OGDEN — Weber State is still smarting from a serious beating administered by one very tough Montana team a week ago.

Today, the Wildcats will have their hands full trying to prevent it from happening again against another strong opponent from the Big Sky state.

After suffering a 45-10 setback last Saturday at the University of Montana, Weber State goes up against a powerhouse Montana State squad this afternoon at Stewart Stadium.

The Bobcats, from Bozeman, Mont., bring the second-ranked Football Championship Subdivision team in the country to town to tangle with a struggling Weber State squad, which has dropped two straight games.

Montana State has dominated the series with WSU in recent years, winning 9 of the last 10 and 12 of the last 14 games against the Wildcats, including six straight MSU victories in Ogden, where the Wildcats haven't beaten the Bobcats since 1996. In its last six wins in Ogden, Montana State has outscored Weber State by a combined 142-77 margin. Since dropping its season-opener at the University of Utah, Montana State has won eight straight games, and the Bobcats can clinch at least a share of the Big Sky Conference championship with another win today.

MSU leads the Big Sky in 11 statistical categories, including total offense (458.4 yards per game), total defense (304.4 yards allowed per game), scoring offense (35.8 points per game) and scoring defense (allowing 20.4 ppg), as well as things like sacks, rushing defense, etc.

Montana State sophomore running back Cody Kirk is one of the nation's leading ground gainers, averaging 123.8 yards rushing per game, with 1,114 yards and 13 touchdowns thus far this season.

Sophomore quarterback Denarious McGhee, who threw for 325 yards and a touchdown against the Wildcats last year, and senior wide receiver Elvis Akpla also provide? potent offensive weapons for the Bobcats.

Weber State's hopes will be bolstered by the return of junior quarterback Mike Hoke to the lineup. Hoke sat out last Saturday's lopsided loss at Montana with a shoulder injury, but is expected to play against the Bobcats today.

Freshman linebacker Luke King (knee) and freshman wide receiver Xavian Johnson (concussion) will sit out today's game for the Wildcats, as will senior tight end Tyrell Francisco (knee).

Today's game has been designated as "Family Day" at WSU, with five tickets available for $25.

Wildcats on the air

Montana State (8-1, 6-0 Big Sky) at Weber State (3-5, 3-2)

Today, 1:30 p.m.

Stewart Stadium, Ogden

TV: Altitude

Radio: 1280 AM

email: rhollis@desnews.com