by Zachary Knecht
Featured Image: Photo by Robert Casey of Weber State Athletics
The quarterfinals of the FCS playoffs allowed the Weber State Wildcats to make amends for the woes of their previous game against the fourth-seed Montana State Bobcats. Unfortunately, despite a late rally, WSU did not taste their revenge as MSU ran away with this game 33-25.
Going into the game, the Wildcats had one thing on their mind: stop the run. After Bobcat quarterback Tommy Mellott torched their defense for nearly 300 rushing yards in their last matchup, Weber State was looking to have an answer for him. Instead, Montana State had a new plan with its utilization of second-string quarterback Sean Chambers.
An Unlikely Contributor
Chambers, who has seen his fair share of action in the 2022 campaign, was not in the game plan for the Bobcats in their last game against the Wildcats but played a massive role in the quarterfinal duel. Mellott and Chambers created a nightmare for the Weber State defense that simply couldn’t find a way to stop them. “Good teams find ways to adjust. I think we probably both did that a little bit and ultimately to come out on top against them was a heck of an accomplishment,” Brent Vigen, Bobcats head coach, said.
The impressive offensive outing led by the two quarterbacks was too much for the Wildcats to handle. The two combined for 250 rushing yards and 166 passing yards with all three touchdowns – one on the ground and two through the air – coming from the backup. “[W]e should have had something better for the players to stop that run game,” WSU head coach Jay Hill said when taking accountability for the defensive woes. Chambers’ only two throws resulted in his two touchdown passes, and they were quite impressive at that, completing 28- and 47-yarders to Derryk Snell and Willie Patterson, respectively.
Coming into this game, WSU couldn’t afford to fall behind to such a potent offense, but, unfortunately, once they fell behind, they never saw the lead again.
After a 3-0 lead to start, the Bobcats quickly responded with a Chambers rushing touchdown. The defense did hold its own against one of the nation’s top offenses. In the second quarter, the Wildcats bent but didn’t break, keeping MSU out of the endzone for the period and limiting their drives to three Blake Glessner field goals.
Weber State capitalized on the defense’s success with a 15-yard touchdown pass to Ty MacPherson from Bronson Barron to keep it a six-point game going into the half.
The third quarter of play was devastating for the Wildcats as Barron went down after a big hit. Not only that, but they fell 26-10 heading into the fourth quarter, seemingly putting the game out of reach.
The Bobcats put on an insurance score to start the fourth, but backup Kylan Weisser was determined to keep the Wildcats alive in this game, putting together two touchdown drives and bringing the game within eight and still 4:42 on the clock.
Despite the late push, the Bobcat quarterback duo held on and kept the ball out of Weisser’s hot hand for the victory.
It wasn’t the ending Weber State would have envisioned coming into a playoff game against their rival, but they showed grit to the very end, encapsulating what this team has shown all season. A team doesn’t finish the season 10-3 and give one of the nation’s top teams a fight twice in a season by some fluke.
Congratulations to the Weber State Wildcats for what they showed the nation this FCS season.