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Weber State wins — finally

POCATELLO, Idaho — The losing nightmare is over for the Weber State Wildcats.

The Wildcats (1-8, 1-5) defeated the Idaho State Bengals 26-14 to earn their first victory of the year. The win helps Weber State avoid its first nine-loss season since 1976. WSU will attempt to get its second win next Saturday when they host North Dakota State in Stewart Stadium.

Things finally appeared to be in sync for the Wildcats, who jumped out to a 14-0 lead on their ISU rivals. Quarterback Ian Pizarro connected with receiver Chris McConnell on a 25-yard pass for the first score. Then running back Nick Chournos capped a 97-yard drive with a 5-yard touchdown run.

The Bengals looked like they might tie the game in the second quarter, but WSU free safety John McBride picked off a Mark Hetherington pass near the goal line to prevent a score. Kicker Joe Johnson added a 39-yard field goal and the Wildcats went into the locker room up 17-7.

In the second half, Johnson increased the Weber State lead to 20-7 with a 34-yard field goal. But Idaho State responded with a score of its own. Quarterback Mark Hetherington hit receiver Sale' Key for a 12- yard touchdown that cut the lead to 20-14. Hetherington finished the game 257 yards passing and one score and Key had six catches for 100 yards and one TD.

But the Wildcats seemed destined to win. Weber State came back with another long drive — keyed by a 51-yard scramble by Pizarro — ultimately resulting in a 2-yard TD run by Pizarro that sealed the game.

Several Wildcats contributed big performances. Pizarro had 218 yards passing and one touchdown, along with 61 yards rushing and another TD. The 51-yard run was also the longest by any Wildcat in two years.

Chournos left the game in the third quarter with bruised ribs, ending with 19 carries for 94 yards and one touchdown.

Receiver Ryan Nath caught five passes for 119 yards. Defensive lineman Brady Fosmark contributed 12 total tackles, nine unassisted, two sacks and a forced fumble. Punter Wyatt Kennah also had five punts for an average of 50.2 yards.