Central Washington University quarterback Christian Moore has been given his chances, but this was different.

Maybe it was entering Buffalo Stadium at West Texas A&M with over 9,000 fans, or it was the conversation he had with himself prior.

“I just told myself before the game that if my number gets called, God made me for that moment,” Moore said after Tuesday’s practice. “Just really had to keep the self talk up, encouraging myself. And just told myself before the game walking out that tunnel — that big stadium — told myself if my number gets called, I’m going to go in there and do my job.”

Moore has been bestowed opportunities, seeing snaps in both the Ferris State and Western New Mexico games. And for the third time this season, he entered the game after Central pulled the struggling redshirt freshman Canon Racanelli who was 7-of-16 with 54 yards, one touchdown, and one interception.

Coming in late in the second quarter, Moore nearly mounted a comeback for the Wildcats as they trailed 34-10 at the half. After each team exchanged a touchdown in the third quarter, CWU outscored the Buffs 24-7 in the fourth but fell 48-41.

But it was quite the effort from the redshirt sophomore who finished 18-of-31 with 339 yards and four touchdowns. It merited the GNAC to honor him with Offensive Player of the Week.

“I just got in there and did my job,” Moore said. “So much fun playing in that environment in front of that many fans in Texas.”

The fourth quarter especially was meteoric for Moore and the Central offense.

He connected with Michael Roots for a 41-yard touchdown early in the fourth, but West Texas A&M responded with a touchdown to push the lead to 48-25. Moore’s lone error came on the next possession, throwing a pick on the first play.

After a defensive stop, Moore hit Mykel Campbell for a 26-yard touchdown, and then later a 55-yard score to Tyson Rainwater to cut the deficit to seven with 11 seconds remaining. The comeback was cut short after Central couldn’t recover the onside kick.

Moore’s display was convincing for Central (1-4, 0-1 GNAC) to grant him the nod this weekend as the Wildcats host Azusa Pacific (1-3, 1-1 GNAC) for a Homecoming matchup.

“I think Canon did a good job, but is just too inconsistent for us and didn’t take care of the ball at times,” Central head coach Chris Fisk said. “Christian came in and gave us a spark. Now Christian will have his opportunity and he’s got to do the things that Canon didn’t get done for us. He’s got to do a good job of taking care of the ball, he can’t throw interceptions.”

Moore seemed to be the favorite coming into the 2019 season, vying with three other quarterbacks. He sat behind Reilly Hennessey in 2018 and appeared in 10 games, throwing for 245 yards and two touchdowns.

But Central rolled the dice with the gun-slinging Racanelli, who did at times show promise, but struggled too much for the Wildcats’ liking. He’s tossed five touchdowns with four interceptions on 61-of-136 completions (44.85 percent) for 847 yards.

He’s twice been replaced before last Saturday’s game.

Versus Ferris State, Racanelli was 7-of-21 at the half and after completing just one pass on eight attempts to commence the third quarter, Central made the switch and Moore led Central to back to back scoring drives.

Then versus Western New Mexico in Central’s only win, Racanelli was replaced by Moore after the first offensive series and Moore orchestrated an 8-play, 63-yard drive capped by a 19-yard touchdown to tight end Samuel Sanchez to even the game 7-7 late in the first quarter.

But Racanelli did finish out the game, as the following series for Moore resulted in four straight incompletions.

Racanelli went 19-of-34 with 237 yards, one touchdown, and no interceptions. Moore was 2-of-9 with the one score.

“You’d like one of them to emerge and be the guy for the season, but so far, I would say for both of them, they’ve been inconsistent,” Fisk said. “Even at Western New Mexico when Christian had a shot to get it done, we didn’t feel like the consistency was there. And that’s why Canon played and did a great job leading us to our only victory.

“Hopefully Christian comes in with some confidence and did a nice job against West Texas, outscored them pretty well in the last half there. So, we feel like right now at least he’s got the hot hand and that’s what we’ll ride.”

When Fisk was asked if Central pondered the idea of giving Division I FCS Weber State transfer, Braden Miles, a shot at quarterback, he said Miles suffered a shoulder injury in the offseason and “he’s slowly coming back from that.”

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