OGDEN — Wofford and Kennesaw State kicked off their FCS Playoffs first-round game Saturday afternoon in South Carolina with the temperature near 60 degrees.
When the sun set in Ogden, temperatures dipped from near 40 degrees to the low 20s as Weber State football readied for its first practice in four days at Stewart Stadium, where snow was pushed off the playing surface and into large piles surrounding the field.
With Kennesaw State’s 28-21 win, the Georgia-based Owls (11-2) booked a ticket to Utah for next week’s second-round game against No. 3-seeded Weber State (9-3), scheduled for 1 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7. An early forecast that day calls for a high of 37 degrees with a 50% chance of snow.
Players stopped short of saying they liked the cold but they were happy to be playing.
“If you’re playing, you don’t care. That’s the fun part, you get to play,” junior offensive lineman Ty Whitworth said. “It’s always a long season but we’ve done this before. We’ve been here before ... it’s a privilege to keep playing.”
Saturday night’s practice was the first since Tuesday for Weber State, using the first-round bye to allow players and coaches to enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday. Teams don’t usually practice on the Saturday of a bye week but it’s the same formula coach Jay Hill employed last season before beating Southeast Missouri State 48-23 in the second round.
“This is a mature team,” Hill said of how his players returned from the break. “The reason we do it this way for the playoffs is we want to simulate the closest thing we can for a game. Kennesaw got to play today, so we want to come out and practice.
“I thought today was exactly the reason why we do it. They were energetic, they looked rejuvenated. I thought they flew around. It was cold out there and I didn’t hear anyone say anything other than about being excited and pretty focused for what we’ve got to get done this week.”
WSU players were just learning Saturday evening of who they’d face in the second round, and that Kennesaw State advancing means the Wildcats will face the triple-option for the second time this season at Stewart Stadium.
“I think coach Hill has the perfect scheme to compete against it,” senior defensive end Jonah Williams said. “We’ve played Cal Poly for years and know how to play it, so our defense is confident in playing them.”
Now the Wildcats get back on the field to try and reach 10 wins for the third straight season.
“We just need to remember the process, what’s helped us win all year long,” Williams said. “We’re going to have players watching more film, and we have a process that’s worked all season so we’ll keep doing the same thing.”
Monmouth 44, Holy Cross 27
Albany 42, Central Connecticut 14
Austin Peay 42, Furman 6
Illinois State 24, SEMO 6
Northern Iowa 17, San Diego 3
Nicholls 24, North Dakota 6
Kennesaw State 28, Wofford 21
Southeast Louisiana 45, Villanova 44
Saturday, Dec. 7. All games on WatchESPN.com or the WatchESPN app.
Monmouth at (2) James Madison, 11 a.m.
Northern Iowa at (7) South Dakota State, noon
Kennesaw State at (3) Weber State, 1 p.m.
Albany at (5) Montana State, 1 p.m.
Southeast Louisiana at (6) Montana, 1 p.m.
Illinois State at (8) Central Arkansas, 1 p.m.
Nicholls at (1) North Dakota State, 1:30 p.m.
Austin Peay at (4) Sacramento State, 7 p.m.