UND hopes this Weber State matchup isn't 2018 all over again

OGDEN, Utah — The University of North Dakota football program has been in this position before.

Just a year ago, the surging Fighting Hawks faced a top 5 Weber State team with an opportunity to build an FCS playoffs resume and catapult the team through the stretch run of a schedule that was supposed to get easier.

The Hawks lost 35-30 to Weber last season before ending the year in a tailspin, with crushing losses at Idaho and Northern Arizona.

With three weeks left in the 2019 regular season, No. 3 Weber State is back in front of a UND team trending toward a postseason berth. The No. 22 Hawks travel to Stewart Stadium for a 3 p.m. kickoff Saturday.

Once again, UND has an opportunity to pull off an upset and rocket up the national rankings. And once again, UND has winnable games down the stretch following the Weber game — this time at home against Northern Colorado and Southern Utah.

The Hawks can’t completely erase any haunting memories of last season this weekend against Weber, but UND can make a big splash with a victory against a team that hasn’t lost at home in the regular season in the past two years.

Against Big Sky Conference opponents, Weber State has won 12 straight and 24 of the last 26.

“They’re very physical and stick to their game plan,” UND safety Jordan Canady said. “We’ve got to take away their big plays. They have explosive playmakers and a big defensive line. They have some strengths we have to take away.”

The Fighting Hawks had a second bye week last Saturday, giving coaches and players an opportunity to take in one of the biggest games in the FCS last weekend — Weber State at Sacramento State. The Wildcats cruised to a 36-17 win over a Hornets team that had taken the Big Sky Conference by storm this season.