It was a record-breaking night for the Weber State football team Saturday night.
But the records the Wildcats broke are nothing to be proud of.Idaho, the fourth-ranked team in NCAA Division I-AA, steamrolled over Weber 56-0. It was the worst home loss in Wildcat history. The 716 yards Weber's defense surrendered was also a team record.
"I know we're not as bad a football team as we appeared to be tonight," said Weber coach Dave Arslanian.
Idaho entered Saturday night's game against Weber State with the reputation of having a potent offense, but little defense.
The Vandals' reputation was half right. Idaho ran and passed nearly at will, which is what is expected of a team averaging 52 points a game. But the Vandal defense, which gave up over 1,000 yards in their first two games, was downright stingy. Weber had just 152 yards of total offense for the game with just six first downs.
"Someone in the media said this week there's no `D' in Idaho," Vandal coach John L. Smith said. "We wanted to prove there was "D" in Idaho and we did. The defense was great tonight."
There were 6,094 in attendance when the game began and several hundred die-hards and/or Idaho fans remained when it came to a merciful conclusion.
There was little question it was Idaho's night when the Vandals took a 21-0 lead one minute into the second quarter. There was no question the game was over when the Vandals scored their third touchdown of the third quarter to go up 49-0.
The big question of the night was whether Idaho's defense had made the greatest single-week improvement in the history of football, or if it was just a matter of Weber's offense being awful.
"It was probably a combination (of bad Weber offense and good Idaho defense)," Arslanian said of his team being shut out. "Their defense was definitely better than they had shown in the past two weeks."
In any event, it was the first time Weber had been shut out since losing 48-0 to Montana State in 1984, while it was Idaho's first defensive shutout since 1985.
"(After a loss like that) you feel like you were in a car accident with your family and you were the only one that survived," Arslanian said. "You feel that bad about it, but it's not that bad. We need to get over it."
Sherriden May, the leading rusher in I-AA this year, tore the 'Cats apart. He rushed for 204 yards on 22 carries with three touchdowns. Idaho quarterback Doug Nussmeier completed 17 of 24 passes for 293 yards and two touchdowns. Both May and Nussmeier only played 2 1/2 quarters before Idaho called off the dogs in the third.
"The last time I was here, we were embarrassed," Nussmeier said, referring to Idaho's 1991 45-17 loss in Ogden. "We had something to prove tonight."
Weber, which fell to 2-1 overall and 0-1 in the Big Sky Conference, blew two golden opportunities while the outcome was still in doubt in the first quarter.
With the Vandals leading 7-0, Weber's Nick McDaniel recovered a fumbled punt at the Idaho 45. A holding penalty halted the ensuing drive, and the Wildcats were forced to punt again. Later, with the Vandals nursing a 7-0 lead, Nussmeier fumbled the snap and Bobby Arnes recovered at the Idaho 19. But the Wildcats came up empty once again as Rob Westervelt was intercepted three plays later.
All three Weber quarterbacks got a chance to play with the same degree of success - which wasn't much. Westervelt was 6-22 for 62 yards with an interception. Backups Bryan Martin and Brad Otton combined to complete 2-9 for 40 yards and an interception.
"I hope nobody else in the conference is good enough to beat (Idaho), because we have to play them," Arslanian said.
The Wildcats will try to regroup before traveling to play Montana State next Saturday.