Weber State vs. Sacramento State 09

Weber State's Jake Constantine (8) hands the ball off running back Josh Davis (28) in the second half against Sacramento State on Saturday, Nov. 3, 2018, at Stewart Stadium in Ogden.

OGDEN — Thanks to a surprising upset elsewhere, Weber State football has again reached a new highest poll ranking in program history.

WSU (7-2) checked in at No. 3 in this week’s STATS FCS poll, behind only North Dakota State and Kennesaw State. Previous No. 3 James Madison was shellacked on the road in upset fashion by New Hampshire, who was 2-6 entering that game.

The Wildcats are also No. 4 in the Coaches Poll. That marks 27 straight appearances in the Coaches Poll dating back to the final week of the 2016 regular season.

It was all Big Sky in the top five, as UC Davis followed at No. 4 and Eastern Washington at No. 5.

DAVIS HITS 100 AGAIN

Freshman running back Josh Davis rushed for 129 yards in three quarters of Saturday’s win over Sacramento State, marking the fifth time he’s crossed the 100-yard mark this season.

He is fifth nationally in all-purpose yards per game at 161.9, factoring in pass-catching and punt return yardage, and is ninth nationally in rushing yards per game (116.9).

Davis is also 65 rushing yards away from 1,000 this season — that would make him the second freshman in program history to do so (Trevyn Smith, 1,129 in 2006).

OFFENSIVE PROGRESS

WSU’s young offense has pushed through some rough outings and made progress in key markers.

Most notably, WSU — last in the conference in third-down offense — was 4 of 9 last week and is 12 of 25 in the last two games on third down conversions.

(Defensively, WSU held Sac State to 1 of 12 on third down and is sixth in the nation in third-down defense.)

The Wildcats are 8 of 8 in red-zone conversions in the last two games, including seven touchdowns.

VERY SPECIAL TEAMS

Aside from some costly miscues two weeks ago at North Dakota, Weber State’s special teams again rates highly in several categories.

Strategic accuracy from punter Doug Lloyd means WSU is fourth nationally in punt return defense at 2 yards per return and 11th in the country in net punting at 38.9 yards per punt.

Davis and Rashid Shaheed help the punt return unit to 13.2 yards per return, 16th nationally, and Shaheed’s 34 yards per kickoff return is third nationally.

DOWN THE STRETCH

Weber State finishes its regular season with road games at Southern Utah (Nov. 10) and Idaho State (Nov. 17). WSU is 11-2 on the road in Big Sky play for the last three seasons.

Contact Brett Hein at bhein@standard.net. Follow him on Twitter @bhein3/@WeberHQ and at facebook.com/WeberStateSports.

Brett Hein is the sports editor and covers Weber State sports for the Standard-Examiner.

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