Football Falls By One TD At #18 Weber State
OGDEN, Utah - The University of Northern Colorado football team lost its largest game of the season to an FCS opponent and it was by just seven points as the Bears fell 17-10 to #18 Weber State this afternoon. The Bears move to 1-5 on the year and 1-2 in Big Sky Conference play while the Wildcats improve to 6-2 overall and remain perfect at 4-0 in league action.
"Obviously this is disappointing to come over here and lose to Weber State," said Head Coach Scott Downing. "They're a very, very good football team. I don't think that we as a team, either offensively or defensively played our best game of the year, but I give our kids credit for hanging in there. We had an opportunity with two minutes to go in the game to either get an on-side kick or stop them. We didn't get it done but I thought our kids, without the benefit of playing a fanatically good game, we still hung in there with Weber State."
Northern Colorado was led by senior linebacker Cristian Sarmento, who for the third time this season tallied at least 15 tackles in a game, as he notched 17, including two sacks for a loss of 17 yards, forced one fumble and broke up one pass. Senior cornerback Myles Hayes was also in double figures in tackles with a career-best 10 and had an interception for 36 yards.
Offensively, junior quarterback Bryan Waggener completed 16-of-30 passes with one interception for 106 yards and one touchdown. Junior running back DC Wilson rushed 11 times for 39 yards, while senior wide receiver Cory Fauver caught three passes for 34 yards. Senior Jason Caprioli caught the team's lone touchdown pass of the afternoon.
Freshman punter Cameron Kaman did a great job with field position, punting nine times for 413 yards (45.9 average) with two inside the 20-yard line. His long punt of the day for 80-yards tied the school record by Don Geist from 1982 against South Dakota. He also averaged 70 yards on the two kickoffs.
Weber State was led by sophomore Waltor Payton candidate Cameron Higgins, who completed 27-of-37 passes for 413 yards. He was intercepted once, sacked three times and threw two touchdown passes. Running back Trevyn Smith gained 119 rushing yards and 90 reception yards for 209 all-purpose, while Bryant Eteuati gained 1987, 18 on the rush, 79 on receptions, 16 on kickoff returns and 74 on punt returns. Biff Swan led the Wildcat defense with 10 tackles, including 1.5 for loss.
Weber State used several 10+ yard gains on its first drive to move into Bears territory after starting deep in its own, but the NC defense settled in quickly, forcing the Wildcats into a punt, which went just nine yards giving the Bears the ball on their own 26 for their first drive of the day.
The Bears moved close to midfield, but were forced to punt, where freshman Cameron Kaman boomed his punt to the six-yard line, a 50-yarder. Weber State again drove the length of the field, but the Bears defense held strong, forcing a fumble on the one-yard line, saving a Wildcat score.
Deep in his own end zone, Kaman got off a line drive punt which took a fortuitous bounce and set up WSU on the 26-yard line, a 74-yard net punt for the freshman.
The Bears defense remained tough and special teams stepped up as Max Hewitt blocked the first punt of his career and the fourth of the season for the Bears to end the first quarter.
Weber State got on the scoreboard first, as Tim Toone scored on an 18-yard reception from Cameron Higgins with 10:54 left in the half. The drive was six plays long and went 71 yards in 2:58.
Northern Colorado had another big defensive stand midway through the second quarter, as Sarmento forced his third fumble this year and Martin Awachie recovered it for the second turnover of the game. On the very next defensive possession, Sarmento had another huge play, getting a 12-yard sack on Higgins, his second of the game and sixth of the year.
In the first half, Sarmento tallied 10 tackles, two sacks and one forced fumble.
The Wildcats hit a 40-yard field goal as time expired in the first half, entering the locker room with a 10-0 advantage.
With 11:53 on the clock in the third quarter, junior kicker Michael York gave the Bears three points on a 38-yard field goal to pull NC within a touchdown, 10-3. The Bears drove 44 yards in eight plays on their opening drive of the second half.
Despite back-to-back penalties, Weber State was able to score a touchdown on a 27-yard pass from Higgins to Cody Nakamura late in the third quarter. They drove 54 yards on eight plays in 4:15.
On the next-to-last play of the third quarter, the Bears had their first turnover in two games as Waggener threw an interception at midfield. The defense remained strong, forcing yet another punt.
The red zone defense for Northern Colorado again proved to be the toughest in the Big Sky Conference as Weber State was on the three-yard line and Quincy Wofford recovered the Wildcats third fumble of the contest.
Myles Hayes forced the fourth turnover of the game for the Bears, intercepting a Higgins pass five yards and with a WSU personal foul tacked on, the Bears started their drive on the WSU 44.
The Bears drove, scoring a touchdown with 2:26 left on a five-yard completion to Caprioli from Waggener, closing within one touchdown.
Weber State recovered the on-side kick and was able to run out the clock for the 17-10 final.
Northern Colorado faces its second ranked team in as many weeks as they host the #8 Montana Grizzlies at Nottingham Field next Saturday. Kickoff is scheduled for 12:05 p.m.