Weber State: get to know Southern Illinois' 1st-round playoff opponent

Stewart Stadium in Ogden, Utah, is home to Weber State football. (Photo by WeberStateSports.com)

Southern Illinois makes its ninth appearance in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) playoffs Saturday when the Salukis play at Weber State.

Whether SIU fans are traveling to Utah for the game or just watching it on ESPN-Plus or listening on the radio, here’s a primer on the Salukis’ opponent:

Weber State University

Founded:  1889

Enrollment:  24,048

Nickname:  Wildcats

Colors:  purple and white

Location:  Ogden, Utah (1,416 miles from Carbondale; 1,392 miles from Chicago, according to Google maps)

Population of city:  97,701

Conference:  Big Sky

Record:  5-0 overall, 5-0 in conference

Ranking:  No. 3 STATS Perform FCS poll

Head coach:  Jay Hill (7th season)

Key players:  QB Bronson Barron, RB Josh Davis, WR/KR Rashid Shaheed, WR Ty MacPherson, TE Justin Malone, LB Conner Mortensen, LB Sherwin Lavaka, DE George Tarkas

Stadium:  Stewart Stadium (synthetic turf)

Best NFL player:  DL Bob Pollard, New Orleans Saints, 1971-81

Notable alumni: Dee Hock, creator of Visa credit card; David M. Kennedy, former U.S. Secretary of Treasury; Damian Lillard, NBA player’ J. Williard Marriott, founder of Marriott International; Richard Richards, former chair of Republican National Committee under Ronald Reagan; Olene S. Walker, first female governor of Utah

Fun fact: Former Weber State tight end Alfred Pupunu had exactly 1,000 receiving yards in his 103-game NFL career. Pupunu performed a unique celebration after each touchdown; he mimicked twisting off the top of a coconut and drinking the juice, a very popular celebration among San Diego fans.

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