OGDEN — They won despite losing six fumbles. The lights went out as they were preparing to tie the game in the third overtime. They played four overtimes and for 4½ hours.

Yes, it was a pretty bizarre night for the Weber State Wildcats at Stewart Stadium on Saturday.

The Wildcats outlasted Northern Colorado 50-47 in the Big Sky opener for both teams in front of 7,219 fans. Freshman kicker Shaun McClain provided the game-winning points with a 35-yard field goal in the fourth overtime, and then the Wildcat defense kept the Bears from scoring when they had their final possession of the game.

Northern Colorado kicker Mason Puckett missed a 42-yard field goal to end it.

"It was one of the most bizarre games I've ever been involved in," said Weber State coach Ron McBride.

His Wildcats — and the Bears, too, for that matter — blew several chances to win the game. But their mistakes were overshadowed by the stadium lights going out. Stewart Stadium went dark at 10 p.m. because the lights were programmed to be turned off for a planned postgame fireworks show.

Weber State was at Northern Colorado's 1-yard line in the third overtime, and then the game was delayed for approximately 15 minutes. When the lights came back on, Cameron Higgins threw a 1-yard touchdown pass to Austin Raught on fourth down to tie the game at 47.

It was up to the defense to put the game away after McClain put the Wildcats ahead 50-47. Northern Colorado put itself in bad field position with false-start penalties on its final possession before Puckett missed his 42-yard attempt. The Wildcats prevented the Bears from getting a first down to make the field goal try tough on Puckett.

"That was wild," said Wildcats linebacker Taylor Sedillo. "We were fighting every down, every minute. That last series, we just out-willed them and that's what this team is about."

Losing six fumbles will almost always prevent a team from winning, but the Wildcats were still able to beat the Bears. Weber State was in position to end the game in regulation, but reserve running back Josh Booker fumbled on Northern Colorado's 28-yard line and the Bears recovered it with 48.4 seconds left in the game.

"I was proud of the way we hung in there time after time," McBride said. "That was some unbelievable toughness by our guys on both sides of the ball."

That aside, I am really upset by our turnovers. One of our goals this year was to win that battle, and I'm disappointed with those."

Weber State lost six fumbles in all of 2009 — and matched that total in one game against the Bears.

It was a milestone night for Higgins, who completed 33-of-54 passes for 340 yards and four touchdowns. He became the second player in school history and ninth in the Big Sky to pass for more than 10,000 yards in his career. He surpassed the mark with a 16-yard completion to Mike Phillips in the first quarter.

Higgins also tied Jamie Martin for most career touchdown passes in Weber State history with 88.

"Our line did a great job," Higgins said after the 'Cats piled up 563 yards of total offense. "They were a very physical team and played hard. To their credit, they did a great job of creating turnovers, and that was very frustrating. "

But it turned out OK for one of the best players in school history, on one of the craziest nights in the program's history.

"This team is together thick and thin right now. I am almost speechless," Higgins said. "This was crazier than the 73-68 game three years ago at Portland State."

The Wildcats gained 563 yards of offense. Booker rushed for 90 yards on eight carries and Bo Bolen had 90 rushing yards. Mike Phillips had 11 catches for 161 yards and two touchdowns.

e-mail: aaragon@desnews.com