SAN JOSE, Calif. — What could possibly be worse than starting a football season 0-6?
Well, how about starting it 0-7?
Weber State will try to avoid that dismal and disappointing fate this evening when the winless Wildcats visit Sacramento State in a Big Sky Conference clash on the West Coast.
And although WSU has won four of its last five meetings with Sac State, Saturday's match-up shapes up as an excellent opportunity for the Hornets to sting the Wildcats, who lead the all-time series 11-5 but are just 3-5 in games played at Sacramento.
"We face another really good team this week at Sacramento State," said WSU interim head coach Jody Sears. "They have a very balanced offense and apply great pressure on defense."
That doesn't speak well of the Wildcats' chances, especially since they've given up more sacks — 23 — than any other FCS team in the country.
Indeed, the Hornets will definitely be a handful for the Wildcats. Junior running back Ezekial Graham ranks third in the conference in rushing with 91.5 yards per game; sophomore quarterback Garrett Safron is fourth in the league in total offense, averaging nearly 265 yards per game, and linebackers Todd Davis and Jeff Badger spearhead a solid defense.
Kicker Edgar Castaneda has also been a potent weapon, hitting 9-of-11 field goal attempts for the Hornets, who defeated Pac-12 member Colorado on the road earlier this season and knocked off Big Sky newcomer Southern Utah last week at Cedar City.
Weber State, meanwhile, has been getting strong performances from junior linebacker Anthony Morales all season long, and senior quarterback Mike Hoke and senior running back C.J. Tuckett turned in solid efforts in last week's loss to Cal Poly.
But the Wildcats are still off to a 0-6 start to a season for just the fifth time in 50 years of playing Division I football. The Wildcats also began the 1975, 1976, 1979 and 2004 seasons at 0-6, and in 2004 they sputtered to a 0-8 start before finally breaking through with a road win at Idaho State.
Though things are beginning to look pretty bleak, the ever-positive coach Sears still sees some light at the end of what is becoming a long, dark tunnel.
"There are a lot of positive things that are happening for us," he said. "We have great veteran leadership. We are becoming more mentally tough and we are moving forward and trying to improve on our weaknesses.
"We're not going to belittle them, we're not going to brow-beat 'em into making plays. We're going to love 'em up and coach 'em and we're gonna keep 'em growing. The only way we're going to build this thing and keep growing is to stay united and keep fighting. We're gonna keep our good attitude and the words that we use in a positive manner. We're gonna hold 'em to the high level of expectations that we have."
Wildcats on the air
Weber State (0-6, 0-3 Big Sky) at Sacramento State (4-2, 2-1)
Saturday, 7 p.m. MDT
Radio: 106.9 FMT-birds on the air
Southern Utah (2-4, 1-2 Big Sky) at Montana (3-3, 1-2)
Saturday, 1:40 p.m. MDT
Washington-Grizzly Stadium, Missoula, Mont.
Radio: 91.1 FM
Copyright 2017, Deseret News Publishing Company