We took over a program that everyone knows was struggling a little bit, and what these seniors have done the last two years is win eight of the last 10 home games. – Jay Hill

Between the University of Utah's march toward a possible Pac-12 championship, and BYU's string of heart-stopping finishes under a popular new coaching staff, it's easy to overlook the fact that another college football program in this state is having a pretty solid season of its own this year.

And that school would be … wait for it … Weber State.

Yes, the unheralded Wildcats, under third-year head coach Jay Hill, have assured themselves of a second straight winning season and have a shot at possibly earning a spot in this year's Football Championship Subdivision national playoffs with another win next weekend.

Sure, back-to-back winning seasons are nothing new to the big boys like Utah and BYU, which have come to expect nothing less over the last 25 years (if you're a Ute fan) and, thanks to LaVell Edwards and Bronco Mendenhall, for more than four decades in Provo. (OK, so that whole Gary Crowton thing didn't go quite as well).

But for a school like Weber State, where men's basketball has always been king, those types of football seasons don't come along every year.

In fact, over the last 45 years, only three of eight Wildcat head coaches have managed to put together winning records in back-to-back years.

Dave Arslanian did it on two separate occasions in his nine years at the helm (first in 1991-92, followed by a three-year run from 1995-97).

Ron McBride, who resurrected Utah's sputtering program in the early 1990s and helped put the Utes on the road to prominence, also had a streak of three straight winning seasons (2008-10) during his seven years at Weber State.

Enter Hill, whose team went 6-5 in his second season last year — after WSU had won a total of just six games combined in the three previous years before that — and whose team improved to 6-4 this year with a gritty 22-15 victory over nationally ranked Cal Poly on Saturday.

The Wildcats, now 5-2 in the Big Sky Conference with a regular-season finale at Idaho State next Saturday, parlayed a superb defensive effort into stopping a strong Cal Poly rushing attack which came into Saturday's contest ranked No. 2 in the nation.

Fittingly, Weber State snapped a two-game skid and staged a superb showing on "Senior Day" at Stewart Stadium, where 17 WSU seniors played at home for the final time.

And Coach Hill was quick to credit his coaching staff and his players for coming up with what it took to turn back the visiting Mustangs and move the Wildcats a giant step closer to a possible FCS postseason spot.

"I can't say enough about the defensive coaches and what a great job they did in just putting together the game plan," Hill told Steve Klauke on his postgame radio show on 1430 AM. "And I've gotta give the players a ton of credit buying into the scheme — they were physical, they were tough.

"We've got an opportunity to win seven games for the first time in a long time (2009), and I still think this is a playoff-contending team because we've got a lot of weapons on our team."

Safety Cory Thomson, a converted fullback, drew a ton of praise in contributing to the Wildcats' latest win, and he's one of those hard-working, unselfish seniors that Hill credits for helping turn around Weber State's program from where it was a couple of years ago.

"This senior class is unbelievably special to me," the Wildcats' head coach said. "We took over a program that everyone knows was struggling a little bit, and what these seniors have done the last two years is win eight of the last 10 home games.

"And they've done so many good things. This is two winning seasons in a row, which they haven't even remotely sniffed at before then.

"So there's so many good things and I'm so proud of this senior group. And you go give those guys hugs, and you can just sense the emotion and the pride that this program has brought to them the last two years," Hill said. "This is a prideful group of kids that does things right now, and I couldn't be happier with them."

Indeed, Weber State's fans and administration couldn't help but like what they see from Coach Hill, his staff and his players.

And you can't help but believe that the best is yet to come.

EMAIL: rhollis@desnews.com