If there was a box for "deserved," Weber State should get a check mark. It deserved to win the shootout at Wildcat Stadium Saturday. But there is no box and Weber lost to the University of Montana, 39-37.
It was one of the hardest of defeats to take: to score in a little over a minute, then execute one of the most perfect on-side kicks ever to get the ball back with time running out and two points behind.A series of downs perfectly executed to get down to within eight yards and less than a minute to play . . . and then the world came crashing down. Poor execution, a bobbled snap on the field goal, a low kick and a too-big lineman in the way.
If for no other reason, Weber deserved it for the performance of quarterback Jamie Martin. He was on target the whole night. He threw 45 passes and hit 30 of them for 504 yards in the air. It was a school record by more than 60 yards.
Then there were his catchers. Rick Justice couldn't move without being hit. He caught 12 for 133 yards. And Dave Hall, he only took in six, but what he did with the six was impressive - 142 yards.
Martin's performance earned him Big Sky offensive player of the week.
The ground game only accounted for 105. But with passing like Martin was doing, more wasn't necessary.
Unfortunately, on the other side Grady Bennett was doing about as well - 32 of 52 for 435. Unfortunately, too, the Grizzlies discovered momentum. Bennett started it rolling in the third quarter when he took it upon himself to be a one-man pep club.
A preseason favorite to win the conference, Montana struggled through two tough losses before coming to Ogden.
"I saw it in the two games we lost and I saw it start here. I'm not a rah-rah-type, but I figured I'd better do something," Bennett said.
Weber started out with a 21-0 lead and didn't fall behind until midway through the fourth quarter, 39-30. It rallied, and that's commendable. It nearly won, and that's commendable. It didn't win, and that's unfortunate.
The Wildcats are going to have to shake this one off, however, because this week they travel to the WAC to play undefeated Wyoming. Going with a win in this game would be in-state bragging rights.