Weber State football: Northern Colorado's Seth Lobato leads Bears to victory over Wildcats
OGDEN — It was Senior Day at Weber State, and the Wildcats had one last chance to earn their first home-field win of the 2012 football season.
Instead, it was a junior from Northern Colorado who stole the show and spoiled WSU's day.
Seth Lobato, a junior quarterback for the visiting Bears, threw for 418 yards and four touchdowns and ran for another score as Northern Colorado notched its first-ever win over the Wildcats, 42-34, Saturday afternoon at snowy Stewart Stadium.
Lobato had the second-most passing yards of his collegiate career and the third-most in school history, with touchdown passes of 65 yards to Dominic Dunn, 13 yards to Tromaine Dennis, and TD tosses to Darin McDonald of 35 and 15 yards. He added a 1-yard scoring run in the fourth quarter as the Bears improved to 3-4 in the Big Sky Conference and 4-6 overall by beating WSU for the first time after starting out 0-6 in the series between the two schools.
"We gave up some big, deep balls and they made some good plays," said defensive end Trevor Pletcher, one of 14 Weber State seniors who was playing the final home game of his career. "... Their quarterback was on point today and pretty accurate, but we should've played a lot better than we did. It's really frustrating."
"That's my responsibility," WSU interim head coach Jody Sears, who also serves as the Wildcats' defensive coordinator, said after seeing his team get torched by Lobato and Co. "That's the coaches' responsibility; that's all on our shoulders."
Weber State quarterback Mike Hoke had a solid passing day of his own, throwing for 310 yards and four touchdowns — both season-bests — and he also rushed for 39 more yards. But it wasn't enough to prevent the Wildcats from falling to 1-6 in Big Sky Conference play and 1-9 overall.
"It doesn't really matter," Hoke said of his big statistical day. "... We lost, so pretty much all the stats are irrelevant. It's been pretty much like every game ... it added more to the disappointment.
"Why we're performing this way with the players we have, it's just unacceptable."
Hoke had touchdown passes of 26 yards to Xavian Johnson, 22 yards to Erik Walker, 3 yards to Brian Jankowski and 8 yards to Jordan Clemente. Those last two TD throws came in the fourth quarter, but each one could only pull the 'Cats within eight points of the Bears. Clemente's touchdown catch came with just six seconds left in the game.
After going 0-5 at home for just the second time in school history, the Wildcats will finish up their disheartening campaign next Saturday at Idaho State.
"It's been a disappointing year for our home games," said senior running back C.J. Tuckett, who ran for 87 yards and a touchdown. "It takes all 11 guys. ... It doesn't matter how good a players you have or what stats you have, that scoreboard, you know — if all 11 guys don't do their job — you can't win.
"It's frustrating. All of us here, we don't make excuses for what happens on the field. ... You're only as good as your weakest guy."
It started out well for Weber State, which wasted no time getting on the scoreboard quickly. The Wildcats took the opening kickoff and marched 75 yards in 11 plays, and Hoke hooked up with Johnson on a 26-yard touchdown pass with little more than three minutes gone in the first quarter.
Weber State's defense did a tremendous job to stop Northern Colorado's first scoring threat, turning back the Bears on back-to-back rushing tries from the 1-yard line.
But, buried deep in his own territory after that terrific defensive stand, Tuckett got dropped in the end zone for a safety to make it 7-2. And little more than a minute later, the Bears grabbed a 9-7 lead when Labato found Gunn running wide open across the field for a 65-yard touchdown pass play with one second left in the first period.
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