Saturday , November 11, 2017 - 7:45 PM
Weber State has all but clinched a playoff spot and is now one win away from serious consideration to host a playoff game.
The No. 12 Wildcats rushed for 421 yards, racked up 35 points in a lopsided second quarter and went on to defeat Portland State in a 63-17 rout Saturday in Portland.
Treshawn Garrett, David Jones and Kevin Smith each ripped at least one run of 50 or more yards to lead the offensive explosion for Weber State (8-2, 6-1 Big Sky). The 421 rushing yards tie for third in school history for single-game ground gains.
“The great thing about that is Kevin ran the ball for 20 yards a carry. David Jones was 8.6 and Treshawn Garrett was 9.8,” WSU head coach Jay Hill said. “We need to get down to that kind of efficiency, it was huge.”
Smith finished with 143 yards and two touchdowns, Jones with 103 yards and a score, and Garrett with 88 yards and three touchdowns.
Weber State trailed for about 11 seconds in the contest — the time it took Rashid Shaheed to return a kickoff 90 yards for a score in the first quarter after Portland State (0-10, 0-7) took a 3-0 lead.
With his team up 14-3, Jones turned a zero-gainer into a 50-yard scamper early in the second quarter with a spin at the line of scrimmage to lead a drive and put Weber up 21-3.
On the next WSU possession, Brady May converted a fourth-and-1 rush on a fake punt near midfield. Smith then took two carries — one for 33 yards, the other for 13 — to put the Wildcats up 28-3 with 6:23 left in the first half.
The half was far from over.
On the next play after forcing a PSU punt, Stefan Cantwell hit Shaheed on a 60-yard scoring strike for a 35-3 lead. The Vikings then fumbled the ensuing kick return to give Weber a 28-yard field.
Cantwell faked a quarterback sweep, then pulled up to throw a lateral across the field to offensive lineman Tyler Downs. Downs juked a defender after his catch, then crushed a would-be tackler for a 9-yard gain.
Garrett took the next play 9 yards for a touchdown and a 42-3 lead.
The Wildcats held Portland State to another three-and-out, and Vikings punter Hayden Cowden muffed the fourth-down snap at the goal line. He eventually rushed the ball to the 20, but it was short of the first down.
Weber State’s ground game slowly ate up the rest of the first-half clock and the Wildcats scored again on a fourth-down pitch to Jones from the 1.
With a 49-3 halftime lead, Weber kept its starters in for one more possession on each side to open the third quarter.
LeGrand Toia forced a PSU fumble on the home team’s first drive and, two plays later, Garrett rumbled 51 yards to put Weber up 56-3.
Braden Miles finished the game at quarterback, throwing 1 of 2 for 5 yards and rushing four times for 14 yards as the Wildcats kept the ball on the ground.
Portland State piled up 430 yards of offense. While much of that came in the second half, Vikings quarterback Davis Alexander made plays with his feet all evening.
Weber State blitzed Alexander relentlessly, sacking him three times and hurrying him five more — but he threw for 370 yards by continuously keeping plays alive and dancing around the defensive attack.
“That could’ve been 10 sacks, we just missed him over and over again. That was part of my frustration,” Hill said.
“We have plenty to clean up, but I’m super proud of this team, nothing’s going to take away from how well they played today … I’m really proud of the players, and the coaches did an outstanding job again this week.”
Weber State concludes the regular season by hosting Idaho State (4-6, 2-5) at 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 18, at Stewart Stadium.
No. 9 Elon and No. 10 South Dakota each lost Saturday. That means Weber State is very likely to be a top-10 team when new polls are released Monday.
Weber State tweeted a photo of a “Portland resident” interested in the game and roaming the WSU sideline. It was school great and NBA All-Star Damian Lillard.
The run game was the story, but quarterback Stefan Cantwell continued to lead an efficient Wildcat passing attack. He finished 9 of 13 for 157 yards and the big Shaheed score for a rating of 196.1. The Wildcats finished with 583 total yards.
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