OGDEN, Utah (ABC4 Sports) – What a home opener it is going to be for the Weber State football team.
The 8th-ranked Wildcats will host #2 James Madison at Stewart Stadium. The Dukes will be the highest ranked team to ever play at Weber State.
“We’re really excited about that,” said Weber State wide receiver Rashid Shaheed. “Get them to travel here for once. It’s exciting, our first home game to the season. So the juices will be flowing. We’re going to be ready, they’re going to be ready too. They’ve got to come down here and play in the altitude, so we’ll see how that goes.”
The Dukes ended Weber State’s season in the FCS semifinals in 2019, 30-14. In 2017, JMU knocked the Wildcats out of the playoffs on a last-second field goal, 31-28.
This season, James Madison has beaten Morehead State and Maine by a combined score of 123-17.
“It’s the same great James Madison team,” Weber State head coach Jay Hill said. “I do think we’re a much more experienced team than we were in ’19. In ’19, we were a very immature, inexperienced team, and I think we’re much more experienced now, which is good.”
“We’ve got a lot of guys on this team still that have played in those last two games,” Shaheed said. “We just use that as motivation to use coming into this game.”
However, Weber State starting quarterback Bronson Barron suffered a knee injury during the Wildcats’ 41-3 victory over Dixie State last week. So Randall Johnson, who threw that incredible Hail Mary game-winning touchdown pass to beat Northern Arizona in the spring, will get the start.
“He’s throwing the ball better now with a year in the program to see more pass coverages, blitzes and defenses,” Hill said. “Just the comfort level overall with the offense will encourage him to get better and better.”
“The game plan isn’t going to change much because we have a new quarterback,” added Shaheed. “He can do the same exact things that Bronson can do and we’re confident in that.”
Weber State (1-1) will host James Madison (2-0) at 6:00 p.m. Saturday night.