Austin Chipoletti threw for almost as many yards in the second half of last Saturday's loss to Montana State as he did in the previous two games combined.
The true freshman quarterback from Jacksonville, Fla., passed for 253 yards after halftime and a career-high 309 yards overall as No. 5 Montana State defeated Weber State 34-16 at Stewart Stadium.
Perhaps as importantly for his future, Chipoletti completed 68.4 percent of his throws (26 of 38) while reaching career highs in both completion percentage and attempts. Entering the game, his season-long completion rate, though improving, was 55.2 percent.
Chipoletti had just 56 passing yards in the first half. Meanwhile, junior running back Bo Bolen had 99 rushing yards for a team that hadn't had a 100-yard rusher this year. Bolen finished with 124 yards and one touchdown.
Second-year Weber State coach Jody Sears agreed that establishing the run early was key to Chipoletti's big second half through the air.
"That's what we did against Stephen F.," he said, referring to WSU's only win to date, a 50-40 shootout victory in the season-opener against Stephen F. Austin. "That's why we had so much success against Stephen F., because we could run the ball. We've got to be able to do both but obviously the run is where everything starts.
"We're not splitting atoms now, we're not doing calculus, we're playing football. We're trying to do our best as coaches to teach them to be tough, teach them to be physical, teach them how to overcome adversity and attack adversity. Keep pressing on, regardless of your circumstances. You can't be selective participants, you've got to be all in, every day, all year long."
I've said before that Weber State senior receiver Erik Walker has the best nickname in college football: E-Walk (say it out loud, Star Wars fans).
Chipoletti offered another nickname for Walker after the senior from Park City caught six passes for 106 yards.
"Erik Walker is Mr. Do It Right. He's going to be in the right spot at the right time, he's going to run the right route ... and do it the right way. He's going to make a move on the defensive back and be open. I have faith in Erik. He's my go-to-guy."
By the bye
Weber State senior linebacker and captain Anthony Morales had 13 tackles in his return from injury but wants to see the team improve during its bye week. WSU next plays Nov. 2 at Portland State.
"We need to do a better job on special teams, defense, offense," Morales said. "It's pretty much everything. I can't say we're good enough at any phase right now."
Sears is ready for the bye week too, to get coaches out on the recruiting trail and do a self-assessment on his team.
"Who are we? What are we doing that's good? How can we build on that, where's our weaknesses? What kind of fat do we need to trim off the call sheet?" he asked. "It will give us a little bit of time to do a self-scout and find out how we can get better and build on our strengths."
Given that WSU saw a spark of improvement, would he rather play again next week instead of taking the bye now?
"No," Sears said. "We've got a lot of bodies out there taking a lot of shots. We've got some guys that need a break -- but not a full-fledged checkout. We're going to practice three or four times this week."
Purple and White
Weber State men's and women's basketball teams' annual preseason intrasquad scrimmage, the Purple and White Game, will be at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Dee Events Center.
Contact sports writer Roy Burton at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @RoyBurtonSE.