Weber State football: Wildcats face biggest challenge yet in top-ranked James Madison

Oddly enough, for a team that is one of just eight remaining in the FCS playoffs, the Weber State Wildcats have been fighting against the odds all season long.

Big Sky Conference preseason rankings, courtesy of both the media and coaches, had the Wildcats finishing a middling fifth, behind the likes of North Dakota, Eastern Washington, Northern Arizona and Cal Poly.

Of course all Weber State football did in response was win a share of the Big Sky conference championship, their first since 2008.

In conference games at Montana State and Eastern Washington the Wildcats were roundly expected to come up short, recent history suggested as much, and yet they went on the road and claimed victory in both contests.

Come playoff time, per All-Big Sky defensive tackle McKay Murphy, the Wildcats were expected to lose, both in the first and second round.

“I’m pretty sure the last two games, as far as Twitter goes, we have been the underdog,” said Murphy. “We were a huge underdog against Western Illinois and people thought we were going to lose to SUU too.”

The Wildcats (11-2) did not lose to either team, rather they defeated the Leathernecks 21-19 and then handled the rival T-Birds 30-13.

On Friday at 5 p.m. MDT, Weber State will take the field at James Madison University, once again as the underdog, only on this occasion the label is warranted.

The No. 8/11 Wildcats are set to battle the No.1 James Madison Dukes (12-0) for the right to advance to the FCS semifinals, in a game that may very well be the biggest in school history, against a team that may be the best they have faced all season.

WSU on the air

No. 8/11 Weber State (11-2)

at No. 1 James Madison (12-0)

Friday, 5 p.m. MST

Bridgeforth Stadium, Harrisonburg, Va.

TV: ESPN2

Radio: KLO 1430 AM

Online: WatchESPN.com

“Is this game huge?” Weber State head coach Jay Hill opined. “Absolutely. I mean you are playing in the quarterfinals, you are one of the last eight teams in the country playing and you are playing the No. 1 team in the country. This game is huge and the guys are fired up.”

“It is a great opportunity,” added All-Big Sky tight end Andrew Vollert. “This is probably the biggest game in…

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