Running the ball is a football fundamental.
Saturday, the Wildcats had no other option.
Steady high winds, changing direction at nature's whim, made the ground game the only game in town in Weber State's 32-7 season-ending win over border rival Idaho State at Stewart Stadium.
Two 100-yard rushers were the key to victory for a Wildcats team looking to finish strong at the end of a long, hard season.
"With the wind being ridiculous, we knew our pass game wasn't going to be as effective," running back Josh Booker said. "We ran some in the first half but in the second half, coach told us we're going to run the ball to win this game, to continue to etch away and get this victory. He told us at halftime that the game is going to be on the offensive linemen's shoulders and on me and Bo's shoulders. We kept plugging away and big plays happened as they went."
Booker ran for a career-high 139 yards in his last game as a senior and junior Bo Bolen rushed for 106 yards.
"We had to commit to (the running game)," WSU coach Jody Sears said. "We didn't have a choice, because of (the wind). That probably played into quite a bit of (our running success). Third and eight, instead of calling a pass play, you're running it. Maybe you don't get the first down, but you're still establishing that mindset or mentality."
It wasn't a mindset Idaho State was comfortable or successful with while facing the same weather conditions -- the Bengals' mentality all year has been to throw the ball the majority of the time. The wind took away their passing game; the Wildcats did the rest.
Idaho State rushed for only 131 yards against WSU's defensive front.
Weber State's running success relative to ISU's ground-game gridlock, combined with five turnovers forced the Wildcats, made the difference. ISU forced two turnovers but quickly gave the ball back.
"You go plus-3, you win by 25 points. It's not rocket science. I wasn't very good in calculus," Sears said. "Shoot, I didn't even get to the gate to calculus, but all I know is when you win the turnover margin, you've got a really good chance to win the football game."
Same with the ground game.
"You run the football, you're going to have a really good chance to win the football game," he said. "That's been our M.O. all year. Win the turnover margin, run the ball -- sometimes it happens, sometimes it doesn't."
Most of the time, it didn't happen for the Wildcats, hence their 2-10 overall record. WSU rushed for a mere six yards the previous week against Montana.
But in each of the two games the 'Cats won, the season-opener at home against Stephen F. Austin and versus Idaho State, they rushed for over 250 yards.
Sears said he was thrilled with the win, one that ended a 10-game losing streak.
"I'm elated," he said. "But I'm more happy for (the seniors) because of what they had to go through for the last couple of years, fighting through adversity and not having the kind of success that they've wanted, that they've prepared for. To see them united and continuing to press forward, to keep the faith and keep believing, I'm elated for them. I'm so happy for them. It's awesome."
Weber State's Wildcat Club will hold its monthly WSU Coaches luncheon today at noon at the Ogden Summit Hotel (formerly Marriott), located at 247 24th St. Cost is $10.
For more information call the Wildcat Club at 801-626-6576 or visit WeberStateSports.com.
Future luncheons will be held Dec. 16, Jan. 13, Feb. 13 and March 3.
Contact sports writer Roy Burton at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @RoyBurtonSE.