Written by Brandon Clearwaters
Cheney, WA- Week five of the FCS season pinned Eastern Washington Eagles against the Thunderbirds of Southern Utah. A game where the Eagles looked for redemption from a 46-28 loss back in 2017. EWU would get redemption Saturday after exploding to a 55-17 win in front of their 28th straight sellout crowd.
The biggest news for Eagle fans, on a night where Gage Gubrud could have join the 10,000-yard passing club, he would walk out during warmups in a boot and not play against the Thunderbirds. This would be from an injury Gubrud suffered last week at the end of the game against Northern Arizona.
“Gage has a ton of experience and he’s a very witty and cat-like type of quarterback. Eric is kind of new and kind of green, and he’s going to take some shots every once in a while, and pull the ball every once in a while. At the end of the day, you take what they give you and try to do more right than wrong.” EWU head coach Arron Best said about Guburd not playing and Eric Barriere getting the start against SUU.
The Eagles offense would start the game very fast. EWU got on the scoreboard early after a fourteen-yard run by Sam McPherson. The Eagles took a 7-0 lead before Antoine Custer’s two-yard run gave the Eagles a 14-0. SUU got on the scoreboard late in the first quarter, when Manny Berz would make a 42-yard field goal. EWU went into the second quarter with a 14-3 lead.
The Eagles offense produced total of 234 yards in the first quarter. They would easily be on track to another 500 total yard game. Roldan Alcobendas would help Eastern Washington take a 17-3 lead after a 32-yard field goal. EWU’s stou tdefense would only allow SUU to rack up 194 total yards in the first half. SUU only got on the scoreboard twice in the first half, their second time came on a 4-yard pass completed in the back of the end zone to Aaron Zwahlen.
EWU had a commanding 24-10 lead before Eric Barriere would turn on the jets and go on an 85-yard run to the end zone to give EWU a 31-10 lead. EWU added to their lead with only 0:19 before halftime on a Alcobendas 19-yard field goal gave the Eagles a dominating 34-10 at the break.
EWU continue to roll all over SUU, but was this game about revenge? Eagles head coach Arron Best doesn’t believe so. “This wasn’t revenge and to get over a loss in Cedar City. You are presented different situations and we’ve been very good and solid with the situation we’ve been presented so far.”
Coming out of the locker room the Thunderbirds were looking for anything to stop both the EWU offense and defense. SUU would fail. EWU would score three times in the 3rd quarter of play. First off of a 1-yard run from Eric Barriere, then a 29-yard pass from Barriere to Nsimba Webster to the back of the end zone, giving EWU a commanding 48-10 lead. With only 2:09 left to play Antoine Custer Jr. would take it 13 yards to the back of the end zone helping extend EWU’s lead to 55-10. SUU tried to make the point differential a little smaller but would fall short only scoring once off of Jay Green’s 2-yard run. Both EWU and SUU failed to put points on the scoreboard in the fourth quarter, as EWU would dominate and take the 55-17 lead.
Next, up for the Eagles, they travel to Ogden, Utah to face 3-2 Weber State Wildcats on October 13th with kickoff slated for 3;00 pm PST.
(Image Credit: Erik Smith)