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Weber State 17
Next up: Weber State @ JMU
Time/Date: Dec. 21, 6:30 p.m. ET | TV: ESPNU
OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME: Josh Davis, RB, Weber State – Returned from injury and caught an 11-yard touchdown for the go-ahead score in the third quarter
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME: Adam Rodriguez, DE, Weber State – Had 4 sacks and 4 tackles for loss
OTHER STAT STANDOUTS:
Marque Collins, DB, Weber State – 9 tackles, 8 solo
George Tarlas, DE, Weber State – 2 INT.
Noah Vaea, LB, Weber State – 9 tackles, 1 INT.
Dante Olson, LB, Montana – 14 tackles
Samori Toure, WR, Montana – 8 rec. for 85 yards
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THE TURNING POINT
Josh Davis proved why he's not only one of the most talented players in the FCS, but why he's one of the toughest. After taking a big hit to his hip area in the first half that had him unable to walk off the field under his own power, the Weber State running back returned to the game in the second half. Five minutes into the third quarter, Davis caught a pass from Jake Constantine and took it 11 yards into the end zone to put his team up 10-7 after Trey Tuttle's extra point. It sparked the Weber State offense and the team didn't surrender that lead the rest of the game.
A 17-10 final may not look like much on the scoreboard, but we were treated with plenty of entertainment to cap off a night of FCS quarterfinal games. Interceptions, blocked field goals, botched field goal snaps, a blocked punt recovered for a touchdown, oh my!
Behind a suffocating defense that totaled five interceptions, seven tackles for loss and six sacks, the Wildcats overcame a rough first half offensively that saw a 7-3 deficit.
As stated in the turning point section, Josh Davis' touchdown reception to start the second half gave some life to the Wildcats. Weber State was able to overcome a botched snap on a field goal and then a blocked field goal shortly after with a huge special teams play of its own. With 9:41 remaining in the game and holding on to a 10-7 lead, Ja'Kobe Harris blocked a punt and then recovered it in the end zone as the Wildcats extended their lead to 17-7.
Montana didn't go away. The Griz got a Brandon Purdy field goal with 3:23 remaining and then forced a punt. Down 17-10 with 2:56 to play, Montana got the ball to around midfield before George Tarlas picked off Dalton Sneed for the second time to seal the game.
PREVIEW OF NEXT WEEK
This is the first trip to the FCS semifinals for the Weber State program. The Wildcats have made amazing strides under head coach Jay Hill and continue to reload. Weber made the quarterfinals in 2017 and 2018. That quarterfinal game in 2017 resulted in a heart-breaking 31-28 loss at James Madison on a last-second field goal.
The Wildcats return to that stadium on Saturday to face the No. 2-seeded Dukes. The Dukes defeated Monmouth 66-21 in the second round and Northern Iowa 17-0 in a dominating quarterfinal win. Expect another classic physical battle in this one.
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