OGDEN, Utah -- When Idaho State fans considered Saturday’s game with Weber State, everything seemed to point to a Bengal victory. The Wildcats had lost 10 games in a row, many by sizeable margins.
ISU, meanwhile, had been competitive in most of its last five games, all losses.
Then Mother Nature intervened. With howling winds rocking Stewart Stadium, making a passing game nearly impossible, Weber State rode the better running game to a 32-7 Big Sky victory.
“All week in practice we emphasized taking care of the ball,” said ISU coach Mike Kramer. “But we didn’t and that allowed Weber State to do something they haven’t done all year and that’s have hope.”
The Wildcats marched 80 yards on their opening series of the game, getting a 9-yard touchdown run from Josh Booker, wobbled briefly as ISU tied the game on Xavier Finney’s 3-yard run, then took control for good on D.J. Bush’s 26yard interception return.
Weber State (2-10, 1-7 Big Sky) later got a 4-yard touchdown run from Bo Bolen, a 17-yard scoring pass from Austin Chipoletti to Eric Walker, and a 3-yard TD run from Booker.
As a result, Idaho State (3-9, 1-7) now has a road losing streak that will stretch into an eighth season in 2014. The last time the Bengals won on the road is at Northern Colorado in 2006.
“We couldn’t run the ball,” Kramer noted. “That’s not how we’ve built this offense.”
The Bengals had just 131 yards on the ground and another 80 in the air. They have averaged 315 yards passing this season.
Nearly everything went Weber State’s way. The Wildcats had punts of 86 and 84 yards from Tony Epperson dig them out of trouble twice. They had that pick six and they recovered three ISU fumbles. ISU recovered both Weber State fumbles but was unable to do anything with either of them.
Weber State’s Chipoletti completed just 4-of-10 passes for 34 yards, but avoided interceptions. ISU’s Justin Arias was 11-of-24 for 80 yards but was intercepted twice.
One of the few bright spots for ISU was Finney’s rushing. He gained 103 yards on 27 carries. The rest of the team gained 18. Weber State rushed for 283 yards with Booker getting 139 and Bolen getting 106.
“This has been a wonderful group of kids,” Kramer said of his seniors. “They have helped elevate us in the classroom. Now we have to do it on the field as well.”
Idaho State’s opening game in 2014 is at Utah.