Football Loses Four-Overtime Battle At #20 Weber State
OGDEN, Utah – One instance of the lights going out. Four overtimes. Six fumble recoveries by Northern Colorado's defense. All those numbers added up to a heart-wrenching 50-47 overtime loss for the Northern Colorado football team at #20 Weber State on Saturday evening.
Senior running back Andre Harris rushed for 116 yards on 28 carries for his second-straight 100 yard rushing game. He also scored a pair of touchdowns, giving him five on the young season. Junior quarterback Dylan Orms completed 17-for-36 passes for 233 yards and a pair of touchdowns, hitting junior Patrick Walker and sophomore Jace Davis once each in the end zone. Walker led the team with six catches for 76 yards.
Senior linebacker John Eddy led all players with 14 total tackles, while fellow seniors Matt King (12) and Korey Askew (10) both also reached double figures in stops. Senior Ethan Davis and junior VJ Holmes also each recorded a sack in one of the wildest games in school history, while Davis forced two fumbles.
"We had our opportunities to win the game on offense, on defense and on special teams," said Head Coach Scott D owning. "We responded to a lot of different challenges tonight. I thought our kids played very, very well but you can't continue to give a great team like Weber State second chances."
The six defensive fumble recoveries by the Bears is a Division I school record, doubling the previous record of three from both the game against Sacramento State in 2007 and the game at Weber State in 2008. The six forced fumbles is also a new school record, surpassing the four forced at Northern Arizona a season ago.
The Northern Colorado defense forced a fumble on a 2nd-and-15 situation for Weber State, giving the Bears the ball on the 35-yard line. Mason Puckett concluded the drive with a 23-yard field goal with 10:08 on the clock for the early 3-0 lead.
Weber State used an 11-play drive to set up a 35-yard field goal and tie the score at 5:49.
Puckett made a 39-yard field goal early in the second quarter, but a penalty voided the kick and on his next attempt from 44-yards was blocked by the Wildcats.
The Wildcats scored a touchdown on their next drive, a 12-yard reception from Higgins to Phillips, but the extra point attempt hit the left upright for the 9-3 reading on the scoreboard with 12:32 left in the first half.
Harris bounced off a tackle and scampered around the right side for a 33-yard touchdown and with the Puckett extra-point, the Bears regained the lead at 10-9 with 8:57 remaining in the first half. On the nine-play drive, Harris carried the ball six times for 48 yards.
On the ensuing drive, senior linebacker Matt King recovered the Wildcats second fumble of the evening, but the Bears were unable to capitalize on the short field.
Weber State took the lead back with 3:20 as Higgins hit Phillips for a 38-yard touchdown. Higgins originally handed the ball off to Bolen, but Bolen pitched the ball back to Higgins who threw the touchdown strike for a 16-10 tally.
With just 64 ticks left in the half, Orms stepped back and hit Davis in the back right corner of the endzone for the eight-yard touchdown. A good recovery by holder Mike Van Portfliet, helped Puckett add the extra point and put the Bears back on top, 17-16. The drive for the Bears was nine play .
On the line drive kickoff, Weber State was penalized for a late hit, pinning them on their own 37-yard line. On the first play, junior transfer Elliott Dorsey forced the third fumble of the evening and Askew picked up the ball and ran it into the end zone 28-yards for another Bears touchdown and the 24-16 lead with 49.5 seconds to play.
Weber State added a 26-yard field goal as time expired in the first half, making the score 24-19 at the break.
Walker led the Bears with 54 yards receiving, while Harris had 63 rushing yards to lead the offense. Askew led the defense with four tackles and a fumble recovery for a touchdown.
Weber State drove the length of the field on the opening drive of the third quarter and Bolen caught the two-point conversion to give them the 27-24 lead with 11:24 on the clock.
Redshirt freshman Tanner Ellingsen punted 32 yards, pinning the Wildcats on their one-yard line and then the Bears defense forced and recovered their fourth fumble of the evening. Senior tackle Ethan Davis sacked Higgins and forced the fumble, which Pasi Fahina picked up. The Bears tied the game at 27-27 with 52.5 seconds on the clock on a 19-yard field goal by Puckett.
Weber State retook the lead with 13:53 on the clock on a 61-yard run by Josh Booker, making the score 34-27.
After the defense again held strong, Dominic Gunn returned a punt a career-best 48 yards and a late hit penalty against Weber State gave the Bears the ball on the eight-yard line. Orms connected with Walker in the back of the end zone to knot the score at 34-34 with 3:17 on the clock.
In the first overtime, the Bears were on offense and Orms fumbled the ball at the two-yard line, but senior tight end Sam Sewell was able to capture the ball in the end zone for the 41-34 lead. Weber State answered on a Bolen rush.
In double overtime, Holmes sacked Higgins, forcing yet another WSU fumble and the Bears took over. However, Weber's defense also held strong and Puckett's field goal from 33-yards was blocked. The third overtime saw Harris punch the ball in from 11-yards out but the two-point conversion failed and the Bears held a 47-41 lead. Higgins connected with Austin Raught from two-yards out and Weber State's two-point conversion also failed forcing a fourth overtime.
With the ball on the 18-yard line and Weber State with a third-and-three, the lights in the stadium shut down, enveloping the 7,219 fans and both teams in darkness. Play resumed 23 minutes later and Weber State made a 35-yard field goal. Penalties were costly for the Bears as they were whistled for three false starts and Puckett's field goal from 42 yards missed just to the left.
"They're disappointed they lost the game," said Downing. "They played well, prepared well and did all the things we asked them to do over the week. The lights go off for 15 minutes and we're playing pretty good, so it seems like we can't catch a break sometimes. We're a good team, we're a strong team with good players and good coaches and we'll come back strong."
Northern Colorado hosts Idaho State next Saturday at Nottingham Field. The Bengals also enter the game with a record of 1-1, but it will be their first conference game of the year. The Bears have won the last two meetings with the Bengals.