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Stephen F. Austin receiver Aaron Doddy reaches for a pass as Weber State defensive back Jonathan Willis comes up to knock him out of bounds during second quarter of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Aug. 31, 2013, in Ogden, Utah. (AP Photo/Standard-Examiner, Dennis Montgomery) TV OUT; MANDATORY CREDIT.
Weber State football: ‘Cats focus on selves with Utah looming
College football » Young Wildcats’ focus on their own execution for Saturday.
First Published Sep 05 2013 11:30 am • Last Updated Sep 05 2013 11:39 pm

Ogden • The first week of college football brought its share of surprises as eight FCS teams were victorious against larger FBS foes. Most shocking was Eastern Washington’s upset of Oregon State.

If Weber State hopes to become the ninth Football Championship Subdivision program to flex its muscle, the Wildcats, 50-40 winners in their season and home opener against Stephen F. Austin, they say they’re not going to do it by worrying about Utah. Weber State’s focus in preparation for the 1-0 Utes is all Weber State.

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Weber State at Utah

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Eight Wildcats ruled ineligible

Eight Weber State football players were ruled ineligible for academic reasons prior to last Saturday’s home game against Stephen F. Austin, ncluding starting center Tyson Tiatia and kicker Shaun McClain. Weber State confirmed in early August that it was under investigation by the NCAA for “potential academic issues” involving its football players. The school self-reported the issue to the NCAA during the spring. The players include defensive tackle Karl Finai, defensive end Siamani Harris, linebacker Marquel Holmes, cornerback Devonte Johnson, receiver Chase Nakamura and tight end Zane Smith. It unknown if, or when the players will be reinstated. The NCAA was scheduled to visit Weber State this week regarding possible academic fraud involving math classes.

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"We know what a quality opponent Utah is," WSU coach Jody Sears said. "Great moments come from great opportunities, but we can’t focus too much on what Utah is doing."

Sears wants his Wildcats — 0-3 all time against Utah — to concentrate on execution as well as continuing building the trust between coaches and players.

Weber was short-handed in the opener, down eight players — ncluding starting center Tyson Tiatia and kicker Shaun McClain — who were ruled academically ineligible amid an ongoing NCAA investigation for the program involving academic fraud. Instead of panicking, though, WSU didn’t miss a beat.

True freshmen Dakota Jenkins-Baty played a solid game at center, while Carson Fackrell converted his three PATs as well as keeping the Lumberjacks pinned on long kickoffs.

"This goes back to how hard they over the summer," Weber State quarterback Jordan Adamczyk said, following Saturday’s 50-point explosion. "We knew people were going to step up."

In all, uptempo WSU used 20 freshmen in the opener, including Zach Smith, whose 57-yard scoring run on a reverse in the fourth quarter closed out the Wildcats’ scoring.

"For the most part [our preparation], 98 percent will be the same," Sears said. "Keep our routine and keep our consistency."

martyr@sltrib.com


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