After much-needed bye week, Eastern takes on option-oriented Cal Poly on Hall of Fame Day and Cancer Awareness Day at The Inferno
2015 Eagle Football
#7 Eastern Washington University "Eagles"
Cal Poly "Mustangs"
Saturday, Oct. 10, 2015 • 1:05 p.m. Pacific
Roos Field (8,600) • Cheney, Washington
EWU Coach: Beau Baldwin (Central Washington '96)
School Record: 69-27/46-11 Big Sky Conference (8th Season)
Career Record: 79-30 (9th Season -- was 10-3 at CWU in 2007, 6-5 at EWU in 2008, 8-4 in 2009, 13-2 in 2010, 6-5 in 2011, 11-3 in 2012 and 12-3 in 2013)
2015: 2-2/1-0 Big Sky
2014: 11-3/7-1 Big Sky (OUTRIGHT CHAMPIONS; FCS Playoffs)
Last Game: #11 EWU 28, Sacramento State 20 (Sept. 26 in Sacramento, Calif.)
TV: Televised live regionally by SWX (Greg Heister & Mike Peterson).
Radio: 700-AM ESPN in Spokane. Larry Weir returns for his 25th season calling the play-by-play, with analysis handled by Paul Sorensen. Broadcasts begin one hour prior to kickoff and include an expanded post-game show.
Internet Radio: www.700espn.com or www.tunein.com.
Radio iPhone App: Search for "700 ESPN" and download app. An app is also available for tunein radio.
Live Stats: http://ewustats.com
Weekly Coaches Show: Mondays at 6 p.m. at the "Impulse Club" at Northern Quest Resort & Casino, with video highlights and commentary by head coach Beau Baldwin at 5:30 p.m. (no live show on Oct. 5) . . . 700-AM ESPN, www.700espn.com & via iphone app. (search for "Spokane Radio" and download app).
Watch Parties: Consult EWU social media outlets for details the Friday before games. Those who may carry EWU games include "Epic" at Northern Quest Casino and Resort in Airway Heights and the Swinging Doors in Spokane.
Mid-term exams come early for the Eastern Washington University defense and a football team riddled by injuries in the first four games.
But after a bye week, the seventh-ranked Eagles will receive their test results when they host Cal Poly and the top rushing offense in the nation in a Big Sky Conference showdown on Saturday (Oct. 10) on Hall of Fame Day and Cancer Awareness Day at Roos Field in Cheney, Wash.
The game kicks off at 1:05 p.m. Pacific time and will be televised regionally by SWX, and will also be available via watchbigsky.com. Fans may also listen to the game on 700-AM ESPN and via the web at www.700espn.com, with pre-game coverage starting one hour prior to kickoff and the broadcasts featuring an expanded post-game show.
The Eagles were successful in their league opener on Sept. 26 at Sacramento State, winning 28-20 to begin their pursuit of their fourth-straight Big Sky title and ninth overall. Eastern's first four games have included numerous injuries, with seven total starters missing the Sac State game and three other players getting injured in the first half.
Regardless of who is available to play Saturday, Eastern head coach Beau Baldwin vows his team will be ready for another outstanding match-up in the Big Sky Conference and NCAA Football Championship Subdivision between teams a combined 4-5 on the season.
"It's a fun match-up, but it can be a headache of a match-up because of what they do and the fact they do it so well," admitted Baldwin. "I don't look at the records – it's two teams that can be right in the hunt when it's all said and done. But there are a number of teams in this conference who have a chance at this point of the year. This will be another step along the way for both programs."
The bye week helped the Eagles rest and get healthy, plus get an early start on preparing for an option-oriented Cal Poly offense that leads the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision in rushing with an average of 363.8 yards per game. Led by quarterback Chris Brown, who is seventh in FCS with a total of 529 rushing yards in five games, the Mustangs are sixth in FCS with 119 first downs, 10th in time of possession (33:43 per game) and 30th in total offense (430.8 yards per game).
"They've been good at what they do offensively for a long time – it's unique. It's one thing to be unique at what you do, but it's another to be unique and really good at what you do. Coach (Walsh) and his staff has established that over the years and present a tremendous challenge. They are amazing running the football, but that also adds to their third and fourth down percentages to keep drives alive. And then they'll sting you in the passing game as a change up. It's a challenge for our defense and having the extra week definitely helps, but you still have to go out there and make plays."
The Mustangs are just 2-3 overall and 1-1 in the Big Sky, but all of their games have come against teams nationally ranked at some point this season. They opened the year with a 20-19 non-conference win over 12th-ranked Montana, then lost just 35-21 at Arizona State of the Pac-12 Conference (ranked 15th in the preseason FBS poll). They followed that with a 34-20 home loss to Northern Iowa, a 45-28 loss at No. 15 Montana State and then beat Idaho State (ranked 22nd in FCS in the preseason) 58-26 at home on Oct. 3. Eastern has two common opponents already this season, losing at UNI 38-35 and beating MSU at home 55-50.
Cal Poly had 499 rushing yards last week against the Bengals, and will be a great test for the Eagle defense. The Eagles are ranked 122nd among 123 FCS teams in rushing defense, surrendering an average of 313.0 per game. However, the Eagles allowed just 14 rushing yards in the second half against Sacramento State, and hope that shutout effort in the final 30 minutes carries over to this Saturday.
The inconsistency against Sac State was apparent on both sides of the ball. Eastern had a dominating 278-18 advantage in total offense in the third quarter when it scored 21 of its 28 points, but was out-gained 140-122 in the second quarter and 151-111 in the opening stanza. Eastern ended with an 83-50 edge in the final quarter, and didn't score in the second and fourth quarters to snap its more than year-long streak of scoring at 61 quarters.
Eastern is now 2-2 and features the top passing offense in the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision behind the play of former walk-on Jordan West. In successive weeks, the junior quarterback has led EWU to a school record for passing yards (526 versus Northern Iowa), broke a 23-year record for passing efficiency (313.5 versus Montana State) and then broke a 21-year old record for passing yardage by throwing for 491 yards and three touchdowns against the Hornets.
"They are sound and very well-coached, and they do it at a high level," Baldwin said of the Mustang defense. "They've traditionally been very strong on defense."
Ranked for the 50th-straight time, Eastern is seventh in this week's STATS FCS Top 25 poll, up two spots from last week's ranking of ninth following the Sac State win and four spots from 11th before the game versus the Hornets. Eastern is No. 8 in the coaches poll, while Cal Poly is ranked just out of the top 25 at No. 27 by STATS and No. 29 by the coaches.
* Having dropped from sixth to 14th in the STATS Top 25 poll after successive losses to open the year, Eastern is back up to seventh this week. Eastern went up two spots despite not playing last week, and two positions after EWU's win over Sacramento State on Sept. 26. In all, four of EWU's 10 FCS opponents are currently in the STATS poll, including Northern Iowa (#10), Montana (#12), Montana State (#18) and Portland State (#25). Eastern doesn't play North Dakota, and they enter the poll at No. 23 this week. Eastern plays Northern Arizona and Cal Poly in the coming weeks, and they are 26th and 27th, respectively in the voting. Idaho State, EWU's opponent in Pocatello on Oct. 17, was ranked 22nd in the preseason poll. The Eagles have now been ranked in The Sports Network Poll 50-consecutive times, having entered 2015 with a streak of 44-straight. Eastern has spent time at No. 1 in four of the last five seasons (2014, 2012, 2011, 2010), and was high as second in 2013. In this week's coaches poll, Eastern is ranked eighth.
* The Eagles are now 32-5 all-time at "The Inferno," with three of the losses coming the past three seasons in the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision Playoffs. Those included a 45-42 loss to Sam Houston State in 2012 when EWU rallied from a 35-0 halftime deficit to nearly pull off an improbable comeback, a 35-31 semifinal loss to Towson in 2013 and a 59-46 loss to Illinois State in the quarterfinals in 2014. Eastern is 24-2 in the regular season at "The Inferno" and 8-3 in the FCS Playoffs. The Eagles have won 17 regular season games in a row at Roos Field dating back to their last loss in the final home game of the 2011 season against Portland State (43-26). The first loss EWU suffered on the red turf was a 36-21 loss to Montana State on Sept. 24, 2011.
* The Eagles are 28-3 in their last 31 Big Sky games since a 0-2 start in 2011. Until an Oct. 25, 2014, loss at Northern Arizona, EWU had won 14 Big Sky Conference games in a row. The Eagles have now won their league opener in nine of the last 10 seasons (2006-15), with the lone hiccup coming in 2011 when EWU lost to Montana and Montana State to open its Big Sky schedule. Eastern is now 17-12 in Big Sky openers dating back to 1987 when EWU joined the league.
* Eastern has won eight Big Sky Conference titles – 1992, 1997, 2004, 2005, 2010, 2012, 2013 and 2014 – but is coming off the school's first three-peat as a league member. However, the Eagles won three-straight Evergreen Conference titles from 1965-67 and again from 1947-50. The 1947 title actually came in the final season of the Washington Intercollegiate Conference (Winco), and prior to that EWU won four-straight titles in the Tri-Normal League from 1934-37.
* Just three touchdown receptions from equaling career total of the immortal Jerry Rice, two-time All-America wide receiver Cooper Kupp leads FCS in receiving touchdowns (10), receiving yards (759), receiving yards per game (189.8), receptions (46), receptions per game (11.5) and scoring (15.0 per game), and is third in all-purpose yards per game (193.8). Earlier this season, on his way to earning Big Sky Conference ROOT Sports co-Offensive Player of the Week accolades, Kupp finished with career highs of 15 catches for 246 yards – both Autzen Stadium records – in a 61-42 loss to Oregon on Sept. 5. He now has 47 touchdown catches in his career, moving him this season from 19th to sixth in FCS history. He had two touchdowns in EWU's 28-20 win over Sacramento State on Sept. 26 to set the school and Big Sky Conference records previously held by Eric Kimble with 46 from 2002-05.
* Junior wide receiver Kendrick Bourne has compiled some impressive statistics of his own this season for the Eagles, and finished with seven catches for a career-high 204 yards and a touchdown in EWU's 28-20 victory over Sacramento State on Sept. 26. Eastern has now had 11 200-yard performances all-time, and three of them have come this season (two earlier this season by Cooper Kupp with 246 against Oregon and 201 versus Montana State). Backed up at their own 2-yard line early and trailing by 13 points in the third quarter, Bourne and quarterback Jordan West hooked up on an electric 98-yard pass play that started a 21-0 scoring run for the Eagles. But the long pass wasn't a school record. Jason Anderson caught a 99-yard TD from Todd Bernett on Sept. 17, 1994, for a school, Big Sky and FCS record that can never be broken – just tied. Bourne also had a non-scoring 43-yard reception from West, who set the school record with 491 passing yards. In FCS statistics this week, Bourne is seventh in receiving touchdowns (5), 11th in receiving yards (430), 12th in receiving yards per game (107.5) and 27th in receptions per game (6.0). He has 83 catches for 1,361 yards and 17 touchdowns in his 32-game Eastern career.
* Junior Jordan West has set two school records individually in his last two games, and one game before that helped EWU to a team record. He is coming off a school-record 491-yard passing performance against Sacramento State on Sept. 26, completing 29-of-47 passes with three touchdowns. The previous record was 486 set by Todd Bernett in 1994 versus Montana. One game earlier, he set the school record for passing efficiency rating in EWU's 55-50 win over then 11th-ranked Montana State on Sept. 19, and was selected by STATS as its FCS co-National Offensive Player of the Week. The junior from Maple Valley, Wash. (2012 graduate of Liberty High School), was also honored with the same award by NCAA.com and College Sports Madness, plus was Big Sky Conference Offensive Player of the Week. West completed 21-of-24 passes (88 percent) for 410 yards and six touchdowns. His efficiency rating of 313.5 broke the previous school record of 310.4 set exactly 23 years ago to the day by Mark Tenneson against Sonoma State in 1992. Tenneson was 10-of-14 for 265 yards and four touchdowns in that game. West's six TDs versus MSU were one away from the school record. The former invited walk-on leads FCS in passing efficiency (201.6), passing yards per game (385.8) and passing yards per attempt (11.5). He is also second in passing touchdowns (15), third in passing yards (1,543), third in completion percentage (.724), third in total offense (391.3 per game), third in points responsible for per game (22.5) and fifth in points responsible for (90). West has now started eight games in his career (5-3 record) and has a career passing efficiency rating of 171.7 to currently rank second in school history ahead of 2005 Walter Payton Award winner Erik Meyer (166.5) and behind two-time Payton runner-up Vernon Adams Jr. (173.8). West has completed 66 percent of his passes for 2,615 yards, 24 touchdowns and four interceptions so far in his career, which includes a 3-1 record as an injury replacement in 2014 for Adams. In his first collegiate start at Southern Utah in a 42-30 win on Oct. 11, 2014, West completed five of his first six passes, and finished 20-of-27 for 288 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. He had a passing efficiency rating in the game of 192.9.
* Eastern's defense gave up 291 yards of offense and 20 points in the first half, but held the Hornets to just one first down and 18 yards in the decisive third quarter. The first four possessions of the second half for Sac State included a pair of three-and-outs, and a muffed punt that was recovered by Eastern's Alek Kacmarcik. Eastern also held the Hornets scoreless in the fourth quarter, and ended up with a 361-68 advantage in offense after trailing 20-7 at intermission.
* Eastern leads FCS in passing yards (466.3 per game) and passing efficiency (191.94), and is second in total offense (590.5), third in completion percentage (.717) and ninth in scoring offense (40.0) after leading FCS a year ago with a 44.1 average. Eastern's 526-yard passing effort at Northern Iowa on Sept. 12 broke the school record of 486 set twice against Montana – Oct. 4, 1986, and Sept. 17, 1994.
* Eastern had its first scoreless quarter in over a year in the second quarter at Sacramento State when the Eagles were 0-of-2 on third down and had its two possessions end on a punt and interception. The Hornets scored 10 points in the quarter and had 140 yards. The streak of scoring in 61-straight quarters lasted from August 30, 2014, to Sept. 26, 2015. Aside from a scoreless fourth quarter in a 41-9 blowout win against Montana Western on Aug. 30, 2014, Eastern had scored in every quarter of every game in 14 games in 2014 and its first three of 2015 (67 of 68 quarters total).
* Eastern's entire five-man starting offensive line to open the year was manned by seniors, with a pair of seniors as backups. In all, those five senior starters average 299 pounds and now have 98 starts between them, including a trio who have combined for 80 career starts. Preseason All-America tackle Clay DeBord has a team-leading 45 starts, while All-America guard Aaron Neary has started 17. In addition, Thomas Gomez has 18, Cassidy Curtis has 11 and T.J. Boatright has seven. Curtis missed the last three games with a foot injury suffered versus Oregon and will be out until October. DeBord has started every game he has played -- 45 of a possible 47 games the past four seasons. He missed one game each in 2012 and 2013 because of ankle injuries, and has a current consecutive starting streak of 24 games.
* Eastern's offensive line, already playing without injured starting right tackle Cassidy Curtis (foot), lost his replacement as well on Sept. 12 at Northern Iowa. Jerrod Jones made the first start of his Eagle career, but left the game with a knee injury and All-America guard Aaron Neary had to move to that position, with his position taken by senior Jay Deines. In the next game, freshman redshirt Nick Ellison made the first start of his career at right tackle and also started there versus Sac State on Oct. 26. But in that game, Clay DeBord suffered a concussion, resulting in Aaron Neary having to move from guard to tackle. Later, when center T.J. Boatright had to leave the game briefly, Neary played that position as well.
* A pair of local redshirt freshmen – rover Cole Karstetter and offensive tackle Nick Ellison – made the first starts of their Eastern careers on Sept. 19 versus Montana State. Karstetter had seven tackles as an injury replacement for Todd Raynes, and is a 2014 graduate of Ferris High School in Spokane, Wash. Ellison, who started at right tackle as a replacement for two injured veterans, graduated the same year from Moscow, Idaho, High School. One game later versus Sacramento State, receiver Simba Webster made his first career start.
* True freshman end Keenan Williams and redshirt freshman linebacker Alek Kacmarcik made the first starts of their careers on defense for EWU at Northern Iowa on Sept. 12 and have been starters ever since. A hometown product of Cheney, Wash., High School, Williams graduated early and was with the Eagles during spring practices – a first for the EWU program. Kacmarcik was last year's Scout Team Defensive Player of the Year and is a 2014 graduate of Woodinville, Wash., High School. Williams had a tackle on the first play from scrimmage and finished with two stops. Kacmarcik had a pair of sacks and five total tackles against the Panthers, then had 18 tackles – equaling the 18th-best performance in school history – a week later versus Montana State.
* Five players on defense but none on offense made their Eagle starting debuts against Oregon on Sept. 5. Redshirt freshman Jonah Jordan started at defensive end and sophomore defensive tackle Andre Lino started at defensive tackle. Also, sophomore linebacker Jake Gall and redshirt freshman cornerback Nzuzi Webster made their first career starts, as well as redshirt freshman free safety Mitch Fettig. In addition, Washington State University transfer Jordan Dascalo made his EWU debut as starting punter and handle kickoffs for the Eagles.
* Five true freshmen played against the Ducks, including linebacker Ketner Kupp, the younger brother of two-time Eagle wide receiver Cooper Kupp. The others were running backs Sam McPherson and Malcom Williams Jr., and defensive linemen Keenan Williams and Jim Townsend.
*Eastern has had 10 50-point games in the last four seasons (including 2015), with six in 2014 and two each in 2013 and 2012. Eastern is now 44-3 in the 47 games they have scored at least 50 in school history. The lone losses were to Washington (59-52 in 2014), Idaho State (55-52 in 2003 in double overtime) and Weber State (63-59 in 1991, which at the time was the highest-scoring game in FCS/I-AA history).
* Eastern has advanced to the FCS Playoffs four of the last five years under head coach Beau Baldwin, a two-time Big Sky Coach of the Year. He owns a 69-27 record in seven-plus seasons to currently rank seventh in the 52-year history of the Big Sky with a .719 winning percentage. His 80.7 percent winning percentage in league games (46-11) is fifth all-time in the league.
More Cooper Kupp Notes
* Kupp now has 47 touchdown catches in his career, ranking sixth in FCS history and one ahead of the former school and Big Sky Conference records of 46 set by Eric Kimble (2002-05). Kupp is now just three touchdown catches from ranking third in FCS history with three players, including the legendary Jerry Rice from Mississippi Valley (1981-84). Kupp won the Jerry Rice Award in 2013 given to the top freshman in FCS. The FCS career record is 58 set by New Hampshire's David Ball (2003-06) and ranking second is Terrell Hudgins (2006-09) with 52. Kupp has played just 32 games while all the others in the top five have played at least 41. In fact, Kupp is the only player in the top 26 in FCS history with less than 36 games played.
* Kupp is now second in school history for career receptions (243; 10 from the school record) and reception yards (3,881; 259 from the record), and is sixth in career all-purpose yards (4,163). Eric Kimble (2002-05) holds EWU career records for receptions (253, second all-time in Big Sky history and 17th in FCS history) and yards (4,140, Big Sky record and ninth in FCS history) and all-purpose yards (5,934).
* Kupp now has 19 performances of at least 100 receiving yards in his career, and had career highs for catches (15) and yards (246) against Oregon on Sept. 5, 2015. Both of those marks against the Ducks were Autzen Stadium records and the second-best in school history, ranking behind the records of 17 receptions (Aaron Boyce versus Montana on 10/6/07) and 264 yards (Jason Anderson versus Montana on 9/17/94). Kupp's 15 performances with at least 125 receiving yards is a school record.
* Already with six FCS records, seven school marks and two Big Sky records, Kupp has averaged a TD reception for every 5.2 catches so far in his career. He has scored at least once in 28 of 32 games he has played, with 18 performances of at least eight catches and 19 with at least 100 receiving yards. Kupp has started all 32 games he has played in his EWU career, giving him the second-most starts on the team.
* With a career average of 16.0 yards per catch (243-3,881), Kupp has had 21 receptions of 40 yards or more, including 10 for scores. He also has two punt returns of at least 40 yards, one for a TD. He had the longest reception of his career versus Oregon on Sept. 5, 2015, a non-scoring 73-yarder, then matched it with a scoring 73-yarder versus Northern Iowa on Sept. 12, 2015.
* Kupp set EWU's single season school record for receptions with 104 in 2014, breaking the record of 96 previously set by his wide receivers coach, Nicholas Edwards in 2011. As a result, Kupp became the 19th player in FCS history to hit the century mark in a single season. His mark ranked second in league history behind the 112 of Idaho State's Rodrick Rumble, also in 2011, and is the 12th-best mark all-time in FCS. He finished the year with 1,431 receiving yards and 16 touchdowns. He closed the year with 10 catches for 185 yards and two touchdowns versus Illinois State in the quarterfinals of the FCS Playoffs on Dec. 13. One game earlier in the second round of the playoffs, he had what was then a career-best 12 catches versus Montana on Dec. 6 to rank as the eighth-most in school history.
* As a freshman, Kupp set the school and Big Sky records with 21 touchdown receptions. All six of his FCS records came as a freshman when he finished with 93 catches for 1,691 yards. Kupp had at least one score in the first 14 games of his career to set a FCS record, but had the streak stopped in a 2013 loss in the semifinals of the FCS Playoffs.
* Coach Beau Baldwin on Kupp Breaking the Big Sky TD Receptions Record: "The record he broke was by a student-athlete who had an amazing career here at Eastern, and it was a pleasure to coach Eric Kimble. It was an incredible record that was going to be very hard to break. But Eric would be the first to say he would like no other person to break a record like that because Cooper works for everything he achieves. He has amazing ability, but to break a record like that is because of what he does every day to make himself a better player. But no matter how good a football player Cooper is, he's an even better person and teammate."
* Coach Beau Baldwin on Kupp: "I'd be shocked if you could show me a better receiver at any level in the country. Usually I don't talk like that, but that's how I feel right now and think that we have here at Eastern. We are very fortunate to have him as a leader and player on this football team. It's just a will and an amazing mindset that he has. He is talented – he is talented in every aspect of what it is to be a wide receiver. People want to knock him for his speed, but he still runs behind people over and over again. He took a bubble screen 73 yards against Oregon and a Pac-12 team with a lot of speed. So Cooper is plenty fast. The thing that takes him over the top in comparing him to other receivers in the country is his will. You marvel when you see him out there doing what he is doing. Somebody asked him how he breaks so many tackles, and it's very simple to him, 'I don't like to be tackled so I refuse to be tackled.' That's a mindset. It's kind of like the mental toughness you need to be tired and still play through it. The guys who can do that have grit, and Cooper has another type of grit. When the ball is in the air, 'it's mine. Period.' That's the way he thinks. Eventually he gets tackled, but there are times three or four players hit him and he's still standing when they knock him out of bounds. But he still hasn't gone to the ground. We're blessed to have him because not only is he an incredible football receiver, but he's an incredible football player. He's a punt returner, he's blocking in the run game, he holds on kicks and he's leading. He leads not only by his words, but by his actions and what he is doing on the field."
* Eastern is 3-0 against Cal Poly all-time at Roos Field, and is 5-2 overall with the home team winning five of the seven games. Eastern beat the Mustangs 61-7 in the first-ever NCAA Football Championship Subdivision (then known as I-AA) game for Cal Poly to open the 1994 season. That game was also the head coaching debut of former Eagle Mike Kramer, who is now head coach at Idaho State. Eastern was blasted 52-35 in San Luis Obispo to end the 1995 season, but two years later the Eagles finished 12-2 and advanced to the semifinals of the FCS Playoffs. Eastern defeated the Mustangs in Cheney by a 38-21 score in 2004, when Cal Poly entered the game ranked 11th nationally and EWU was 21st. The Eagles eventually received an at-large playoff berth in 2004 while the Mustangs stayed home with a 9-2 mark. Eastern lost at Cal Poly 40-35 in 2005 in a game matching the 11th-ranked Eagles and the 18th-ranked Mustangs. In 2011, the Eagles scored on four consecutive plays (two touchdowns and two conversions) in the second and third overtimes as the Eagles prevailed 53-51 in San Luis Obispo. The 2012 was also a match-up of nationally-ranked teams, with No. 7 Eastern prevailing 34-17 over the 16th-ranked Mustangs.
* In the most recent meeting in 2013, the Eagle defense held the nation's top rushing team to three points through the first three quarters and Cooper Kupp set a pair of FCS receiving records, as the Eagles bested the option offense of Cal Poly 35-22 on Nov. 16 in San Luis Obispo, Calif. In a victory that wrapped up the league title for the Eagles, Eastern out-gained Cal Poly 486-437 in the game, including 415-146 in the middle two quarters. After a 44-yard drive for a game-opening field goal, in their next six possessions, the Mustangs managed no drive of longer than six plays or 54 yards. Meanwhile, EWU took a 35-3 lead. Kupp caught eight passes for 139 yards and a pair of touchdowns as he equaled the FCS record for most consecutive games with a TD catch of 11 and broke the FCS record for receiving yards by a freshman. Vernon Adams completed 14-of-21 for 224 yards and a pair of touchdowns, but left the game with a shoulder injury suffered on a third-quarter TD pass. Senior Anthony Vitto replaced him and completed 14-of-21 passes for 127 yards and a TD. Ronnie Hamlin led the Eagles with 10 tackles, and senior Bo Schuetzle had the first two interceptions of his career to go along with a pair of tackles. The triple-option attack of Cal Poly went into the game averaging 308.6 rushing yards per game to lead FCS, and had 424 one game earlier. Cal Poly had also entered the game ranked 34th in FCS in total defense (350.0 per game) and 16th in scoring defense (21.0).
* In the most recent game in Cheney in 2012, Eastern came up with big drives on offense and big stops on defense, and the seventh-ranked Eagles rolled past 16th-ranked Cal Poly 34-17 at Roos Field. Vernon Adams led the Eagles with 288 yards passing and 68 on the ground, as the Eagles finished with 542 as a team. He completed 19-of-29 passes and had three touchdown tosses, and Eastern's scoring drives in the game were of 81, 66, 74, 69, 41 and 83 yards. Eastern had its second-best rushing effort of the season with 254 yards, with sophomore Quincy Forte finishing with 83 and junior Demitrius Bronson adding 82 and a score. Senior Nicholas Edwards had a team-leading five catches for 55 yards. Defensively, the Eagles allowed the vaunted Cal Poly triple-option attack to rush for 251 yards and finish with 411 yards total. The Mustangs were at one point in the game 9-of-13 on third down, but converted just one of its last five. The Eagles forced Cal Poly to punt five times, and also had a 3-1 advantage in turnovers forced. Senior defensive end Paul Ena had a team-high nine tackles.
* In the 2011 thriller, a touchdown pass by wide receiver Greg Herd sparked Eastern Washington to scores on four consecutive plays (two touchdowns and two conversions) in the second and third overtimes as the Eagles prevailed 53-51 at Alex G. Spanos Stadium. Coming on what appeared to be a designed reverse, Herd's 25-yard TD toss to fellow wide receiver Nicholas Edwards helped send the game into a third overtime. After a game-tying point after conversion by Mike Jarrett, Bo Levi Mitchell passed 25 yards to Herd on the very next play for the go-ahead score to begin the third OT. Mitchell then scrambled his way into the end zone for the all-important two-point conversion. Cal Poly scored on the next possession, but Alden Gibbs broke up a pass on the two-point conversion to preserve Eastern's victory. A trade of field goals – including a school-record 15th on the season by Jarrett – opened the overtime. Eastern sent the game into overtime with a 10-play, 80-yard drive to score with 1:51 to play on a 22-yard pass play from Mitchell to his older brother Cory Mitchell, who finished the game with a career-high seven catches for 132 yards. Eastern couldn't stop Cal Poly from running the ball and the Mustangs couldn't stop the Eagle passing game. The Mustangs rushed for 405 yards on 95 carries and scored three-straight touchdowns late in the game to rally from a 28-14 deficit. Eastern, which passed for 461 yards in the game, converted 8-of-10 third downs in building a 28-14 lead in the third quarter. But three-straight empty possessions helped the Mustangs rally with scoring drives of 71, 80 and 77 yards. Mitchell, the leader in the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision with an average of 352.9 passing yards per game, completed 34-of-50 passes for 436 yards and five touchdowns. Edwards caught 10 passes for 136 yards and two touchdowns. Six Eagles had double figures in tackles, as Cal Poly had 107 total offensive plays compared to 73 for the Eagles. Linebacker Grant Williams finished with a career-high 19 tackles (seventh in school history), and linebacker Ronnie Hamlin had a career-high 16. Linebacker Tyler Washburn had 12 and Allen Brown had 10.
* In a 2004 game in Cheney, Erik Meyer passed for 417 yards and four touchdowns, and Eric Kimble caught nine passes for 151 yards and three of the scores to help the 21st-ranked Eagles upset 11th-ranked Cal Poly 38-21. Eastern handed the Mustangs their second-straight loss after a 7-0 start that had them ranked fifth in the country two weeks earlier. The performance by Meyer was then the fifth-best in school history as he finished with 431 yards of offense despite getting sacked six times. He completed 21-of-32 passes with one interception, and scrambled for 48 yards of gains while getting sacked for 34 yards of losses. Eastern piled-up a season-high 573 yards of total offense as it had 417 passing and 156 rushing. Defensively, Eastern held Cal Poly to 343 yards of offense, including just two yards rushing.
Eagle-Cal Poly Connections
* Former Eagle Allen Brown is now an assistant coach for Cal Poly, coaching the team's cornerbacks. This week he will oppose Eastern wide receivers coach Nicholas Edwards, who is a former high school and college teammate of Brown's. They both graduated from Foss High School in Tacoma, Wash. (Edwards in 2008 and Brown in 2009) and played on EWU's National Championship team in 2010. Edwards was an All-America receiver and played from 2009-12, and Brown twice earned All-Big Sky Conference honors and played from 2010-13 as an EWU safety. Cal Poly assistant Eti Ena was also formerly an Eastern coach, and EWU cornerbacks coach Cherokee Valeria was formerly a coach at Cal Poly.
* Eastern has 16 players from California on its current roster. Co-starters at running back, Jabari Wilson (Carson/Orange Lutheran HS '12) and Jalen Moore (La Puente/Bishop Amat HS '12) are from Southern California, as is starting cornerback Rashad Wadood (Long Beach/Lakewood HS '11). Among the others from California are veteran wide receiver Shaq Hill (Stockton/Brookside Christian HS '11), punter Jordan Dascalo (Woodland Hills/Taft HS '13), backup tight end Terry Jackson II from Sacramento (Bella Vista HS '11) and twin brothers Simba and Nzuzi Webster (Antioch/Deer Valley HS).
* Seven starters missed the Sacramento State game because of injuries, a week after six starters and several other players missed the Montana State game on Sept. 19. One week earlier than that, four starters were missing from the Northern Iowa game. Starting right tackle Cassidy Curtis (foot) has missed the last three games, while his replacement, Jerrod Jones (knee/shin), missed the Montana State game. Curtis had surgery on his foot on Sept. 10 and is expected out until sometime in October. Running back Jalen Moore (ankle) and wide receiver Shaq Hill (knee) have also missed the last three games, and defensive end Jonah Jordan (ankle) and rover Todd Raynes (hamstring).have missed the last two. In addition, safety Mitch Fettig (shoulder), kicker Tyler McNannay (hip flexor) backup quarterback Reilly Hennessey (ankle) and backup running back Sam McPherson (ankle) were held out of the Sac State game. In the first half against Sac State, receiver Nic Sblendorio (shoulder), offensive tackle Clay DeBord (concussion) and cornerback Victor Gamboa (concussion) were injured and missed the second half. Entering the Cal Poly game, all of the previously injured players are questionable pending evaluation and observation this week, except for Curtis (doubtful), Blackburn (out), Hill (out after having surgery on Sept. 21).
* Previously, strong-side linebacker Jake Gall (hip pointer) missed the MSU game and safety Zach Bruce (shoulder) missed the contest at Northern Iowa. Reserve wide receiver Jalani Phelps (ankle) was also unavailable against MSU, and backup center Spencer Blackburn (thumb) is out for an indefinite time after getting injured in practices the week before EWU played MSU. Earlier this season, Cooper Kupp (hip pointer) and Hennessey missed significant playing time in the second half against UNI with injuries. The injuries also took away EWU's top kickoff returner (Hill) and punt returner (Kupp) from Eastern's arsenal against Northern Iowa, as well as the team's two holders on placekicks (Kupp and Hennessey
Career Starts by Returning Players
Defense (143 starts by 19 players): Miquiyah Zamora 26, Samson Ebukam 17, Matthew Sommer 17, Todd Raynes 16, Rashad Wadood 13, Victor Gamboa 14, Zach Bruce 5, Miles Weatheroy 5, Nzuzi Webster 4, Andre Lino 4, Jake Hoffman 4, Mitch Fettig 3, Keenan Williams 3, Alek Kacmarcik 3, Frank Cange 3, Cole Karstetter 2, Albert Havili 2, Jake Gall 1, Jonah Jordan 1.
Offense (209 starts by 19 players): Clay DeBord 45, Cooper Kupp 32, Thomas Gomez 18, Aaron Neary 17, Jake Withnell 15, Kendrick Bourne 12, Shaq Hill 12, Zach Wimberly 12, Cassidy Curtis 11, Jordan West 8, T.J. Boatright 7, Jabari Wilson 6, Terry Jackson II 4, Nic Sblendorio 4, Nick Ellison 2, Simba Webster 1, Jay Deines 1, Jerrod Jones 1, Conner Baumann 1 (as fullback).
Hall of Fame Day Notes
* With all the injuries the Eastern Washington University football team has endured already this season, it's fitting that Dean Adams will be inducted into the school's Hall of Fame this week. The former Eastern football/track and field standout and longtime University of Oregon athletic trainer will be among the seven individuals and one team honored when the 15th induction of the Eastern Athletics Hall of Fame takes place Oct. 10, 2015, in Cheney, Wash. Formerly from Manson, Wash., Adams was the runner-up in the triple jump at the NAIA Championships in 1966 and held the school record in that event for nine years. On the gridiron, he earned first team All-Evergreen Conference honors in 1964 as a cornerback and the following season was honored on the NAIA All-District 1 squad. He had a successful and honor-filled career as a Hall of Fame collegiate athletic trainer, including from 1980-2003 at Oregon.
* Basketball scoring and rebounding machines Randy Buss (1969-72) and Kathleen Nygaard-Kaut (2000-04) will be honored, as well as a trio of athletes from the 1960's. They include Adams, baseball player/contributor Gary Glasgow and gymnast/contributor Randy Carruthers. Buss and Nygaard-Kaut combined for 2,865 points and 1,603 rebounds during their careers at Eastern. Buss was a NAIA All-American and set five school records, including a scoring average of 25.2 points per game in the 1971-72 season. He scored 1,399 points and had 849 rebounds in three seasons at Eastern. Nygaard was a three-time All-Big Sky Conference first team selection (2002-03-04) and EWU's first-ever Kodak/WBCA All-America finalist as an All-Region 7 selection in 2004. She was also selected twice as a member of the Big Sky Conference's All-Tournament team (2003-04), and earned Academic All-America second team honors as a senior. She scored 1,466 points and had 754 rebounds in her four-year career. Carruthers was a three-time NAIA All-American in gymnastics, and won the NAIA Championship in the long horse vault in 1967. He helped Eastern finish fourth as a team in 1967 and third in 1968 before embarking on a coaching career in the sport. Glasgow earned All-Evergreen Conference honors all four years he played at Eastern (1965-66-67-68) and earned honorable mention NAIA All-America accolades. He went on to be a Hall of Fame coach at his alma mater -- nearby Medical Lake (Wash.) High School.
* Also, the 1966 baseball team will be inducted on the 40th anniversary of that's team's Evergreen Conference and NAIA District 1 titles under the direction of Hall of Fame head coach Ed Chissus. Glasgow played on that squad, as well as previous Eastern Athletics Hall of Fame inductee Bill Diedrick Jr., who was also an All-America football quarterback at Eastern and has since gone on to a highly-successful coaching career. Diedrick, Glasgow, Bill Goble, Ken Stacy, Paul Sterling and Rich Wharf will return on Oct. 10 to represent that team. Glasgow hit .345 for the 1966 baseball team, which finished 15-10 to set a single season record for victories, and also set a school record for runs with 142 (5.7 per game). As district champions, Eastern advanced to the NAIA Pacific Coast Playoffs where its season came to a close with a narrow, 3-2 loss to Linfield, which would go on to win the national title.
* In addition, Ruth Van Kuren and her late husband Lawson Van Kuren will be recognized for their 40 years of involvement with track and field, including 30 years as Eastern officials. They will be the recipients of the Eastern Hall of Fame Service and Contribution Award.
* The induction breakfast and ceremony will start at 8:30 a.m. on Oct. 10 at the Pence Union Building. The public is invited to attend and the cost is $20 per person. Guests must register via a link available at http://www.goeags.com/hallfame/hallfame. Inductees will also be honored at halftime of EWU's football game against Cal Poly later that day (kickoff is at 1:05 p.m.), as well as Eastern's volleyball game that evening against Portland State at 6 p.m.
* Established in 1996, this year's inductees will bring the total number of individuals in the Hall of Fame to 74 and teams to 13. There are also currently 14 recipients of the Eastern Athletics Hall of Fame Service and Contribution Award. All of the inductees and induction classes may be viewed at: http://www.goeags.com/hallfame/hallfame.