OGDEN — It has been a historic weekend for Weber State football.
Saturday, the Wildcats defeated Idaho State 26-13 to finish the regular season 9-2 and claim a share of the Big Sky Conference championship for the second straight year. That’s the first time in program history the Wildcats have repeated as conference champs.
Sunday, WSU celebrated as the FCS Playoff committee tabbed the ‘Cats as the No. 2 overall seed for the 24-team playoffs. It’s the first time WSU has been seeded in the national tournament and means the team gets a first-round bye — and up to three home games — in the postseason.
Monday, the possibility to add to the historical nature of the season was confirmed when STATS FCS announced 20 finalists for the Jerry Rice National Freshman of the Year award. WSU running back Josh Davis was on the list, along with Montana safety Robby Hauck and UC Davis linebacker Ulonzo Gilliam, among others.
Davis is fifth nationally (among all players, not just freshmen) in rushing yards per game at 128.8 and third nationally in all-purpose yards per game at 170. He has rushed for nine touchdowns and also returned a punt for a score this season. He won weekly national freshman honors twice this season.
It seems Davis may just be the frontrunner for the award.
HILL NOT A FINALIST
STATS FCS also announced 15 finalists for the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year award. Among many good candidates — Brian Bohannon of the fledgling Kennesaw State program or Dan Hawkins at UC Davis — curiously, Jay Hill was not on the list.
Hill took over on the heels of two straight two-win seasons for a historically mediocre program (.485 all-time win percentage) and turned it into a recruiting destination with four straight winning seasons that this year rose to No. 2 nationally. He’s also the defensive coordinator for one of the country’s elite defenses.
Seems like enough to get on a top-15 list, at least.
FINAL REGULAR-SEASON RANK
Polls are somewhat unimportant now that the playoff committee seeded Weber State as the No. 2 team in the country, but both major polls released their final vote counts of the regular season.
WSU is still No. 3 in the STATS poll and overtook Eastern Washington for No. 3 in the Coaches Poll. That marks 29 straight appearances in the Coaches Poll dating back to the final week of the 2016 regular season.
Polls to do not compile voting again until the playoffs conclude, which will result in season-end rankings.
GAME TIME SET
Weber State confirmed Monday the official game time for the team’s second-round game Saturday, Dec. 1. The game will kick off at 2 p.m.
The Wildcats draw the winner of the first-round game between Stony Brook and Southeast Missouri State.
WSU men’s basketball hosts BYU that evening at 7 p.m.
BRAXTON HITS 1,000
In basketball notes, Zach Braxton’s 18-point performance in Sunday’s loss to Cal State Bakersfield in The Bahamas pushed him across the 1,000-point mark for his career. He’s the 35th player in program history to hit the milestone.
The senior joins junior Jerrick Harding, who hit the same milestone by scoring 31 points in his season debut, which was the team’s first game in The Bahamas just days before.