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Weber State football: Wildcats give Eagles all they can handle

Published: Sunday, Sept. 23 2012 12:01 a.m. MDT

That score was set up by an interception by Wildcat cornerback Kela Marciel, who also threw a two-point conversion pass to — what's this? — defensive end Trevor Pletcher after WSU's C.J. Tuckett scored on a 1-yard touchdown plunge in the fourth quarter.

That made it 29-19 and, after Pavel's fourth field goal pushed the Eagles' lead to 32-19, Hoke struck again on an 18-yard TD toss to Erik Walker with 3:43 to play. Shaun McClain, whose 44-yard field goal provided Weber's only first-half points, tacked on the PAT to make it 32-26, and the 'Cats still had a chance.

But after Weber's defense held and got the ball back for the offense, Hoke, who completed 17-of-34 passes for 249 yards and two TDs — several other catchable passes were dropped by his receivers — and rushed for another 50 yards, was stripped of the ball near midfield as the Wildcats were driving for a potential go-ahead score in the final minute. It was eerily similar to the way the Wildcats lost to the Eagles last year at Cheney, Wash.

"As far as that last drive, everybody knew we was going to do it, everybody knew we was going to win," said Weber State sophomore wide receiver Xavian Johnson, who had six catches for a career-high 133 yards. "We had it, we had it in us. We do it in practice every day. We had it in us. We were too inconsistent and made too many mistakes."

WSU's interim head coach Jody Sears refused to be discouraged by the defeat or his team's 0-4 overall, 0-1 Big Sky start.

"I really like the way our leaders took control of that locker room at halftime," he said. "It was awesome, absolutely awesome. I don't know that I said maybe five or six words. It was all about the attitude and the energy, and I'm really pleased with the way they came back in that second half and attacked it.

"We've got to take this and learn from it and get better. ... We've got to take the positives and build on it, and take the deficiencies and make it a strength, take the weaknesses and make it a strength. ... We're not going to sweep stuff under the carpet, we're going to attack it head-on."

Email: rhollis@desnews.com

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