PORTLAND, Ore. Weber State's vaunted defense, which featured the best pass defense in the Big Sky Conference, got lit up to the tune of 68 points.
Naturally, that made Wildcats coach Ron McBride more than a little upset. But when his offense scores 73 points, he'll find a way to overlook it at least until the next practice.
"It's just like ... wow!" McBride said on KLO radio after the game. "This thing was like a runaway freight train. You just never felt like you had control."
Records fell at a fast clip as Portland State and the Wildcats slugged it out for three quarters after a comparatively ho-hum 7-3 first quarter.
The 141 combined points were the most ever scored in a college football game since the NCAA began keeping record.
Most importantly for Weber State, though, was getting a win and improving to 3-5 overall and 3-3 in the Big Sky.
Freshman quarterback Cameron Higgins had a breakout game with 334 yards and four touchdowns passing to go along with 106 yards and three touchdowns on the ground.
He was, however, overshadowed by fellow freshman quarterback Drew Hubel from Portland State (2-6, 2-4). The first-time starter had an amazing 485 yards passing and broke Neil Lomax's school record with nine touchdowns through the air.
"They just obliterated our defense," McBride said, still struggling to grasp the craziness of the Arena League-type score. "Obviously, you don't feel good about your defense because you didn't cover anybody."
The Wildcats trailed 7-3 after the first quarter but saw return specialist Bryant Eteuati light a fire in the team with several long-distance returns. He had a 90-yard kickoff return that almost went for a score. He then went 77 yards on a punt return for a touchdown. The junior from Northridge High had 308 return yards, 28 receiving yards and took a fake field goal for a 5-yard run to extend a late drive. The 341 all-purpose yards was key in Weber State's ability to score on several short drives.
All the yardage Weber State had 687 yards of total offense was almost not enough, though.
Nursing a 73-62 lead with less than a minute to play, Weber State tried to run the clock out with running plays up the middle. Out of timeouts, the Vikings tried desperately to strip the ball and finally did it when Marcus Mailei coughed the ball up and PSU linebacker Andy Schantz picked it up for an 84-yard touchdown return with 31 seconds left on the clock.
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"We just had to run it out and what do we do?" McBride said. "We fumble the ball."
The 2-point conversion was intercepted by Terrell Cloud, and Cody Nakamura recovered the onside kick to allow the Wildcats, finally, to take one last snap, kneel down and watch the final seconds mercifully tick off the clock.
Almost lost in the hoopla was a 225-yard rushing day by WSU sophomore Trevyn Smith.
Also among the statistical anomalies was the Vikings rushing for only 17 yards in the game, yet scoring 68 points.
"Whew," McBride said. "We'll take what we got today, man."