MONTGOMERY, Texas – One thing for sure: the Eastern Washington football players have a lot of sweat equity in today’s game at Sam Houston State.
Leaving behind a 45-degree morning in Cheney, the Eagles practiced Friday evening under the lights of a Texas High School stadium that seemed almost as big as Roos Field. Temperatures were down only a few degrees from the daytime high of 95 in the Houston area. But as they say, it’s not the heat, it’s the humidity.
Both will be intense for today’s 2 p.m. kickoff (noon PDT) at 12,986-seat Bowers Stadium.
To that end, the second-ranked Eagles are fully hydrated for today’s game against No. 4 Sam Houston State up the road in Hunstville. They’re also fully motivated after last year’s 45-45 semifinal loss the Bearkats in the FCS playoffs.
“I’m always thinking about it,” Eastern linebacker Ronnie Hamlin said Friday night after practice. “Everyone always has that on their conscience.”
As far as the heat and humidity, head coach Beau Baldwin said, “We’ve been in hot weather, humid conditions, elevation, before. It shouldn’t be a factor.”
Likewise, injuries shouldn’t be an issue. Running back Jabari Wilson (shoulder) will not play, and offensive tackler Jake Rodgers (knee sprain) and Jabari Wilson (shoulder) are both listed as questionable.
The keys today:
- Can Eastern get off to a decent start – at least better than last year’s 35-0 debacle against a Sam Houston State offense that Baldwin describes as “a machine”? Baldwin said the option scheme is “very unique, and they run it very well.”
- Working against a green secondary, can quarterback Vernon Adams and the offense rebound from a mediocre performance in the 33-21 loss at Toledo?