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Opponent Preview: Weber State Offense

NCAA Football: Weber State at Utah Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

Less than 150 days removed from their last game, Weber State is gearing up to hit the gridiron once again to kickoff the actual 2021 season. As the COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc on the 2020 FBS season, FCS teams delayed their season, opting to start in the Spring of 2021. An undefeated five-game regular season was enough to clinch the program’s fourth straight Big Sky championship. Still, close games and a disappointing first-round loss in the playoffs have some wondering if there has been enough time for the Wildcats offense to improve.

The returning freshman quarterback, Bronson Barron (6’3”, 215 lbs), was serviceable behind center last season, completing 72 of 130 pass attempts while averaging 214.2 passing yards per game and throwing for seven touchdowns and just two interceptions. A pocket passer-by nature, Barron can get mobile when needed, averaging 2.7 yards per rush on 22 attempts, along with a single rushing TD to his name. If the Wildcats have any chance of pulling the upset against the 30.5 point favorite Utes, quarterback play will need to improve dramatically.

Potentially aiding Barron in his second season are a duo of talented receiver transfers in redshirt junior Jordan Allen and junior Randal Grimes. Allen, coming by way of Tennessee, hasn’t seen any playing action since a limited role in 2018. He appeared in nine games as a reserve linebacker and on special teams before moving to tight end before the 2020 season, which he missed due to injury. Grimes, on the other hand, is now at his third college in as many years. After two seasons at USC, the former four-star recruit saw limited time, playing in three games in both 2017 and 2018 before transferring to UNLV to start the 2019 season. While there, Grimes led the Rebels in receptions (44), receiving yards (696), and receiving touchdowns (7) while starting just nine games.

Despite plenty of questions around the passing game, the Wildcats have a known commodity at running back to keep the offense moving. The 5’9”, 195 lb junior from Alta High School, Josh Davis, is on his way to becoming the top rusher in program history, currently ranking fourth with 2,884 yards and 21 touchdowns. An ankle injury sidelined Davis for the season’s final two games, but he appears to be healthy for a week one start at Rice-Eccles. Davis is one of the most decorated athletes on the Wildcats roster as a two-time All-American, three-time all-conference first-team selection and a Jerry Rice Award winner, National Freshman of the Year, and Utah Male Collegiate Athlete of the Year, all coming in 2018.

Weber State is well equipped to make another run for a fifth straight conference championship, but the Wildcats likely don’t have enough offensive firepower to stun the Utes and walk away with a week one win.