Weber State's football program gets a two-for-one opportunity for redemption Friday night, hosting Montana in a quarterfinal game at Stewart Stadium in Ogden.
Weber State and powerful North Dakota State are the only teams to have made the FCS quarterfinals each of the past three seasons, the difference being the Wildcats haven't advanced past that stage. They would love to get a shot at NDSU, which could come only in the FCS title game Jan. 11 in Frisco, Texas.
The next step requires a much better performance against No. 6 seed Montana than the No. 3 Wildcats delivered Nov. 16, when they trailed 35-3 after three quarters in Missoula, Mont. An injury to quarterback Jake Constantine didn’t help, and four turnovers also were costly. Montana drove 30 and 21 yards for touchdowns, while posting 394 total yards in the game to WSU’s 363.
“Reviewing our last game with Weber State, I didn't think we played particularly well,” Montana coach Bobby Hauck said, “so we need to play better than that this time in order to win this game.”
Each team had a bye into the round of 16. Weber State topped Kennesaw State 26-20 as Constantine passed for 234 yards, with receivers Devon Cooley and David Ames each topping 100 yards in Ogden.
In Missoula, Montana's offense went wild in a 73-28 defeat of Southeastern Louisiana. The Grizzlies posted 600 total yards, with Dalton Sneed passing for 493 yards and five touchdowns and Samori Toure catching 12 passes for 303 yards. Montana had lost 48-14 to Montana State to conclude the regular season.
Montana State, the No. 5 seed, also is hosting a quarterfinal game this weekend vs. Austin Peay. Big Sky co-champion Sacramento State, coached by former Utah offensive coordinator Troy Taylor, lost in the round of 16 as the No. 4 seed.
MONTANA AT WEBER STATE
At Stewart Stadium, Ogden
Kickoff: 8 p.m.
Radio: KLO-AM 1430.
Records: Montana 10-3; Weber State 10-3.
Series history: Montana leads, 40-15.
Last meeting: Montana 35, Weber State 16 (Nov. 16).
About the Grizzlies: Montana is making its first FCS quarterfinal appearance since 2009, after a long history of success in the playoffs. The Grizzlies are 10-1 in quarterfinal games, but only 2-10 overal in road playoff games. … In 2008, Montana avenged an October loss at Weber State by beating the Ron McBride-coached Wildcats in a quarterfinal game in Missoula. … Utah State alumnus Kent Baer, a coaching veteran of 40-plus years, is Montana’s defensive coordinator.
About the Wildcats: Weber State is one of three FCS programs with 10-plus wins in each of the past three seasons. … Trey Tuttle has broken a school season record with 22 field goals, in 26 attempts. … WSU’s defense is No. 5 in the FCS in third-down conversions at 30%. … The Wildcats are No. 7 in turnover margin at plus-11 for the season, but were minus-2 in their loss at Montana. … The winner will meet Friday’s winner of a game between No. 2 seed James Madison and Northern Iowa.