Friday night, the Weber State football team went to see a movie about a horse, Triple Crown winner Secretariat.
Saturday, after the Wildcats defeated Portland State, coach Ron McBride had a compliment for Vaingamalie Tafuna, one of two WSU tailbacks who rushed for over 150 and two touchdowns against the Vikings.
“(Tafuna) ran like a fool. He ran like he was juiced,” McBride joked. “He ran like Secretariat.”
Fellow tailback Bo Bolen was a horse as well, galloping for 156 yards and two scores, returning five kicks for 152 yards returning while setting a career-high with 333 yards of total offense to earn the Big Sky’s special teams player of the week award.
Tafuna had his own theory to explain his two-touchdown game (see my WSU Notes from Monday’s paper), but he wasn’t quite sure how to explain his 60-yard touchdown run in the first quarter on a third-and-2 play.
“I just wanted two yards,” Tafuna said. “I wanted two yards, I wanted the first down and then anything after that was a bonus. I was surprised. I was looking back and forth like, where is everybody?”
Weber State coaches used Secretariat and the Triple Crown analogy to illustrate their point about taking each game separately as they come down the home stretch.
“These next four games determine our season. (Saturday) we were just focused about getting this W,” left tackle Caleb Turner said. “It’s just one win for our stretch for the rest of the season.”
The Wildcats do have four games remaining, with an out-of-conference matchup at FBS school Texas Tech to end the year, but I’ll bring the analogy down to this: The next three games, against three Big Sky teams ranked in the FCS Top 25, are Weber State’s Triple Crown.
Weber State has No. 7 Montana at home this weekend (the Kentucky Derby, appropriate for facing a perennial conference power) followed by road trips to No. 13 Montana State (the Preakness Stakes) on Nov. 6 and at No. 25 Northern Arizona on Nov. 13 (the Belmont Stakes).
Montana and Montana State are two of the league’s three remaining one-loss teams. No. 8 Eastern Washington, which already defeated Weber State, is the other.
“(‘Secretariat’) is a pretty ideal film to kind of send the message of what you’ve got to do: You’ve got to win one to get to the next one,” McBride said.
If the Wildcats can get past all three, one ranked team at a time, the “triple” part of the Triple Crown could be an unprecedented third straight FCS playoff appearance for Weber State.