There was approximately a 30-second stretch in the third quarter of Saturday night’s game in which Weber State scored 10 unanswered points to regain a lead over visiting Eastern Washington. That series of events... a field goal followed by a recovered fumble followed by an immediate touchdown... turned the tides of the game for the Wildcats. WSU came away with a huge victory and now sit at 5-0.
The night started in a flash for Weber State. Bronson Barron uncorked a deep 65-yard bomb to Ty MacPherson down the middle for a touchdown on the second play of the game. The fans in Ogden went wild as their Wildcats set a tone for what the evening would bring.
Gunner Talkington and the Eagles responded, though, with a touchdown of their own but it didn’t come quite as quickly. Tuna Altahir capped off the 10-play drive with a 12-yard scoring run to knot things at 7-7.
WSU regained the lead shortly after when Dontae McMillan scampered in from 22-yards out. The first three drives of the game had yielded three touchdowns and it was becoming clear early that fans were in for a shootout.
In a game that was defined greatly by offensive fireworks, the Wildcats got a big play on defense late in the first quarter when Maxwell Anderson intercepted a bobbled pass from Talkington and returned it deep into EWU territory. The offense, though, was unable to do anything with the opportunity.
Eastern Washington tied the game in the second frame when Talkington connected with Freddie Roberson for a 27-yard touchdown. Weber State, though, again answered and did so in a big way. On the ensuing kickoff, Abraham Williams sprinted 100 yards the other way to instantly put the Wildcats back on top.
The third quarter is where WSU began to really flip the game on its head. The aforementioned 10 point swing came right after Barron fumbled directly leading to an EWU score. After that, though, it was all Wildcats. Late in the third, the Weber State defense held on fourth down and as the final quarter approached the momentum was squarely on the home side.
Damon Bankston extended the Weber State lead with a four-yard touchdown and the defense all but put it away late in the fourth when they again held the Eagles on fourth down. With the scoreless final frame, Weber State has not given up any points in the fourth quarter yet this season.
Barron ended his night with 237 passing yards and a touchdown. Bankston led the rushers with 94 yards and Maxwell now leads the FCS with five interceptions. Their 45 points scored was a season best. It was total domination when all was said and done and now Weber State has to be considered a legitimate contender for a Big Sky title.
The Eagles, meanwhile, tumble to 1-4 on the season and there is essentially no hope of a conference championship. Even the playoffs seem out of reach now after losing four straight. Talkington finished his night with 198 yards through the air with a touchdown and a pick. Only one EWU receiver (Noah Ulm) had more than 50 yards.
Weber State will now prepare to take on Portland State next Saturday while Eastern Washington will have yet another tough game against Sacramento State at home.