Saturday, November 8, 2008
Weber State Now 3-0 Since Suspending Bryant Eteuati; Wildcats Clobber Idaho State 59-27 In Pocatello, Clinch Tie For Big Sky Conference Crown
Virtue was rewarded a third time today in Pocatello, Idaho, as the Weber State Wildcat football team, playing their third straight game without the services of suspended starter Bryant Eteuati, ripped luckless, hapless and winless Idaho State 59-27 in a Big Sky Conference game. Game story now published by the Ogden Standard-Examiner and another game story published by Idaho State itself.
On Novmeber 9th, the Deseret News finally published a story on this development.
While only a partial box score is currently available on ESPN, the game did start out close, with both teams feeling each other out during a first quarter that ended 3-3. But the Wildcats came out snarling and slashing in the second quarter, racking up 28 points and building a 31-10 halftime lead. It was strictly academic thereafter, with the teams periodically trading scores in the second half. But Weber State effectively won the game in the second quarter, and amassing an auspicious 666 yards total offense in the game. Idaho State now tumbles to 0-10 for the season.
Weber State is now 7-0 in Big Sky Conference play, and 9-2 overall. Their only losses are to Hawaii and Utah. The Wildcats host Eastern Washington in Ogden on November 22nd for the final regular season game. Only Montana has a chance to catch them; they are currently 6-1 in conference and 9-1 overall. The Grizzlies have two remaining games, both in conference, but one of them is against in-state rival Montana State, and anything can happen when you're fighting for the state's bragging rights. Montana's only loss of the season is against Weber State, which is why if Montana and Weber State end the season with identical 7-1 conference records, Weber State would go to the playoffs. The Wildcats were number 9 in the Division 1-AA ratings prior to today's game.
It was the Wildcats' third game without star player Bryant Eteuati. After Eteuati was arrested on October 22nd for failure to change lanes, no insurance, and outstanding warrants for his arrest on communication fraud, aggravated assault, and retail theft, he was indefinitely suspended from the team. Many naysayers protested the severity of the school's judgment, not only because of an excessively broad application of "presumption of innocence", but also out of concern for the team's immediate future. However, Coach Ron McBride, as he did previously when he coached the University of Utah, had a backup adequately prepared. Tim Toone, a receiver, took over Eteuati's job as a primary kick and punt returner and has done well. This proves that no one player is irreplaceable, and that a well-coached and motivated team can absorb the unexpected loss of a star player. There is no "I" in "team".
On a down note, Coach McBride fell ill during the game, and was taken to a local Idaho hospital, where he'll remain overnight for observation.
The bottom line - doing the right thing can pay immediate and persistent dividends. Weber State did the right thing in suspending Eteuati, and the team's subsequent performance further validates the decision. Now if the rest of the Utah media will recognize that there are THREE championship calibre college football teams in the state, that will be a FIRST.