Weber State football: football team opens season Saturday at Fresno State

By Paul Grua

For the Deseret News

Published: Tuesday, Aug. 28 2012 6:23 p.m. MDT

Weber State senior quarterback Mike Hoke will be back under center for the Wildcats this week. Hoke, a native of Kailua, Hawaii, earned Big Sky Honorable Mention All-Conference honors last year in his first season as a starter at Weber State. Hoke threw for a season-high 314 yards and added two touchdowns in WSU’s season opener at Wyoming. He started 10 games for the Wildcats and finished the year sixth in the league in passing at 208 yards per game. He was also third in pass efficiency and seventh in total offense. He was 12th in the nation in pass efficiency at 150.2. Hoke finished the season 164 for 262 passing for 2,080 yards and 19 touchdowns. He also rushed for 130 yards and six touchdowns. He did all that while battling a separated shoulder that forced him to miss one game. Hoke had shoulder surgery in the offseason and did not participate in spring ball but is healthy and at full strength beginning this season. After three seasons at Weber State, Hoke has 2,499 career passing yards and 22 touchdowns. He ranks 17th in WSU history in career passing yards.

NEW LOOK TO THE BIG SKY CONFERENCE

The 2012 season will mark a new look to the Big Sky Conference as four new schools have joined the league. Cal Poly, North Dakota, Southern Utah and UC Davis have all joined the league in football, bringing the total to 13 schools and maintaining the Big Sky as one of the top FCS football conferences in the nation. Two-time defending Big Sky Conference football co-champion Montana State was picked first by the media, and the coaches in the preseason polls. The Bobcats have gone 7-1 in conference each of the past two seasons and advanced to the playoffs and earned seven first-place votes in the coaches’ poll and a total of 136 points. In the media poll, the Bobcats received 30 of 40 first-place votes and 502 total points. Eastern Washington, the 2010 Division I National Champion, was selected second in both polls, while perennial Football Championship Subdivision power Montana was tabbed third. Portland State was selected fourth, while league newcomer Cal Poly was selected fifth. Eastern Washington garnered four first-place votes and 131 total points in the coaches’ poll. In the media poll, the Eagles earned three first-place votes and 453 total points. Montana received five first-place media votes and 442 total points. In the coaches’ poll, Montana garnered 126 total points and one first-place vote.

50 YEARS OF DIVISION I ATHLETICS

The 2012-13 Weber State Athletics season marks 50 years since Weber State became a four-year institution and began athletics competition at the Division I level. Events and festivities are planned throughout the year to celebrate 50 years of Division I athletics at Weber State.

TV TIME

The Wildcats have two games on television this season. Weber State’s game at BYU on Sept. 8 will be seen across the nation on BYUtv. WSU’s home game against Montana on Nov. 3 will be televised live on ROOT Sports, a part of the Big Sky Conference’s new TV contract with ROOT.

LOOKING AHEAD

The Wildcats will be back on the road but remain in the state of Utah next week when they play at BYU on Saturday, Sept. 8, at 1:00 p.m. It will mark just the third game ever between the two schools and the first since 1979. Saturday’s game will be televised nationally on BYUtv. The Wildcats will open the home season on Sept. 15 against McNeese State.

Paul Grua is the Director of Athletic Communications at Weber State University.

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