At the start of the year, Weber State Coach Dave Arslanian bragged that his defense would be the strength of his team this year.
As the Wildcats head into their fifth game of the year tonight against Montana State (6 p.m. Wildcat Stadium), Arslanian is still looking for the kind of defensive performance he envisioned at the start of the year.Offense hasn't been a problem for the Wildcats, who lead the Big Sky in total offense, passing offense and rushing offense. But the Wildcats rank seventh in rushing defense, scoring defense and total defense and are last in pass defense.
"Defensively we're not anywhere close to where we thought we'd be," said Arslanian. "Prior to the Idaho game, I thought we were pretty close to last year. But we just played horribly against Idaho."
Arslanian had his team working on fundamentals this week to try and improve the defense for Montana State, one of the surprise teams in the Big Sky this year.
The Bobcats opened with a road victory over defending champion Idaho, lost to Colorado State, then defeated Western Illinois. Last week they lost a close one at home to Nevada 20-14.
"We need to regroup and get ready for the rest of the season," said MSU Coach Earle Solomonson. "I think our team will bounce back."
The Bobcats have struggled offensively all season. They average only 281 yards per game, last in the conference. Bob Wilkinson is the top rusher, averaging 48 yards per game.
Montana State has passed more than usual this year, 131 times already compared to 192 for all of last season. But starter John Tetrault has completed just 42 percent of his passes for an average of 158 yards per game. Bryan Krumwiede is the top receiver with 15 receptions for 173 yards.
Linebackers Todd Graves and Jon Skelton are the top tacklers for MSU and defensive tackle Corey Widmer leads the team with six sacks.
Weber's George Jackson leads the Big Sky in rushing with a 125-yard per game average, which ranks him fifth nationally. Quarterback Jamie Martin has completed 58 percent of his passes for 1,226 yards.