Here is the full transcript of our live chat from Thursday. Spokesman-Review beat writer Jim Allen is answering questions:
Jim: Let's talk Eastern sports!
Ryan_31088: Ok, I'll ask the first question. What's the health situation for both teams?
Jim: Hello, Ryan. Eastern is healthy, apart from safety Tevin McDonald. The same for Towson, but they lost their two top receivers a few weeks ago.
Guest669 (guest): Looks to me like this is going to be a very tough game?
Jim: For sure. Terrance West is the best running back in FCS, powerful but also capable of breaking a long one.
Jim: I'm guessing Eastern will sell out to stop him, much like they did against South Dakota State.
Ryan_31088: Maybe it was just because the game was played in snow, but Towson's QB looked awful against Eastern Illinois. I'm sure you've seen more film than any of us. Was that a fluke?
Jim: I've watched only a few clips myself. But he looks more like a game manager, and certainly not the running threat posed by Eli Jenkins of Jacksonville State. And his receivers are inexperienced. Eastern players were polite when I asked what they saw on film. "He's all right," was the standard response.
Jim: He looked better in decent weather, I can't remember which game now ...
Jim: And that's another issue: Eastern should be hoping for decent weather, at least with no precip. Adams hasn't played this year in precip, rain or snow. The last time he did, he was 3 and out in a downpour a more than a year ago at Portland State.
Ryan_31088: Because their QB doesn't run, I'm not as worried for West as I was for the Sam Houston State running attack. Is that a misjudgment on my part?
Jim: I think you're right. But Towson has a strong o-line with an All-American tackle in Eric Pike. Hats to the ball, as they say!
Jim: I also don't see a lot of wrinkles, such as the Wildcat run by SHSU and Jax State.
Ryan_31088: I guess it's just us in here today. In your opinion, does New Hampshire have any realistic chance against North Dakota State?
Jim: Yeah, don't be shy out there.
Jim: I can't imagine New Hampshire (an at-large team) going into the Fargo Dome and pulling the upset on what will be a VERY emotional night. This will be the last home game for an incredible senior class, as well as for head coach Craig Bohl.
Ryan_31088: Yeah. Like you've said before, I think they can play well against a predictable offense.
Jim: Powerhouse, but predictable.
Guest669 (guest): I thought the o-line was very good. Looks to me like smash mouth football for them and the EAGS just scoring like Mt State game and make a stop.
Jim: I see this as shaping up more like South Dakota State, focusing on the RB and taking chances in the passing game.
Jim: In that game, SD State did well with crossing patterns as the LBs moved up to stop the run. Anyone agree?
Guest669 (guest): How are the big boys upfront Palu and Kota?
Jim: After some ups and downs, Pulu and Katoa are healthy. That's partly because the Eagles rotate so many d-linemen (up to 12 a game). The payoff comes in the layoffs.
Ryan_31088: Is Baines still feeling concussed?
Jim: Nope. That happened against South Dakota State. In fact, he told me after the game that he was fine. And he played like it last week against Jax State.
Jim: So, Ryan_31088, tell us about yourself. How long have you followed the Eagles?
Jim: You'd better answer, or I will launch into a diatribe on the evils of free agency, pit bulls and the lack of free parking in downtown Spokane ...
Ryan_31088: Since I started going to Eastern in 2006. I graduated in 2010 (the year before the red turf) and am living out of state. I definitely miss Saturdays in Cheney.
Jim: Thanks. These are good times to be an Eagle fan, that's for sure.
Joemon (guest): I'm a little late to the chat but how do you see our Dline matching with their Oline? They seemed pretty good vs EIU who I thought would roll over towsen
Jim: Yeah, I'm a bit concerned, but the Eagle D-line seems to get strong as games go on, thanks to the rotation
Ryan_31088: Switching gears just a little bit, do you follow recruiting very closely?
Jim: A little bit. I was looking this morning at the EWU verbals that have come in so far.
Guest669 (guest): any Idea of ticket sales? Need to support, so bring a buddy
Jim: Ticket sales are up, about 5,500 as of Wednesday afternoon. Plus, Washington Trust bought 2K tickets, which Eastern distributed to area high schools, That should energize the crowd.
Ryan_31088: How's the class shaping up? I saw that we picked up Karstetter's little brother.
Jim: Actually, he's not on the verbals list, but I've heard that too. I try not to make too many assumptions before LOI day.
Ryan_31088: Is that 2k on top of the 5500, or part of the 5500?
Jim: Part of.
Jim: I think attendance will be strong on Saturday, roughly 7,500-8K.
Ryan_31088: Well, hopefully they all show up. It's too bad this game is happening during break.
Jim: Actually, I have a story for tomorrow that analyzes the reasons for the slump last week.
Jim: This chat is reminding me of yesterday's Big Sky Conference media teleconference. Participants were Baldwin, Hamlin, Big Sky SID Jon Kasper .. and me. That was it, unfortunately.
Ryan_31088: So Jim, what's your background? Are you and Eastern guy as well?
Jim: Not exactly. My son is a sophomore at Eastern. I've lived here for 29 years, but grew up in Portland. I's a Duck.
Jim: I'M a Duck, that is.
Jim: In case you didn't know it, Eastern will open the 2015 season at Oregon.
Ryan_31088: Oh ok. That's a fun program as well.
Jim: Yes it is. I had season tickets for many years .. great fun.
Ryan_31088: I did know that. Should be interesting.
Joemon (guest): The oregon game will be interesting, I think we can score but stopping them might not be fun
Jim: Adams will be a senior and Kupp a junior by then. How good will they be by then, I wonder.
Ryan_31088: I actually think that with Price and (likely) Sankey gone next year, we can beat UW.
Jim: Agreed, although UW will have a stout defense.
Jim: It's funny, Ryan, I was thinking that when the Huskies hired Petersen: his first game in purple will be against the Eagles.
srchat: Eagle fans figure they should have won in 2011.
Guest669 (guest): O.k. got go, Score?
Jim: I will go ahead now and jinx the Eagles ...
Jim: Eastern will do what they did against South Dakota State, pulling away to win by a score of ...
Ryan_31088: I like Petersen so much more than Sarkisian. I think they really won that one.
Jim: Agreed. Sark was only 34-29 in five years at UW, and Willingham didn't leave the cupboard as bare as Sark has suggested.
Guest109 (guest): I am joining late; what is the key for Eastern to win this week? One key
Jim: Take care of the ball!
Ryan_31088: I like that prediction.
Jim: OK, 12 minutes to go, then I have to put the finishing touches on my Quincy Forte feature.
Jim: Speaking of which, how surprising is the running game?
Ryan_31088: It's great, nice to not be one dimensional.
Jim: That's a rhetorical question; folks shouldn't be surprised that Baldwin has made this happen. Of course, having a mobile QB makes everyone better.
Guest109 (guest): Very nice addition. That must really complicate the prep for the opposition. Preparing for VA and now a running game
Guest109 (guest): What is the status of injuries to the DB's? Will any of them be making it back any time soon?
Jim: They're all back, except for McDonald.
Ryan_31088: If we win, is McDonald close enough to be ready by Frisco?
Jim: Can't answer that one. I will check next week.
Guest109 (guest): Going to be a good game Saturday. Hopefully there will be a strong crowd showing.
Jim: Yes, I'm expecting about 7.5-8K. Cold weather, overcast but no precip. And no excuses, unless you've put off Christmas shopping.
Ryan_31088: Since this chat is about all Eastern sports, how do you think the basketball program is progressing under Coach Hayford?
Jim: I've seen three games so far, and I think they'll be fine in Big Sky play and will reach the postseason tournament. New point guard Drew Brandon is a good addition and Venky Jois is a force inside.
Jim: On the other hand, they have some depth issues at forward - everywhere, really - and need to do better at the line.
Ryan_31088: I hope so. I just saw Southern Utah play last night, and if that's any indication of the level of the Big Sky this year, Eastern can make some noise.
Jim: I predict a middle-of-the-pack finish and a spot in the BSC tournament. I think Hayford is a good coach, on and off the court.
Ryan_31088: Great. I have to head out. Thanks for the answers and time.
Guest109 (guest): Thanks Jim--go Eagles
Jim: Thanks,Ryan, and everyone else, for chatting!