Weber State Football Hosts Another Home Test in Montana State | News, Sports, Jobs

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Robert Casey, Weber State Athletics

The Weber State football team enters the field ahead of a game against Southern Utah on Saturday April 3, 2021 at Cedar City.

For the fourth game in a row at home, Weber State football will host a ranked team inside Stewart Stadium when the No.19 Wildcats (2-3, 1-1 Big Sky) start against the Bobcats. Montana State # 9 (5-1, 3-0) at 8 p.m. on Friday.

Given the remaining schedule, Friday’s game might not technically be an absolute must-have, but it’s hard to overstate its importance to Weber State’s playoff arithmetic.

“I think Coach (Jay) Hill put it in the best words, to just come to ourselves. We’ve made mistakes in previous games… where we shouldn’t have been, ”said offensive lineman Noah Atagi. “This Cal Poly game just brought us back to our mojo of what we do as a Weber State football team.

“Seeing what we can do against a ranked opponent on Friday night, I think we’re all up for the challenge. It’s something we’ve been waiting for a week now and we’re just ready to let go.

Hill added, “At the end of the day, it’s a real team that comes here. We have to play well. It’s no different than what we expect to have to play when we play the top echelon of this conference. You have to play well to win.

Aside from the turnover margin, where MSU is plus-10 and WSU minus-4 this season, a lot of eyes will be on quarterbacks and running backs.

For the home side, second-season rookie Bronson Barron returns to center after missing just over three games with an MCL knee injury suffered early in the second half on September 11 at Dixie State. .

“I expect him to play well,” Hill said. “When you come back from an injury like that, you have to remind yourself that the injury doesn’t affect you, the timing with the spreads and everything in between. I would say he’s on the right track to where we need him.

At this point in 20 quarterbacks of football, Barron has played about six quarters, junior Randall Johnson about four, second Kylan Weisser nine, and rookie Creyton Cooper one.

“I think the most important thing is just the change of voice that’s behind us so we know the cadence and just their timing of everything,” Atagi said of the carousel’s effects on the offensive line. “It’s just voice recognition. As the O-line, we feel confident because we just have faith in ourselves and what we’re doing in the game. So it’s mostly us who build those behind us.

Weisser’s shattered fibula two weeks ago means Johnson is back in No.2 duties as Barron returns to action.

For Montana State, junior transfer and NC State Matt McKay appears to have unlocked a variety of offensive successes for new head coach Brent Vigen.

McKay throws for 224 yards per game at 68% completion with a 12 to 1 ratio of touchdowns to interceptions. He’s gained about 200 rushing yards on running plays (taking sacks out of the equation), and joins Isaiah Ifanse (110 rushing yards per game) and wide receiver Lance McCutcheon (96 yards per game, 19 per reception) in a three-way attack. .

“They do a lot of RPO stuff and I think he’s made some really good decisions so far this year. He throws it with precision, ”Hill said. “And they have a good, solid racing game that requires you to load the box so that perimeter gazes are a bit easier I believe because teams have to load the box to take Ifanse away.” (McKay) did a good job.

Montana State’s rushed attempts go overwhelmingly to Ifanse (108 carries) or McKay (42), with Elijah Elliott saving 40 yards per game on 39 total carries. They combine to account for 76% of MSU precipitation attempts.

It’s more varied for Weber. With the skill of Dontae McMillan, coaches were more careful with Josh Davis when he got knocked out, causing him to miss about seven of the 20 quarterbacks this season at this point.

Davis still leads the team in attempts (49) with McMillan (48) leading the team in efficiency to 6 yards per carry. QB runs were more pronounced under offensive coordinator Matt Hammer, with Weisser (22 attempts), Johnson (19) and Barron (16) representing more runs than Kris Jackson (15) and Damon Bankston (11).

Hill said the offensive improvement will come as the Wildcats increase their points per practice, which means they will complete yardage-producing practices that have gone blank too often this season.

“I want to see us manage it effectively. I want to see us throw the ball with a high winning percentage and the yards per attempt have to be a little better than they’ve been this year, ”said Hill. “I like the game plan that the coaches have come up with at the moment.”

ODDS AND PREDICTIONS

Jeff Sagarin, a longtime guru of college football computer assessment, ranks all FBS and FCS together. Its system ranks Weber State 128th nationally and Montana State 114th.

Using their prediction formula and taking home home advantage into account, Montana State is favored by 0.5 points – essentially a pick ’em.

WEATHER SITUATION

An early cold snap struck at the same time, ESPN decided to move the game to a Friday night, which will make the weather chilly at Stewart Stadium. Kick-off at 8 p.m. takes place around 75 minutes after sunset and the temperature forecast is 46 degrees, dipping to around 42 by the end of the game.

TV & RADIO

ESPN chose this game as one of two Big Sky Conference matchups this season to air on cable TV instead of ESPN + streaming. This game will air on ESPNU with Mark Neely and Tom Ramsey on call.

For online streamers, the game will only be available through the ESPN app or watchspn.com for those who have ESPNU as part of their cable or satellite subscription; it will not be available through an ESPN + subscription.

For the WSU radio call, Steve Klauke and Jerry Graybeal will call the game on 103.1 FM and 1031thewave.com.

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