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Weber State football: Widcats' tough schedule continues against No. 5 Montana State

Published: Friday, Oct. 18 2013 7:30 p.m. MDT

Weber State Wildcats running back Josh Booker (24) is tackled by Utah State Aggies linebacker Jake Doughty (51) during NCAA football in Logan  Saturday, Sept. 14, 2013.  (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News) Weber State Wildcats running back Josh Booker (24) is tackled by Utah State Aggies linebacker Jake Doughty (51) during NCAA football in Logan Saturday, Sept. 14, 2013. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

OGDEN — After playing three of its last four games on the road, Weber State's tough schedule continues. The Wildcats head back home to take on No. 5 Montana State (4-2) Saturday afternoon at Stewart Stadium.

Including Montana State, the 'Cats have four teams on their 2013 schedule ranked in the Top 10. Already, they have lost to fourth-ranked Eastern Washington and ninth-ranked McNeese State.

Last week, the Wildcats dropped their sixth straight game in a 47-0 shutout loss at Cal Poly. The Mustangs ran all over Weber State (1-6), tallying 365 yards on the ground and 580 total yards.

"We have to continue to work on consistency and trying to make improvements," said head coach Jody Sears. "It comes back to making plays and executing our game plan. We just have to stick to our plan and keep improving."

Weber State Wildcats linebacker Roman Valenzuela (50) brings down Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks running back Gus Johnson (6) during NCAA football in Ogden  Saturday, Aug. 31, 2013.  (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News) Weber State Wildcats linebacker Roman Valenzuela (50) brings down Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks running back Gus Johnson (6) during NCAA football in Ogden Saturday, Aug. 31, 2013. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

WSU played without three of its top four tacklers against Cal Poly (Anthony Morales, Luke King and Chris Wheeler), but sophomores Roman Valenzuela and Adam Padilla and junior Chris Jones were bright spots for the Wildcats.

They each recorded 13 total tackles, which were all career highs, to anchor the defense. Valenzuela is now Weber State's top tackler and ranks ninth in the Big Sky with 61 tackles in seven games.

Weber State will have its hands full with a powerful Bobcat team. Montana State is ranked in the top five in the Big Sky in scoring offense and defense, total offense and defense, rushing offense and defense, and is first in sacks per game at 3.17.

The Bobcats have been led by defending Big Sky MVP DeNarius McGhee. With his performances this season, the quarterback is on the Walter Payton Award watch list. He was a preseason All-American.

Weber State Wildcats linebacker Roman Valenzuela (50) brings down Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks running back Gus Johnson (6) during NCAA football in Ogden  Saturday, Aug. 31, 2013.  (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News) Weber State Wildcats linebacker Roman Valenzuela (50) brings down Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks running back Gus Johnson (6) during NCAA football in Ogden Saturday, Aug. 31, 2013. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

McGhee is a two-time Big Sky Offensive MVP, and enters Saturday's game with 9,840 career passing yards. He needs just 160 more to become the third player in Big Sky history to reach 10,000 career passing yards and 1,000 career rushing yards.

"Montana State is obviously a terrific football team that is extremely talented and well-coached," Sears said. "They are very big and physical and have some outstanding players. It will be a good challenge for us to play an outstanding opponent."

The Wildcats and Bobcats kick off at 3:40 p.m. at Stewart Stadium. To catch the game, tune in to channel 239 on DirectTV, which will broadcast the game live.

Ryan Love is a full-time student at the University of Utah studying communications, and has been a part-time sports reporter and scoreboarder for the Deseret News since Oct. 2012. Follow him on Twitter @RLove7724 EMAIL: rlove@deseretnews.com

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