Weber State fends off Western Illinois in FCS playoffs
OGDEN, Utah (AP) Stefan Cantwell hooked up with Drew Batchelor for two second-quarter touchdowns and then found tight end Andrew Vollert for a 21-yard score in the fourth quarter as Weber State defeated Western Illinois 21-19 on Saturday in the first round of the FCS playoffs.
Weber State moves on to play fellow Big Sky Conference member Southern Utah in the second round next Saturday.
Trailing 3-0, Cantwell gave the Wildcats (10-2) the lead for good when he connected with Batchelor for a 33-yard score. After Sam Crosa’s second field goal pulled the Leathernecks (8-4) within a point, Cantwell found Batchelor for a 3-yard score and a 14-6 lead at halftime.
Western Illinois scored on a 7-yard run by Clint Ratkovich with 35 seconds left in the third quarter, but the two-point conversion failed and the Leathernecks trailed 14-12.
Cantwell pushed the Wildcats’ lead to 21-12 on their first possession of the fourth quarter when he lobbed a perfect pass to Vollert in the back left corner of the end zone.
The Leathernecks closed within 21-19 on Sean McGuire 18-yard scoring pass to Tyler Slamans with 4:55 to go. But Western Illinois never got the ball back.
Cantwell directed an 11-play drive that covered 62 yards to the Western Illinois 11 to run out the clock.
Cantwell totaled 186 yards passing and 43 yards on the ground.
McGuire completed 22 of 40 passes for 202 yards with a TD and an interception.
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