Ogden • Weber State played its best game of the season Friday night. The Wildcats set season highs in a number of offensive categories, including more than 500 total yards.
It wasn’t enough.
The final score Friday night at Stewart Stadium was a stat of a different color as the 20th-ranked Cal Poly Mustangs turned a close game into a 45-23 laugher. Now, Weber State must try to win its first game of the season on the road at Sacramento State.
“Stats are stats,” Weber State coach Jody Sears said. “They’re kind of like feelings. ‘How do you feel?’ There are no feelings in football. What’s the score, that’s where the truth lies.”
The truth is also that a freak play can absolutely ruin a team like WSU (0-6, 0-3 Big Sky), which is struggling to grasp onto anything positive. Take, for example, Cal Poly’s defensive lineman Barrett Wangara rumbling 58 yards for a touchdown after a crazy bounce put the football in his hands and acres of open field.
Weber State quarterback Mike Hoke, who also enjoyed his best effort this year, tried to avoid a sack. His attempt to throw the ball out of bounds hit Wangara in the hands, and it stuck.
“I should have taken the sack on that,” Hoke said.
After that punch to the gut, Weber State could only watch helplessly as the Mustangs (5-0, 3-0) scored 24 unanswered points. What had been a Weber State 20-14 lead quickly became a Cal Poly 38-20 runaway.
“That turnover killed us,” Sears said. “That’s the most glaring thing. A turnover and score out if it, it’s almost a double possession.”
“For three quarters, shoot, we’re in it. I was proud of the way the guys started the game. They came out, they executed. Great attitude. Great energy. Confidence.”
There were also little things that may have foreshadowed what was to come. First, Weber State settled for field goals instead of touchdowns in the red zone. Also, despite being dominated, Cal Poly, its triple-option directed by Andre Broadous, stayed in the game with big plays. The Mustangs had three scoring plays of 30 yards or more.
In the second quarter, Cal Poly took advantage of a fake WSU punt to gain possession deep in Wildcat territory. The Mustangs quickly turned their opportunity into six points.
“Football is a game of momentum,” said WSU tailback C.J. Tuckett, who gained 98 yards with a touchdown. “You’ve got to try and stay up when things are down.”
Hoke, who passed for 291 yards, even said his teammates stayed positive during Cal Poly’s scoring explosion.
However, “In all honesty,” Sears said, “we needed to make a few more plays.”
R Beginning in the third quarter, Cal Poly scores 24 unanswered points.
• Weber State outgains Cal Poly 528 yards to 345 and runs nearly double the amount of plays.