Wildcats keep playoff hopes alive with 27-9 victory against NAU

Wildcats keep playoff hopes alive with 27-9 victory against NAU

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OGDEN -- It was a winter wonderland Saturday afternoon at Stewart Stadium in Ogden as the Weber State Wildcats kept their slim playoff hopes alive with a big win against the Lumberjacks of Northern Arizona 27-9.

About an hour before kickoff Mother Nature's wrath was felt as the snow started to fall and didn't let up at all throughout the whole game. Wildcat volunteers were shoveling the yard lines during timeouts, players were huddled up together sharing jackets, and even a tractor was on the sidelines trying to push the snow away.

The first two quarters of the game belonged to the special teams. Wildcat kicker Mike Snoy kicked two field goals, one from 35 yards and another from 34 yards, to give the Wildcats the early 6-0 lead as the first quarter ended.

In the second quarter it was Northern Arizona's kicker Matt Myers turn to put his team on the board. Myers drilled field goals from 28 and 24 yards to knot the game up at 6-6 going into the half.

"Basically it's like trying to kick on an ice rink," said Snoy. "I was kicking snow out of the way just so I could try and get some good footing to kick the ball. The ball felt like it was an ice block. It was cold and miserable, but special teams have been a big key for us all season long and that showed once again today."

As the third quarter started, it was the foot of the Lumberjacks' Myers that gave Northern Arizona their first and only lead of the game, as he nailed a 23 yard field goal to break the tie and give his team the lead at 9-6.

The rest of the afternoon belonged to the Wildcats. With just under seven minutes left in the third quarter Wildcat punt returner Tim Toone ran a punt back 90 yards to the house as he gave the Wildcats the lead and some much needed energy at 13-9.

The fourth quarter saw Wildcat tight end Tyrell Francisco catch two touchdown passes to put the game well out of reach. The first touchdown catch was a 15-yard pass from quarterback Cameron Higgins with just under a minute gone by in the quarter.

Francisco's second touchdown catch came when the Wildcats backup quarterback Mike Hoke came into the game. Hoke rolled out of the pocket to the right and connected with his big tight end for a 19-yard touchdown to put the game well out of reach and give the Wildcats the victory 27-9.

That win for the Wildcats finished the Big Sky Conference Regular Season for them at 6 wins and 2 losses, meaning they can't finish worse than second place, but the question on everyone's mind is will it be good enough for a second straight playoff birth?

"Ya know all we can do is take care of business on the field," said WSU Safety Beau Hadley. "All we can do is keep winning and then the rest is up to the committee. Hopefully our hard work pays off and we can get in, but we know that all we can do and what we must do is win."

The Wildcats finish the regular season against Cal Poly next Saturday at home in Stewart Stadium. Kickoff for that game is scheduled for 12 p.m.

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