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Ogden • While Saturday's game against McNeese State is not a must-win, after two losses and with the conference opener the next week, Weber State is at an important crossroad.
"This game is very important," Wildcat senior offensive tackle Tytan Timoteo said after practice Thursday. "It sets the tone for the rest of the season, especially for conference. We need to play our hardest."
Weber State did not do itself any favors with its schedule, opening at Fresno State before taking the field at BYU in front of 60,000 spectators.
Now, comes McNeese State, which is ranked No. 19 among Football Championship Subdivision schools, having defeated Middle Tennessee State and Division III McMurry.
And while the Cowboys aren't as deep as either Fresno State or BYU, they are a veteran team, especially on the offensive line and defensive secondary.
"What they do, they do extremely well," WSU coach Jody Sears said.
The game is at 6 p.m. in Stewart Stadium.
Wins might be difficult to come by. Eastern Washington, one of the favorites to win the Big Sky Conference, follows McNeese State on WSU's schedule.
"All of these games now count toward the playoffs," Sears said. "It's important that we play well it's absolutely huge."
If there is a positive to be taken after playing two bruising games against Football Bowl Subdivision opponents, there's little chance that the Wildcats can be intimidated physically.
"You had to be physical or they'd run you out of the town by 100," Sears said.
Sears maintains that Weber State learned from its two losses, that there is potential for the team to create a successful season.
Despite the 45-13 loss at BYU, Weber State never stopped playing hard, scoring a touchdown in the final minute.
Now it is time to turn lessons into positive results.
"Fresno and BYU helped us find our identity," Timoteo said. "Everybody's on the right page, and everybody has to step up and set the tone for next week against Eastern Washington."
McNeese State at Weber State
P Stewart Stadium (Ogden)
Kickoff • 6 p.m. TV • None. Radio • 106.9 FM
Records • MSU 2-0, WSU 0-2
All-time series • Tied 1-1
Last meeting • McNeese 23, Weber State 22 (Nov. 21, 1992)
About the Cowboys • MSU averages 48 points while allowing 14. ... Back Marcus Wiltz averages 71 yards per game, while quarterback Cody Stroud has thrown for three touchdowns.
About the Wildcats • WSU is 37-13 all-time in home openers, including the last four straight. ... Weber State ranks 12th in the Big Sky in scoring offense (11.5 points) and 12th in scoring defense (41.0).