Weber State football: 'Cats face Montana in search of 2nd win
Missoula, Mont. • Weber State is running out of time in its quest for a second victory this season.
Since the Wildcats' 50-40 win over Stephen F. Austin in the opener, the Wildcats have lost nine straight games, with only two left to play.
Weber State takes its next shot Saturday afternoon at Montana, which has won five of its last six games.
While the Grizzlies have lost twice in the Big Sky Conference to drop out of the league championship race, they remain alive in the fight for an at-large berth in the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs.
Montana must beat Weber State, however, and the Wildcats come off their best performance during its nine-game losing streak.
Last week against Southern Utah, the Wildcats took a 7-0 lead in the first quarter and battled the Thunderbirds to a 7-7 tie at halftime.
After SUU opened a 24-7 lead late midway through the fourth quarter, Weber State rallied and forced the Thunderbirds to recover an onside kick with 2.9 seconds left to secure their win.
"We played so hard and they want to win so bad, but we have to be smarter," said Wildcat coach Jody Sears, whose team was called for 11 penalties and turned the ball over twice in the third quarter.
"We played with a lot of heart and passion. We just can't make mistakes. We did a lot of good things and we have to stay committed and continue to improve."
Weber State's offense has taken a step forward in recent weeks.
In the first six games of the Wildcats' losing streak, they scored 41 points. But in recent losses to Montana State, Portland State and Southern Utah, Weber State has scored 61 points.
Freshman Austin Chipoletti, who is from Jacksonville, Fla., has thrown for at least 250 yards in those three defeats. In the loss to Southern Utah, he completed 29 of 46 passes for 263 yards and a season-high three touchdowns.
Weber State at Montana
O At Washington-Grizzly Stadium, Missoula, Mont.
Kickoff • Saturday, noon
TV • None
Radio • 1430 AM, 103.1 FM
Records • Weber State (1-9, 0-6), Montana (8-2, 4-2)
Series • Montana, 39-13
Last meeting • Montana, 24-21 (2012)
About the Wildcats • They have lost 13 straight at Montana, going back to 1987. ... In the last three games, freshman QB Austin Chipoletti has thrown for 903 yards and five TDs. ... CB Deon'tae Florence leads the Big Sky in interceptions with four. ... Offensive coordinator Robin Pflugrad is the former head coach at Montana.
About the Grizzlies • They are ranked seventh in the country among Football Championship Subdivision schools. ... They have won five of their last six games. ... They come off a 31-27 victory at South Dakota last week. ... They are 13-2 in their last 15 games against Weber State. ... They rank second in the Big Sky in scoring (38.5).
ONLINE NOW • Weber State is running out of time in its quest for a second victory this season. Since the Wildcats' 50-40 win over Stephen F. Austin in the opener, the Wildcats have lost nine straight games, with only two left to play. > sltrib.com/sports