Ogden • One more time, Weber State ended a football game with a different primary running back than when it started. But the Wildcats' offense also didn't seem to miss a beat on Saturday as Weber stayed unbeaten in Big Sky play with a 45-27 victory over Montana State.
In fact, Wildcats coach Jay Hill thought that his team's offensive execution was almost exactly where he wanted it as Weber State scored touchdowns on its first six possession and led 42-14 at halftime.
"Quite frankly, that's as good as our offense has played in the throw game," Hill said. "Jadrian [Clark, Weber's quarterback] did a great job of staying within himself, going through his reads."
The big obstacle, at least in theory, came when starting running back Emmanuel Pooler left after the Wildcats' second touchdown. In his place came senior Haini Moimoi, who finished with 85 yards on the ground.
"One man goes down, the other has to be ready to go — I think that's what our team takes pride in," said Moimoi, who actually was a recruit for coach Ron McBride back in 2010 when his collegiate career began.
His two touchdowns in the second half marked the first time collegiately that he had gotten into the end zone.
"I went on a mission and came back and this is probably the biggest game I've been in," Moimoi said. "Feels good."
Last week against Portland State, Pooler came into the game in relief of starting running back Treshawn Garrett. That's just the latest in rushing substitutions for the Wildcats.
"I don't know what the heck is going on with our running back group, but Eric Wilkes, Treshawn Garrett and Emmanuel Pooler all have ankle [injuries] right now," Hill said. "Maybe it's something we're feeding them, I don't know."
Weber State (4-2, 3-0) did not build up an early 21-0 lead without a little help from the visitors.
After a Clark-to-Cam Livingston 18-yard pass for the first touchdown, Montana State (2-5, 0-4) fumbled away a pitch on its next possession, recovered by WSU's Trey Hoskins, to give the Wildcats the ball at the 24.
Three plays later, Clark hit Cory Thompson for a 5-yard touchdown strike.
The Bobcats then coughed up the ensuing kickoff and Weber State regained the ball at the 26. This time it took only two plays to hit paydirt as Clark went to Livingston on a 7-yard connection.
Montana State, led by quarterback Chris Murray's 131 yards rushing, then traded TDs with the Wildcats over the next four possession before a 2-yard run by Moimoi capped the scoring in the first half.
After losing its first two games, Weber State has now won four in a row — its first four-game winning streak since 2008.
"The only thing that tells me is that we'd better get ready to go for Southern Utah," said Hill of his team's next venture on the schedule. "Are we happy with the progression of pulling out some of these games? Absolutely.
"But we've still got a long ways to go and some our best football has yet to be played," Hill added. "It was close in that first half."
North Dakota 45, Southern Utah 23
In Grand Forks, N.D., Keaton Studsrud completed 20 of 27 passes for 282 yards and four touchdowns as North Dakota defeated Southern Utah in Big Sky action.
The contest was North Dakota's 100th homecoming game, and the Fighting Hawks put on a show with seven players scoring, racking up 537 yards of offense on 81 plays and holding the ball for nearly 40 minutes. North Dakota (5-2, 4-0) continued its streak after opening the season 0-2.
Studsrud found Luke Stanley from the 9 to open the scoring, then hit Noah Wanzek from the 7 for a 28-17 halftime lead. He threw TD passes to Travis Toivonen and De'mun Mercer in the fourth quarter. Brady Oliveira (12 carries, 64 yards) and John Santiago (15-55) also scored for North Dakota.
Patrick Tyler passed for 288 yards with two TDs for the Thunderbirds (3-3, 2-2) but was intercepted twice.