Standard-Examiner

Weber State football finishes ranked No. 5 in 2017 season-end polls

Tuesday , January 09, 2018 - 4:03 PM

Weber State quarterback Stefan Cantwell (11) guides his teammates at the line of scrimmage before a play during the the second half against Idaho State on Saturday, Nov. 18, 2017, at Elizabeth Dee Shaw Stewart Stadium in Ogden.

MATT HERP/Standard-Examiner

Weber State quarterback Stefan Cantwell (11) guides his teammates at the line of scrimmage before a play during the the second half against Idaho State on Saturday, Nov. 18, 2017, at Elizabeth Dee Shaw Stewart Stadium in Ogden.

BRETT HEIN, Standard-Examiner Staff

A season full of firsts — most wins in team history, hosting a playoff game and winning two playoff games — has led to a top final ranking to cap the best Weber State football season in school history.

Weber State finished ranked fifth in the final ranking of both major FCS national polls released Monday. It’s the highest season-end ranking in program history and ties the program’s best ranking at any time.

It’s the third time WSU has finished a season ranked in the top 10, and the first time the Wildcats (11-3) have been the top-ranked team from the Big Sky Conference.

National champion North Dakota State (14-1) topped both the Coaches and STATS polls after defeating No. 2 James Madison (14-1) on Saturday to win its sixth FCS title in seven years.

> Weber State loses heartbreaker at No. 1 James Madison on last-second field goal

In the coaches poll, Sam Houston State (12-2) finished third, followed by South Dakota State (11-3) and Weber State.

The STATS poll — a ranking comprised of ballots from athletics officials, conference representatives and media members — finished the same, except with South Dakota State at third and Sam Houston in fourth.

Weber State’s previous best for a season-end ranking was No. 7 in 2008. The ‘Cats previously climbed to a No. 5 ranking during the 1980 season.

The Wildcats advanced to the FCS quarterfinal playoff round where they fell 31-28 to James Madison on a field goal as time expired.

Weber State’s historic season came with eight players to earn All-America honors, the most in school history for one season. Senior cornerback Taron Johnson led the group as a consensus first-team All-American and was named Big Sky Defensive MVP.

Tight end Andrew Vollert, punt returner Xequille Harry, special teams player Brady May, offensive tackle Iosua Opeta, kick returner Rashid Shaheed, linebacker LeGrand Toia and kicker Trey Tuttle also earned All-American honors.