Ogden • A nice beginning in the first quarter and a needed response, offensively and defensively, in the fourth quarter proved to be very successful bookends for Weber State against visiting Cal Poly on Saturday.
In the Wildcats' last home game of the year, Weber knocked off the Mustangs 22-15 at Stewart Stadium.
"It's been a long time coming," said Weber quarterback Jadrian Clark of the chance for the Wildcats next week to get seven wins in the regular season and possibly a playoff berth. "When I came here four-and-a-half years ago, it was almost like a dream. At the time, just losing, losing, losing — to get to where we are today, it's just surreal."
Weber State (6-4, 5-2) never trailed in the Big Sky Conference game, but it was tied when Cal Poly (6-4, 4-3) chewed up eight minutes of game clock and finished its first possession of the third quarter with a 19-yard run by Kory Fox.
A two-point conversion run by D.J. Peluso evened the score at 15-15.
But the Wildcats took the lead for good when sophomore fullback Brady May, in the first rushing attempt of his collegiate career, ran 2 yards for a touchdown with 9:09 left in the fourth quarter.
"I knew he was going to score," said Clark of May, who was put into the backfield when senior Cory Thomson was suddenly moved to play free safety during the week. "All week we've been running that play — we just believed in the call."
Then it was up to the Weber State defense and it was the secondary, with new member Thomson part of the group, that made the big plays down the stretch.
Cal Poly's initial try to respond was thwarted when senior safety Josh Burton stepped in front of an intended pass to Peluso with just under seven minutes to play. That was on a third-down play, but the previous two snaps — both pitches to Mustangs back Kori Garcia, were stifled by Weber cornerbacks.
"Taron Johnson had a couple of huge hits today. In my opinion, he's the best corner in the league," Weber State coach Jay Hill said. "They were getting us a couple of times before that going opposite of Taron. We lost that pitch guy, but when they went to Taron's side, he was a stud."
The Wildcats had a chance to clinch the win late in the fourth, but a 33-yard field goal attempt by Taylor Hintze went wide left. Cal Poly's last drive petered out at the Weber State 33 when a fourth-down pass, with 47 seconds left, went incomplete.
Weber's first touchdown came on the heels of a fumble by Cal Poly on the Mustang's first offensive snap. Clark found Andrew Vollert for an 18-yard touchdown pass early in the opening quarter and the Wildcats later got a 16-yard strike from Clark to Drew Batchelor for a 12-0 lead.
A 33-yard field goal by Hintze pushed the margin up to 15 before Cal Poly answered just before half with a Joe Protheroe 1-yard run to make the score 15-7.
Barring a home playoff game, Saturday's contest will be the last for Weber this year in Ogden. Hill will likely be satisfied knowing that it ended with a victory over a highly-ranked (Cal Poly was No. 16 in the FCS) opponent.
"That's eight of ten home games we've won in the last two years," said Hill, whose team will travel to Idaho State next week. "To pull off a feat like that is huge."