OGDEN — It was only right Jawian Harrison entered the postgame press conference with the game ball.
The senior safety put words into actions Saturday, picking off Eastern Washington quarterback Eric Barriere in the end zone midway through the fourth quarter to snuff out what felt like a sure touchdown drive — possibly a game-tying drive.
It was one of two forced turnovers in the final quarter for the No. 13 Wildcats, who held on to a 14-6 margin to upset the No. 4 Eagles at Stewart Stadium.
“I was actually just supposed to help the receiver to the right side ... but I just read the quarterback’s eyes,” Harrison said. “I knew No. 5 (Nsimba Webster) had been having a good season, a backup quarterback is going to look for No. 5. I just felt like that’s where he was going and I jumped it.”
With two minutes left and Eastern (5-2, 3-1 Big Sky) again driving into Weber territory, linebacker Landon Stice dropped into the flat and picked off Barriere near the 35. Weber held Barriere to 19 of 42 passing and 185 yards a week after he threw for 233 yards and ran for 98.
It also held a team averaging 570 yards per game to 247 and scoring at a 45 points-per-game pace to just six. The Eagles averaged 287 rushing yards per contest and were held to 62 Saturday.
“We came in with the goal to hold them under 100 rushing yards ... we knew they had a very good passing attack with or without (Gage) Gubrud. We just had to bow up this week and take on the opportunity to play a good team,” Harrison said.
It was the first time since 2008 that Eastern Washington, historically a stellar offense, was held without a touchdown. It was also a win over the highest-ranked opponent since Weber State defeated No. 3 Cal Poly in the 2008 playoffs.
Weber State (4-2, 2-1) converted three third downs in the fourth quarter after starting 1 of 11, none bigger than Treshawn Garrett’s three rushes to seal the game.
With EWU using its last two timeouts and the clock slowly ticking under two minutes, Garrett rushed for four, five and five yards on consecutive runs to squash Eastern’s hopes of getting the ball back.
In the last three games against Eastern, WSU is 2-1 and has held the Eagles to 14, 20 and six points. Head coach Jay Hill credited his players.
“The players do a great job preparing for this game. They watched a lot of film. I liked the way they practiced,” Hill said. “They get up for it and it’s a big deal to us. I think they flourish under the challenge.”
It started quickly for Weber State. After kicking off to begin the game and forcing a near interception and making Barriere escape a blitz on third down, Josh Davis fielded a punt at the 25 and shifted, danced and sprinted his way up the field for a 75-yard touchdown return. That put the Wildcats ahead 7-0 less than two minutes into the game.
Four minutes later, Keilan Benjamin rocked Barriere for an eight-yard sack to put Eastern inside its own 10.
Two plays after an EWU punt to midfield, Jake Constantine connected with a diving Rashid Shaheed over the top of the defense for a 38-yard touchdown strike — giving WSU a 14-0 lead with six minutes left in the first quarter.
That turned out to be all the points Weber State would need.
Weber State forced Eastern into five three-and-out possessions and held the Eagles to 83 yards in the first half, sacking Barriere three times.
That effort came into focus on an ensuing fourth-and-9 from WSU’s 30 when the defense forced Barriere into one of his 11 incompletions of the first half.
With five minutes left in the half, Harrison broke on a ball to the goal line on third-and-3 from WSU’s 18, batting it down and forcing Roldan Alcobendas into a 31-yard field goal. That sent the game into halftime at 14-3.
In all, Eastern Washington took three drives inside the WSU 20 — two of them inside the 10 — coming away with two field goals and Harrison’s fourth-quarter interception.
Constantine finished 15 of 25 for 159 yards. Garrett rushed 19 times for 68 yards, taking over in the second half as the feature back with Josh Davis trying to play through illness. Davis finished with 12 rushes for 52 yards and the game-breaking punt return.
Weber State next hosts Montana State (4-2, 2-1) in a home game at 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 20, at Stewart Stadium.