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Eastern Washington football will have 4 games on Root

In an announcement that Eastern Washington athletic director Bill Chaves said “speaks volumes about where the program is headed on a national basis,” DirectTV said Tuesday that it will broadcast four Eagle football games this fall on its Root Sports network.

That’s the same number as last year and two more than in 2012, when the Big Sky Conference and DirectTV agreed to a multi-year partnership. This year, three of those games will be on the road.

Eastern opens the schedule Sept. 20 with a special nonconference game at Montana State. Also on the slate is an Oct. 25 game at Northern Arizona – EWU’s first meeting with the Lumberjacks since 2011 – a home game on Nov. 8 against Montana and the regular-season finale under the lights at Portland State on Friday, Nov. 21.

Chaves said the schedule reflects Root’s determination to “air matchups that will garner ratings, and having the success we’ve had in recent years, has played a part.”

The PSU game was changed when the Vikings, facing a scheduling conflict, asked the Eagles to move the game ahead. That was simple, since Eastern has a bye on Nov. 15.

After that was settled, “Root saw that as an attraction,” Chaves said.

In all, Root will televise 11 Big Sky games. Eastern and Montana will appear four times each and Montana State three times.

“We have been extremely pleased with our partnership with the Big Sky Conference and its member schools, and look forward to what is shaping up to be an exciting 2014 season,” said Patrick Crumb, president of DIRECTV Sports Networks.

“The addition of BSC football to our network over the past two years has significantly enhanced our collegiate programming,” Crumb said.

All 11 Big Sky Conference football games will be produced and televised in high-definition, with many of the games available in both the Northwest and Rocky Mountain Regions.