Montana Week is officially on for Eastern Washington University, which will dedicate its new artificial red turf and officially change the name of its home football venue to Roos Field on Saturday, when the Grizzlies come to Cheney to open Big Sky Conference football play.
UM, which was ranked No. 1 among Football Championship Subdivision schools prior to suffering a 35-33 road loss to Cal Poly on Saturday, will probably come in a bit angry -- seeing red, perhaps -- which should make for another interesting renewal of what has become the BSC's most competitive rivalry.
I've included links to Big Sky-related items below, along with some additional thoughts and comments from Eastern's 35-32 win over Central Washington at Qwest Field in Seattle last night.
For openers, I've included this link to the EWU-CWU game story that ran in Sunday's S-R. You can also check out this link to the Big Sky roundup supplied by the league's office, and this link to the Montana-Cal Poly game story that appeared in The Missoulian on Sunday.
Getting back to Eastern's win over Central, it has been duly noted that Eagles did not play their best against the Division II Wildcats.But there was still no lack of praise for CWU's effort among Eastern's players.
"Long game," said Eagles defensive end Tyler Jolley, who batted away a fourth-down Central pass late in the game to preserve the win. "It was a dogfight for us inside. They played awesome. They came out and played football.
"My senior class was watching when they beat us (21-14 in Cheney) in '06, so we knew from the get-go that they were going to come out swinging, and that they were going to fight to the end, which is exactly what they did -- right down to that last play."
Central actually gained 42 more yards than the Eagles (352-311), and despite racking up another 235 all-purpose yards and scoring three touchdowns, junior tailback Taiwan Jones shouldered much of the blame for Eastern's offensive inconsistencies.
"As a whole, I thought the offense played pretty good," Jones said, "but I felt like I made a lot of errors and left a lot of plays out there. There were some holes that I should have hit and I just think (Central) capitalizedon some of my mistakes."
The game started with junior Nick Gauthier at quarterback for the Eagles. That move was prompted by head coach Beau Baldwin's decision to discipline starter Bo Levi Mitchell for being last for a team meeting.
"I was completley my fault -- a miscommunication on time," explained Mitchell, who took over after EWU's first offensive series and played the rest of the game. "So, you just accept the punishment and getit out of the way."
An EWU official confirmed that Mitchell's backup, redshirt freshman Anthony Vitto, was late for the same meeting, which is why Gauthier, who was listed as the No. 3 quarterback on the Eagles' depth chart, got the start.
That's all for now, but check back later in the week for more links info about next Saturday's soldout showdown between the Grizzlies and Eagles that kicks off at 4:05 p.m.