It is safe to say Cal State Northridge quarterback Aaron Flowers is a late bloomer.
Three seasons after being knocked out of a game against Eastern Washington, Flowers paid the Eagles back.
And he did it with interest by passing for 500 yards and five touchdowns in the Matadors’ 49-27 victory at North Campus Stadium on Saturday night.
Flowers, who played against Eastern Washington when he was a freshman at Utah State, broke the Cal State Northridge passing record for yards in a game for the second time in three weeks.
Eastern Washington ends its season at 6-5, 3-4 in the Big Sky Conference.
Eastern coach Mike Kramer said the Eagles’ failure to play solid defense cost his team.
“When receivers are running down the field uncovered and untested, (Flowers) is going to get some passing yards.
“We didn’t challenge in the secondary,” Kramer said, “and with our defense that’s a bad sign.”
Cal State Northridge jumped on Eastern Washington early, when Aaron Arnold hauled in a 48-yard touchdown pass from Flowers.
The Matadors were driving again when Flowers was blindsided by Jimmy Lake at the Eagles 19.
Flowers fumbled and EWU’s Steve Mattson recovered, running for a 74-yard touchdown as time expired in the first quarter.
Eastern Washington got another break at the end of the half.
Steve Correra caught a 55-yard Hail Mary pass from Griffin Garske as time expired. But Josh Atwood’s conversion kick sailed wide left and EWU trailed 28-27 at halftime.
In the second half, Cal State Northridge (7-4, 4-3) put the screws to Eastern Washington.
Arnold caught his second touchdown of the night, a 5-yarder, just 1:30 into the third.
Arnold, a freshman playing in place of injured David Romines, had six catches for 109 yards.
Flowers scored a touchdown on a 1-yard run to make the score 42-27.
But the junior-college transfer from Los Angeles Valley wasn’t done. Flowers threw this fifth touchdown pass of the game when he hit Cameron Perry from 11 yards.
And it could have been worse.
Flowers had touchdown passes of 41 and 19 yards called back because of holding penalties.
While Northridge was busy amassing yards, Eastern Washington’s offense struggled.
The Eagles failed to get a first down until late in the third quarter, and that came courtesy of a roughing-the-passer penalty on Northridge.
Northridge finished with 595 yards of offense and Eastern Washington had 298.
Flowers’ performance was the most yards allowed passing by Eastern Washington since its game against Montana earlier this season. The Grizzlies gained 561 yards.
The 22-point loss was the worst defeat for Eastern Washington this year. In three previous Big Sky Conference defeats, Eastern Washington had lost by a combined nine points.
Garske finished with 233 yards on 17 of 38 attempts, with three touchdowns. He his scoring passes were 45, 6 and 55 yards.
Eastern’s Maurice Perigo suffered a broken jaw when Northridge’s Steve Standifer laid a vicious hit on him while returning a second-quarter punt.
Standifer received a 15-yard penalty on the play and angered many of the Eagles.
“It was a total obscene and vulgar hit,” Kramer said. “But its part of football. You can’t arrest someone for it.”
CS Northridge 49, E. Washington 27
E. Washington 7 20 0 0 - 27
CS Northridge 7 21 21 0 - 49
CSNArnold 48 pass from Flowers (Marquez kick) EWUMattson 70 fumble recovery (Atwood kick) CSNClarke 8 run (Marquez kick) CSNHenry 35 pass from Flowers (Marquez kick) EWUJackson 45 pass from Garske (Atwood kick) EWUT.Kneevelsrud 6 pass from Garske (Atwood kick) CSNGreninger 21 pass from Flowers (Marquez kick) EWUCorrea 55 pass from Garske (kick failed) CSNArnold 5 pass from Flowers (Marquez kick) CSNFlowers 1 run (Marquez kick) CSNPerry 11 pass from Flowers (Marquez kick) A-3,108.
EWU CSN First downs 16 23 Rushes-yards 28-470 39-77 Passing 233 518 Comp-Att-Int 17-40-2 32-51-1 Return Yards 98 60 Punts-Avg. 9-32.3 7-39.0 Fumbles-Lost 1-1 2-1 Penalties-Yards 9-55 10-115 Time of Possession 24:00 36:00
RUSHINGEWU, Prescott 15-52, Sewell 5-18, Lake 1-4, MacKenzie 1-0, Garske 6-(minus 27). CSN, Clarke 16-58, Marsalek 5-17, Thomas 9-4, Brown 1-2, Flowers 8-(minus 4).
PASSINGEWU, Garske 17-38-233-1, Bond 0-2-0-1. CSN, Flowers 30-48-500-0, Brown 2-3-0-1.
RECEIVINGEWU, Miller 4-37, Sewell 3-29, Kneevelsrud 3-23, Correa 2-65, Jackson 2-60, Prescott 2-10, Mitchell 1-9. CSN, Henry 11-212, Perry 9-78, Arnold 6-109, Hilton 3-86, Greninger 2-33, Clarke 1-0.
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