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OGDEN -- This past Saturday it was suppose to be a battle of the Big Sky Conference's top two teams, but what it turned out to be was a Big Sky Conference butt kicking courtesy of the Montana Grizzlies.
The Grizzlies dominated and embarrassed the Weber State Wildcats, in front of a record crowd of 25,811 in Washington-Grizzly Stadium, 31-10. That win for Montana gives them another Big Sky Conference regular season title and an automatic birth into the FCS playoffs being the conference winner.
Weber State's top ranked defense gave up 506 yards of total offense to the Grizzlies; 241 yards alone to Grizzly running back Chase Reynolds. Turnovers once again plagued the Wildcats as they coughed the ball up five different times. With a performance like that, the Wildcats enter their bye week with mixed feelings.
"I think it is good and bad," said safety Blake Keller. "Personally, and I think as a team, we are itching to get back on the field and show we are a much better football team than we showed against Montana. I think it is good for us though as well because it allows us to watch the film, learn from it, and get better in the next couple weeks."
With the loss against Montana, the Wildcats' hopes of making it to the FCS playoffs for the second straight year were put in serious jeopardy. The Big Sky Conference still has Montana State and Eastern Washington with three overall losses. Big Sky Conference Assistant Commissioner Jon Kasper says that the conference could end up with a couple of 7-4 teams, which makes it difficult to get an at-large playoff bid.
"Some of it depends on what else happens across the country," said Kasper. "The committee could be forced to make a decision between a 9-2 team from a weaker conference from a team with a weaker schedule, or a 7-4 Big Sky team. We've had a strong year in the Big Sky. We're ranked ahead of all the FCS conferences, except the CAA and the Great West."
After this week's bye, the Wildcats will face Northern Arizona and Cal Poly, both at home, to finish off their regular season. Even though the playoffs might be out of reach, the team still plans to finish off their season playing hard.
"There will be no coasting from this team. We were embarrassed out there in Montana and we want to go out with a bang," said Keller. "The playoffs are a stretch, but losing is not going to help us. If we win out and have some things happen then it is possible we could make it, so you will see a fired up Wildcat football team the last two games of the season."