It certainly wasn't pretty, but Weber State's football team will take its 35-24 win Saturday night at Wildcat Stadium over Southern Utah.
Weber opened up a big lead early in the second half but had to hold off a furious Thunderbird rally to earn the victory in the sloppy, penalty-filled contest. Both teams are now 1-1."A win's a win, and we'll take it," Weber coach Dave Arslanian said. "I was pleased with our play in the first half, but not so pleased with the second. You've got to give Southern Utah credit, though. They showed a lot of character to get back in it."
"It's still frustrating because things aren't the way they used to be or how they should be," Weber quarterback Jamie Martin said. "We'd get a couple of good plays and then a penalty or fumble or something would stop us."
The Wildcats scored touchdowns running the ball, passing the ball, on special teams and defensively in taking a 35-6 lead early in the second half. Southern Utah scored three straight touchdowns in the final 20 minutes of play, however, to close the gap.
Weber has now beaten Southern Utah all eight times the teams have met.
Weber opened the scoring on a 73-yard punt return by Joel Pelagio Williams with four minutes remaining in the first quarter. The extra point attempt was blocked, giving the Wildcats a 6-0 lead.
Southern Utah's Michael Key returned the ensuing kickoff 70 yards to the Weber State 30, but the T-Birds failed to capitalize after a fumbled snap was recovered by Weber's Tim Otton.
Early in the second quarter, Martin led the Wildcats on a nine-play drive culminating in an 18
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yard scoring strike to Dell Stilston. A two-point conversion pass from Martin to Trevor Shaw gave Weber a 14-0 lead with 12:43 remaining in the half.
Minutes later Otton recovered his second fumble of the game and returned it 47 yards for a touchdown, and the Wilcats had a 21-0 advantage. "I just scooped it up and ran for my life," Otton said.
Southern Utah got on the scoreboard following a fumble recovery, going 37 yards in nine plays, with Zed Robinson scoring from two yards out. The extra point was no good, however.
Martin engineered a 60-yard seven play drive late in the half, the big play being a 29-yard pass to Stilson. Von Robinson scored on a one-yard plunge with 35 seconds remaining in the half, giving Weber a 28-6 lead at the intermission.
The Wildcats took the second half kickoff and marched 80 yards on 13 plays, scoring on a seven-yard pass from Martin to Shaw. Patrick Schmidle's PAT was good, and Weber had a 35-6 lead.
But Southern Utah was actually the dominant team in the second half, outscoring Weber 18-7, but the first half hole was too large to dig out of.
Martin completed 22 of 38 passes for 246 yards. As a team, the Wildcats had 355 yards of total offense to Southern Utah's 249.
Weber will open up the Big Sky season next Saturday at Idaho.