines. ... ALTITUDE TV in Utah is carried on Direct TV Channel 681; Dish Network Channel 410 and on Comcast Channel 65.
The team and travel party are set to fly out of Salt Lake City on Friday, October 9 at 12:25 p.m. (MDT) aboard Southwest Airlines, arriving in Spokane, Washington at 1:05 p.m. (PDT). ... Team headquarters will be the Airport Ramada Inn (509) 838-5211. ... Team will fly out of Spokane, Washington on Sunday, October 11 at 10:25 a.m. (PDT) and arrive back in Salt Lake City at 1:00 p.m. (MDT).
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. ... After the 26-21 home field loss to Montana State last Saturday, the Wildcats fell 10 spots to 21st in both The Sports Network and the FCS Coaches Poll this week
48th SEASON OF WEBER STATE FOOTBALL
This is 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 246-262-3 (.481) coming into this week's game vs. Montana State.
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).
TOONE IN FOR THIS
WSU wide receiver TIM TOONE (5-10, 175 Sr.) became WSU's care er RECEIVING YARDS leader last Saturday with five catches for 50 yards vs. Montana State. ... He moved past Wade Orton who had 2,922 career receiving yards. ... Toone now has 2,946 career receiving yards on just 158 receptions (18.64 ypr). He needs just 54 more yards to become the 6th player in Big Sky Conference history to have 3,000 or more career receiving yards. ... Toone needs 49 more receptions to pass Trevor Shaw (206) as WSU's career leader in Pass Receptions. ... Toone is the WSU school record holder for Career Touchdown Receptions with 23. ... As a PUNT RETURN specialist, Toone has 10 for an average of 17.80 yards per return this season. ... He ranks 2nd in the Big Sky, and 10th in NCAA Division I FCS, in yards per return. For his career, Toone has 30 punt returns for an average of 12.20 yards per return WITH A LONG RETURN OF 61 YARDS IN 2006 FOR A TOUCHDOWN AT HOME VS. EASTERN WASHINGTON. ...
BIG SKY CAREER RECEIVING YARDS - 3,000 or More
- Eric Kimble Eastern Washington 4,14
- Fred Amey Sacramento State 4,049
- Kasey Dunn Idaho 3,847
- Orshawante Bryant Portland State 3,449
- Jerry Hendren Idaho 3,435
ALL - PURPOSE FLOUR
...TOONE recorded the first Rushing Yards in his 39 -game career at WSU when he picked up the snap on an intended field goal attempt and gained two yards. ... Toone now ranks 6th on the WSU Career All-Purpose Yards list with 3,621 yards (92.85 ypg). ... He now has two rushing yards, 2,946 receiving yards, 366 punt return yards and 306 kickoff return yards. ... For good measure, he also has EIGHT CAREER TACKLES, six of them unassisted.
PHILLIPS 66 HIGH OCTANE
MIKE PHILLIPS (6-1, 190 Jr. WR) had a career afternoon last Saturday vs. Montana State. The speedster from Seaside, California had a single game career high NINE receptions for a single game career high 163 yards. The 68-yard TD catch from Cameron Higgins was also the longest reception of his 29-game career. ... He previous best was 8 catches for 131 yards as a freshman at Portland State. ... It was his third 100+ yard receiving game of his career. ... The two touchdown receptions were the first TDs for him during the 2009 season. ... Phillips now has 78 career receptions for 1,330 yards and 11 touchdowns.
KEVIN LINEHAN (6-3, 245 Sr. DE) recorded his fifth Quarterback Sack of the season when he tackled MSU quarterback Mark Iddins in the end zone for a safety last Saturday. He is averaging 1.00 per game this season. ... He now has 21 career sacks which puts him 4th on the WSU career charts behind Brady Fosmark (32.5), Jason Jensen (25) and Shane Barkdull (21.5).
SOMETHING HAS TO GIVE ON SATURDAY
Both Eastern Washington and Weber State are ranked among the top four in the Big Sky Conference this season in SCORING OFFENSE and SCORING DEFENSE. ... EWU ranks 3rd (30.4) and Weber State is 4th (29.2) in Scoring Offense while EWU ranks 2nd (21.2) and WSU 4th (25.0) in Scoring Defense. ... Weber State ranks 1st (445.2) in Total Offense while EWU is 5th (408.0). In Total Defense, Eastern Washington ranks 2nd (354.8) and Weber State is 5th (389.6). ... The Wildcats rank 2nd in 3rd Down Conversions at .470 (39-83) and the Eagles are 3rd at .458 (33-72). ... WSU leads the Big Sky in 3rd Down Conversions Allowed at .276 (16-58) and EWU is 4th at .386 (27-70). ... Weber Stae is 6-10 in 4th Down Conversions this season while EWU is the stingiest team in the league at allowing 4th Down Conversions. Eagle opponents are 1-10 this season in 4th Down attempts.
THIS GAME IS A RUSH!
Saturday's game features one of the top up and coming running backs in the Conference against a tried and true veteran. EWU's Taiwan Jones (6-1, 190 Soph.) has burst on the scene in 2009. He is averaging 115.4 rushing yards per game. ... Weber State's Trevyn Smith (5-9, 210 Sr.), the three-time defending Big Sky rushing champion, is seeking to become the first pla yer in Big Sky history to lead the league in rushing average for four straight seasons. Smith is averaging 105.0 rushing yards per game. He is currently the Big Sky's 3rd all-time leading ball carrier with 4,553 career yards.
The Wildcats are averaging a league-leading 33:45 in Time of Possession this season. Montana is second at 31:54. ... Last week vs. Montana State, the Wildcats had the ball for 10:50 in the first quarter and 32:18 for the game. ... The Wildcats have been a 2nd quarter dominator in the possession time averaging 9:08. ... Weber State has had the possession time advantage in every game this season except in the season opener at Wyoming where they were just barely behind at 29:57.
BROWN IS A TOP NEWCOMER
Weber State free safety JORDAN BROWN (6-2, 175 Jr.) has established himself as one of the top newcomers in the Big Sky this season. The junior college transfer from Snow (Utah) JC leads the Wildcats interceptions with two including one on the first play of the game last Saturday vs. Montana State. ... Brown is second on the team in Total Tackles with 44 (22 unassisted) and has two pass break ups and a half tackle for loss. ... Brown returned his interception vs. Montana State back 34 yards. In four interceptions by WSU players this season, those were the first return yards.
RED ZONE CONCERN
In last season's 10-4 campaign, the Wildcats were a solid 50-59 (.847) scoring inside their opponents' 20-yard line or "red zone", and held opponents to 37-48 (.771) inside the zone. ... This season, the Wildcats are just 18-28 (.643) in red zone scoring chances and have given up 16-20 (.800) scoring chance to their opponents. ... Against Montana State, the Wildcats got inside MSU's 20 on seven occasions but came away with just 12 points on one touchdown and two field goals.
The Wildcats have had great success in covering punts this season. MIKE SNOY (6-2, 180 Sr.) ranks 3rd in the Big Sky, and 10th in NCAA Division I FCS, in Punting Average at 43.00. ... Ten of Snoy's 19 punts have either been downed inside the 20 (5), fair caught (4) or have been a touchback (1). ... WSU opponents have had just six punt returns for 20 yards or an average of 3.33 yards per return. ... As a result, WSU's NET PUNTING AVERAGE RANKS 1ST IN THE BIG SKY and 2nd in NCAA Division I FCS this season.
TURNOVERS WILL BE A KEY
Turnovers will be a key in this week's game. EWU leads the Big Sky in TURNOVER MARGIN at +1.00 per game. The Eagles have recovered nine fumbles and picked off four passes for 13 take aways while losing just six fumbles and two interceptions. .... The Wildcats are 6th in the league at -1.00. The Cats have recovered four fumbles and have four interceptions for eight take aways but have lost two fumbles and thrown 11 interceptions for 13 give aways.
FOUR OPPONENTS IN TOP 25
Eastern Washington becomes the second WSU opponent of the 2009 to be ranked. Last week Montana State was 24th in the FCS Coaches poll and this week move up to 23rd in the coaches poll and make their first appearance in The Sports Network poll at 24th. ... EWU is 14th in The Sports Network and 15th in the FCS Coaches poll. ... Montana, WSU's Oct. 31 opponent, remains 3rd in the coaches poll and 4th in The Sports Network poll. ... Cal Poly, WSU's Nov. 21 opponent, is ranked 14th in the coaches poll and 15th in The Sports Network poll.
The Wildcats recorded their first SAFETY since the 2007 season. In last Saturday's meeting with Montana State, WSU defensive end KEVIN LINEHAN sacked Mark Iddins in the end zone. Iddin's actually tried throwing a pass and was called for intentionally grounding. ... Ironically, the last WSU safety also came against Montana State, at home, on a very same play. In 2007, WSU's Derek Johnson sack MSU quarterback Jack Rolovich in the end zone. Rolovich tried a desperation pass which was rule intentionally grounded. ... The last SAFETY by a Wildcat opponent came in 2008 at Idaho State when the Bengals blocked a punt which went out of the end zone.
1ST QUARTER SCORING
Weber State has been outscored 48-22 in the 1st Quarter this season, but have outscored opponents 58-23 in the 2nd, 30-26 in the 3rd and 36-28 in the 4th.
ODD'S AND END'S
The Wildcats have won 49 Big Sky Conference regular season games since the 2000 season. ... Weber State has never had a DEFENSIVE TWO-POINT conversion and has allowed just one which came AT EASTERN WASHINGTON in 1990, the first year the rule was put into effect. EWU's Jackie Kellogg raced 92-yards on an intercepted two-point conversion pass. WSU won that game 36-32. ... The Wildcats have thwarted three two-point after conversions this season by opponents, while converting 2-3 of their own. ... RYAN EASTMAN (6-0, 280 Soph. DT) who suffered a ligament sprain in early September is expected to be back with the Wildcats this weekend and available to play.
Weber State returns home to face SACRAMENTO STATE on Saturday, October 17 at 1:35 p.m. (MDT) in Stewart Stadium. ... It will be WSU's Homecoming Game.
COACH RON McBRIDE QUOTES
ON EASTERN WASHINGTON: "They have a solid quarterback in Nichols. Not only does he have an accurate arm but he's threat to run as well and is a very good runner. Taiwan Jones is the fastest back we have faced to date. He has top end speed when he hits the hole which makes him a breakaway threat every time he gets the ball. Defensively they fly to the ball and their linemen and linebackers have great reaction time in finding the ball. They are playing with a great deal of confidence right now and really don't look worried about whether or not they get to have a chance at post-season play. This is a very good football team."
ON THE WILDCATS: "We need to re-group, re-focus and regain our confidence back. Obviously last week's game hurt and puts us in position where we can ill afford another loss. But this team has shown the ability to bounce back after adversity, and we have some good seniors who I expect will step up and keep this group positive this week, as will our coaching staff."