Wildcats Doomed By Interceptions, Poor Rushing Game
Dec 7, 2018, 10:33 PM | Updated: 11:49 pm
(Scott Winterton, Deseret News)
OGDEN, Utah – In a game filled with missed opportunities and turnovers by the Wildcats, Weber State fell in the FCS quarterfinals for the second-straight year in a 23-18 loss to Maine.
Looking at the box score, it may be surprising how close they were to winning considering how poorly they played in several aspects of the game.
No Joke, Wildcats Struggled On The Ground
The Wildcats surrendered four interceptions, all in the second half and rushed for minus-1 yards in the season-ending defeat.
Maine players were so surprised to learn that they had denied Weber State from gaining even a single yard rushing the ball that burst into laughter when asked about it after the game.
Not in a laughing mood, Weber State head coach Jay Hill was honest when discussing what went wrong for the Wildcats.
“We had some opportunities, we had a lot of opportunities and let some things slip away,” said Hill. “You got give Maine a ton of credit. They’re tough, they’re hard-nosed, we knew that coming in. They played great defense especially against the run.”
For the first time in program history, the Maine Black Bears advance to the @NCAA_FCS Semifinals!
— Maine Football (@BlackBearsFB) December 8, 2018
Interceptions Hard To Overcome
Time after time, Maine gave Weber State a short field to work with and time after time, the Wildcats were unable to capitalize.
Weber State quarterback Jake Constantine struggled in the loss. In addition to the four interceptions thrown, he completed just 24-of-52 passes for 272 yards. He did however, throw for both of Weber State’s touchdown passes.
Still, it was largely the inability of the rushing game to get going that was particularly devastating. The Wildcats struggled to pick up yardage on first and second downs, leading to long and difficult third downs. For the game, Weber State converted just 5-of-19 third down attempts.
— FCS Football (@NCAA_FCS) December 8, 2018
It was still a successful season for the Wildcats, who will finish the year with a 10-3 record. After the game, Hill said he reminded his team that they’re still on an upward trajectory.
“We’re building,” said Hill. “This is two straight 10 win-plus seasons. We’ve been to the quarterfinals twice. We battled like crazy against two really good teams in my opinion, last year, James Madison and this year, Maine. We’re right there.”