College football • Wildcats had late chance to beat Eagles.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Ogden • Weber State coach Jody Sears stayed positive. But this detail-oriented guy had to be vexed at the way his Wildcats lost Saturday's Big Sky Conference game to Eastern Washington.
WSU committed more than 100 yards in penalties, turned the ball over three times and saw its receivers drop a handful of passes. Yet the Wildcats were still be in position in the final seconds to win the game at Stewart Stadium.
Ultimately, WSU (0-4, 0-2) couldn't overcome its own errors as well as the No. 9 Eagles, losing 32-26, in the Wildcats' homecoming.
"It's the story of the season so far," said WSU linebacker Anthony Morales, who finished with 16 tackles.
For Sears, however, despite his team's routine of sabotaging itself, the loss was another step in the right direction. He praised the Wildcats' reaction to trailing 20-6 at the half.
"I really, really liked the way the leaders took control of the locker room," he said. "It was amazing. Amazing."
While Weber State's reaction was positive, the Eagles (2-1, 1-0) had too much of a lead and too many weapons to be slowed for any length of time.
Eastern Washington, which roared out to its big lead behind surprised starter redshirt freshman quarterback Vernon Adams, put the game out of reach with an 8:35 drive to start the fourth quarter.
Although the drive led to just a field goal, it gave EWU a 13-point lead and left Weber State with little time. The Wildcats began their final drive with less than two minutes to play and 86 yards to go.
A turnover eventually stopped the Wildcats at midfield.
Adams, the game's wild card, replaced starter Kyle Padron and immediately made an impact with his shifty runs and big arm. Before leaving the in the third quarter with cramps, Adams had rushed for 62 yards and thrown for 75 more.
"I've been impressed by Vernon ever since he stepped on campus last year when he was running the scout offense," Eastern Washington coach Beau Baldwin said. "So this has been something that I haven't talked about in public a lot, but it's been more of a battle than most people really think."
The loss dimmed Weber State quarterback Mike Hoke's best game this season. He completed only half of his 34 attempts, but had at least a half-dozen dropped, including a certain touchdown pass in the first quarter that receiver Brian Jankowski had stripped at the goal line.
EWU responded with a touchdown drive and never trailed again.
Storylines WSU loses homecoming
R Eastern Washington opened a 20-3 lead at the half, then hung on to stop Weber State in the final seconds.
• Weber State QB Mike Hoke threw for 249 yards and two TDs.