Image Credit: Erik Smith
Written by Brandon Clearwaters
Cheney, WA- On Saturday the Eastern Washington Eagles returned home to face the Cal Polly Mustangs to begin Big Sky Conference play and looked to rebound after they suffered their first loss of the season a week ago, and rebound they would as the Eagles would explode to a 70-17 win in front of 9,156 roaring fans.
Eagles head coach Aaron Best talked about reestablishing dominance after last week’s blow out loss.”It was clear that wasn’t our best performance in any capacity – offense, defense or special teams – everybody had a hand in the matter last week. That was unacceptable and it’s not what Eagle Football is all about. The Cal Poly game was less about getting after people and more about re-stating the standard as far as what we’ve become over the last decade here at Eastern.”
To start the game the Mustangs would get on the board first, after a twenty-three-yard field goal. After a quick three-and-out The Eagles defense would come back on to the field looking to turn things around after giving up 59 points last week. The Eagles side of the field would explode after recovering a Mustang fumble, Cole Karstetter would take the ball to the house for a thirty-eight-yard touchdown. This would be the first time since November 21st, 2015 that the Eagles have had a fumble recovery by the defense for a touchdown. The Eagles offense also got back on track in the first quarter of play, when on their second drive of the game, Antoine Custer would run for 62 yards for a touchdown giving the Eagles a 14-3 lead at the end of one.
The Eagles would continue to bring their explosiveness both on offense as well as defense. The first score of the 2nd quarter wouldn’t come until Sam McPherson would run 3 yards to the back of the end zone to give the Eagles a 21-3 lead. The Mustangs would answer back with 1:42 left to play when J’uan Campbell would run 5 yards to the end zone to cut the lead to 18 points. The Eagles defense would make things happen once again with only 8 seconds before halftime, as Jim Townsend would pick up another Mustang fumble recovery and take it to the house on a 62-yard run to give the Eagles a commanding 35-10 lead at the half.
The Mustangs would only score once after halftime, on a 39-yard run by Campbell. The Eagles scored in the 3rd quarter on a 43-yard run from Custer as well as a 47-yard run by Sam McPherson to give the Eagles a commanding 49-17 lead at the end of three.
Eastern continued to roll over the Mustangs in the final quarter of the game, scoring a total of three times. The first score of the final quarter by the Eagles would come off a 24-yard run from Gage Gubrud. Than Johnny Edwards pass would be complete to Eric Barriere to give the Eagles a 63-17 lead. With only 12 seconds left the Eagles would put the game in the bag on a Dennis Merritt 81-yard run to give EWU the 70-17 win over Cal Poly.
The Eagles finished the night with 657 total yards, with 216 yards through the air. The Mustangs only gathered 399 total yards with only 21 yards through the air. Eastern would break the old Big Sky Record for average rushing yards per attempt, the old record was 11.1 and the Eagles broke that averaging 14.7 per game after four games played this season.
“It makes us feel better than the taste we had in our mouths a week ago at this time. It’s great to see a resilient team bounce back against a quality football team.” Best said of the sweet victory.
Next up for the Eagles, will be a road game at Montana State on September 29th, 2018 with a 12:00 pm kickoff.