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Eastern football links

The way the Eastern Washington players and coaches were talking Tuesday, you wouldn't know the Eagle were coming off a three-touchdown win last weekend. Up next: Montana Western, an NAIA school, and here's the early scoop from EWU and also from Montana Western. … One UW player offers an interesting blend of culture, as this Seattle Times story  explains. The Tacoma News Tribune profiles Husky defensive back Budda Baker. … Montana has a big opener Saturday at Wyoming.

Eastern and Big Sky links

Game day is almost here, and I'm as excited as anyone. I love my job, especially when I have a chance to write feature stories on Eastern players. Ever wonder what it's like to be Vernon Adams? This morning's story offers a glimpse behind the helmet. … We had a great live chat yesterday, and here is the full transcript. … Want all the details on Saturday's EWU-Sam Houston State game? Eastern has it all right here. … The Eagles are also hosting a kickoff celebration tonight in downtown Spokane. I'll be there, but not until I interview a certain national sports radio personality (and EWU alum) who's flying into town this afternoon - look for that tomorrow, along with my game preview. Did I mention that I love this job? … Elsewhere, Montana Western has updated its football home page, but that's all for now. … The Washington Huskies get a tad more media coverage, including this Seattle Times story on the Husky freshmen. … Montana State names a kicker and punter - and it's the same guy.

Eastern football links

Warmup question: You really know it's football season when …..? For me, it's today, when we publish our annual college section. This year, it's devoted to the players and coaches who put so much into the game. At Eastern, we chose defensive lineman Dylan Zylstra, who also is on the cover. I also have a quick look at some talking points for the upcoming Eagle season. Speaking of talking points, we'll have our weekly live chat today at noon, right here on Sportslink.  In the daily section, a feature on new Sam Houston (and former Delaware) coach K.C. Keeler. Also, the Eagles will be sporting new uniforms on Saturday. … From the SHSU web site, everything you want to know about the Bearkats. … Next week's Eagle opponent, Montana Western, is a member of the NAIA Frontier Conference, which has some useful info. … Washington needs to improve its pass protection, according to this story in the Seattle Times. The Huskies have some new faces on special teams, says this article in the Tacoma News Tribune. … Montana State coach Rob Ash isn't overly concerned about his banged-up secondary. …The Montana tight ends are finding their role.

Eastern football links

The Eastern Washington cornerbacks might face their toughest test of the season this morning at Roos Field. Here's my story on a talented by inexperienced group, along with a look at the entire EWU defense, courtesy of sports information director Dave Cook. …  Nothing new out of Sam Houston State, but here's the Bearkats' home page. …  UW coach Chris Petersen is trying to make the program friendlier, according to this story in the Seattle Times. … The Tacoma News Tribune has a blog on the Huskies. … Past struggles have made some Montana State players better, according to this story in the Bozeman Daily Chronicle, which also previews today's MSU scrimmage.

Eastern football links

As the Eastern Washington football players chase their dreams, former Eagle running back Demitrius Bronson may just realize his dream of playing in the NFL. … Back in Cheney, a quintet of quarterbacks all dream of seeing the field at one point or another. … Speaking of Eastern football, we did just that Thursday in our first live chat of the season, and here's the full transcript. … Want more EWU football news? Here's a look at the defense, courtesy of Dave Cook of EWU Sports Information. …Nothing new today out of Sam Houston State, so you'll have to settle for the SHSU home page. … Montana Western will have a scrimmage on Friday. … Slightly off-topic, Christian Caple of the Tacoma News Tribune has a story on the demise of EA Sports' college football game. … There's a battle for backup QB at Idaho State. … It's been a an ugly week off the field at Cal Poly.

Eastern and opponent links

Is it really just nine days till the Eastern football opener, which by the way is sold out? No matter, the Eagles' defensive line is ready, partly because of some grizzled veterans who are all of 19 years old. … Also here's an overall look at the team from Dave Cook of the EWU athletic department… And don't forget about today's live chat at spokesman.com/sportslink. … The hometown Huntsville Item offers a comprehensive look at Sam Houston State , which is giving fans an interesting way to follow the team. …How young is the Montana Western coaching staff? Here they are. … The UW linebacking corps looks especially strong, according to this story in the Seattle Times, and a former Husky head coach was in court this week.. … The Tacoma News Tribune has a feature on Husky receiver John Ross. … Montana State has a pleasant problem: a crowded backfield, and a not-so-pleasant problem at kicker.

Eastern and opponent links for Wednesday

How good can this year's Eastern wide receiver corps be? Read my story and find out. … as always, here is the Montana Western football home page (until something else shows up). … Marcus Peters is the leader of the UW secondary, according to this story in the Seattle Times. … The Tacoma New Tribune offers an assessment of the Husky defensive line. … Montana State has found another standout middle linebacker, says the Bozeman Daily Chronicle, which also offers this blog post on the Bobcats. … An old name is back in the fold at UC Davis. … Here's a feature on the Idaho State D-line coach, courtesy of the Idaho State Journal. … A Missoula kid is making the most of his opportunity as a wide receiver at Montana.

Eastern and Big Sky links

There was a lot to like about the Eagles' first scrimmage, coach Beau Baldwin said, but things got sloppy at the end. Here's my story from Monday's practice, along with a report from the school's web site. Also in today's paper, a look at some scheduling coups of late by Eastern… Meanwhile, Sam Houston State has canceled its final scrimmage. … Still no football news out of Dillon, Mont., but here's the Montana Western web site. … Ticket sales are brisk at Husky Stadium, where former running back Kendyl Taylor hopes to find playing time this year as a wide receiver. … Sports Illustrated has a profile of new Husky coach Chris Petersen. … A former walk-on is in the mix at receiver for Montana State. … UC Davis' web site is running an interesting football blog - have a look. … Highlights from Idaho State's scrimmage, plus an interview with Bengal coach Mike Kramer. … One of Montana's kickers is coming back from adversity.

Eastern and Big Sky links

The season is still two weeks away, but Friday was still a big day for Eastern Washington football fans. First, the Eagles were ranked No.1 in the FCS in The Sports Network media poll, and the school announced a two-year home-and-home with North Dakota State. Read about both in my story and also in the releases from Eastern on the poll and the N.D. State series. … On the field, All-American receiver Cooper Kupp may be busier than ever this season. … Sam Houston State also is ranked in the media poll. … I'm still looking for news on Montana Western (EWU's opponent) on Aug. 30 - no luck, but here's the team page. … On the other hand, there's plenty of news on the University of Washington, both from the Seattle Times and the Tacoma News Tribune. … Montana State has some questions at defensive end, according to this story in the Bozeman Daily Chronicle. … Spokane product Chase Naccarato is poised for a big year, according to the Missoulian.

Eastern, North Dakota State to play in 2016, 2017

After four years, the two most successful teams in the Football Championship Subdivision are guaranteed to meet again.

Eastern Washington and North Dakota State – the only NCAA Football Championship Subdivision teams to win a national title since 2009 – will play a home-and-home series with each other starting in 2016, the two schools mutually announced Friday.

The Bison and Eagles will play in Fargo on Sept. 10, 2016, then play at "The Inferno" in Cheney, Wash., on Sept. 16, 2017. Eastern won the 2010 title, including an overtime victory over the Bison in the quarterfinals, but NDSU has won every playoff game since en route to titles in 2011, 2012 and 2013.

Eastern No. 1 in FCS media poll

For the fourth time in five seasons, Eastern Washington is the top team in the Football Championship Subdivision media poll.

On Friday, the Eagles -12-3 last year - were picked No. 1 by The Sports Network in the FCS preseason poll of sportswriters, broadcasters and sports information directors.

Eastern finished the 2010 season No. 1 and as NCAA Division I champion. Eastern also was ranked No. 1 during the 2011 and 2012 seasons.

Eastern and Big Sky links

So how is the EWU offensive line shaping up this fall? That depends on whom you ask. Here's my story, plus a link to the Eastern football site and the one at Sam Houston State. … The Washington Huskies need a running back to step up , according to a Seattle Times story…. The Huskies also could see some young faces in the secondary, according to this story in the Tacoma News Tribune. … Montana State has lost a key member of its offensive line …Montana linebacker Jeremiah Kose is poised for a big year, he hopes.

Eastern and Big Sky links

What a  difference  a year makes. In this case its the Eastern Washington linebacking corps, which looks to be one of the strongest units on the squad this year… I also spent some time with the Eagle basketball team on Wednesday, and here's an early, early look at the team. … Back to football: In case you didn't know, Sam Houston State has anew coach; here's a profile of K.C. Keeler. … Here's a look at the Montana Western coaching staff. …In a Seattle Times story, Washington QB Cyler Miles admits to some mistakes that led to his upcoming one-game suspension. … Montana State has some decisions to make on the offensive line, according to this story in the Bozeman Chronicle. … Montana wide receiver Jamaal Jones will command a lot of attention this year. …There's a quiet confidence at Idaho State as fall camp opens

Eastern and Big Sky links

Here are a few links to start your morning. First, there's my story on an Eastern running back corps that could be one of the best ever. … Sam Houston State already has a week of practice under its belt, while Western Montana has yet to begin. … Look out, EWU secondary: Husky WR Kasen Williams said he's healthy and focused…. That's funny, Montana safety Matt Hermanson said the same thing to the Missoulian. I'd do more, but I need to catch an EWU basketball session (that's right, basketball, then some football).

Eastern and Big Sky links

With the Eastern Washington football season barely two weeks away, it's time to start my (almost) daily EWU/opponents/Big Sky links column. Here goes:

First off, here's my story from Monday's practice, focusing on the kickers, specifically the feel-good story of Roldan Alcobendas. I also have a short story in the first FCS coaches poll, which offers a mild surprise at the top. … Meanwhile, Sam Houston State held its first scrimmage, and the results weren't pretty, according to this story in the Huntsville (Texas) Item. Even the school's official web site doesn't try to sugarcoat the results. … There's not much football news out of Western Montana (EWU's opponent on Aug. 30), but here's a link  to the school's football web site. … The Eagles play Sept. 6 at Washington, which opened camp Monday. Here's a report from the Seattle Time and another from the Tacoma News Tribune. … Montana State also opened camp Monday, and the Bozeman Daily Chronicle was there. … Montana opens camp today, and the Missoulian has this preview.

Eastern No. 2 in first FCS coaches poll

Eastern Washington is ranked second behind North Dakota State in the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision Coaches Poll, the NCAA announced Monday.

The other major poll – The Sports Network Top 25 – is set to be released on Friday.

The Eagles, who won the 2010 FCS title, received 615 points and six first-place votes in rankings. The Eagles finished third a year ago in the final coaches poll after finishing 12-3 and advancing to the semifinals of the FCS Playoffs for the second-straight season.

No. 1 Eastern opens fall camp

Eastern Washington offensive line coach Aaron Best offers pointers during the Eagles' opening football practice Thursday morning.

EWU sets 2017 game at Texas Tech

In a repeat engagement of Beau Baldwin’s head coaching debut at Eastern Washington, the Eagles will play at Texas Tech on Sept. 2, 2017, the school announced Tuesday afternoon.

The game will come nine years after the Eagles lost to 49-24 in Lubbock, Texas, to current Washington State coach Mike Leach. The Eagles finished 6-5 that season, while Texas Tech finished 11-2 and shared the Big 12 title with Oklahoma and Texas.

Eastern now has games against FBS foes scheduled for every year through 2019. The Eagles will play at Washington on Sept. 6, in just the second meeting with the Huskies, then will return to Seattle on Aug. 31, 2019.

Next season, Eastern will play at Oregon on Sept. 5, 2015, in the first meeting between those two schools. The Eagles also have scheduled games against Washington State for Sept. 3, 2016 and Sept. 15, 2018.

Including a season-opening 20-3 win at Idaho in 2012 and a 33-21 loss at Toledo in 2013, Eastern is now 9-22 all-time against FBS teams.

WSU to host Eastern in 2018

From Pullman — Washington State announced on Wednesday that the school will host the Eastern Washington football team for a game on Sept. 15, 2018. The release from the school is below.

Eastern linebacker Hamlin gets sixth year of eligibility

The NCAA has granted Eastern Washington linebacker Ronnie Hamlin a sixth year of eligibility, the school announced Tuesday afternoon.

Hamlin, whose 361 tackles rank third in school history, was given the extra year because he missed the 2009 and 2010 seasons with an ACL injury.

Hamlin, a team captain last year, was an all-Big Sky Conference performer last season with 140 total tackles.



‘FCS Kickoff’ will start in Cheney

In the earliest opening to the college football season in 11 years, Eastern Washington will host Sam Houston State on Aug. 23 in the "FCS Kickoff."

The Eagles and Bearkats will kick off at 12:30 PDT at Roos Field, ESPN announced Thursday morning.

"We saw the opportunity, saw the need and desire from a programming perspective, and we feel like we can get a significant audience for this game," said Brent Colborne, ESPN's Director of Programming for NCAA championships.

"Come August 23, right before Labor Day, people are starving for college football. People are ready for football. This is a really cool opportunity to serve those fans."



Eastern playoff links

The first thing I did this morning was look out the window - no snow on the South Hill since Friday evening. That's just one of many factors that could play into today's semifinal between Eastern Washington and Towson. The winner will play North Dakota State - an easy winner Friday night over New Hampshire - in the FCS title game on Jan. 4. … Don't know enough about today's game? There's plenty of info from Eastern and from Towson, and the Baltimore Sun.

Eastern sports chat replay

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.


Eastern and Big Sky links

Eastern Washington is running the ball with authority - and with the authority of head coach Beau Baldwin, whose tailback-by-committee approach is paying big dividends in the playoffs. The biggest beneficiary is tailback Quincy Forte, who appreciates what his teammates have done.

More links after the jump …

Eastern and Big Sky links

The honors keep rolling in for the Eagles, especially for freshman wide receiver Cooper Kupp, who was named a first-team All-American.  Here's a video of Cooper Kupp, and we also have an overall story from The Sports Network … Of course, Towson running back Terrance West is no slouch either. … From Maryland, here's a feature on Towson All-American offensive lineman Eric Pike. … Towson held a special graduation ceremony Wednesday night.

Kupp named first-team All-American

It’s been a freshman year to remember for Eastern Washington wide receiver Cooper Kupp.

Just two days after winning the Jerry Rice Award as the top freshman in the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision, Kupp was named to The Sports Network All-America first team on Wednesday.

Eastern and Big Sky links

I learned a lot about Vernon Adams and Cooper Kupp this week, mostly that they really mean it when they say that individual honors come after team. On Tuesday before practice, I spoke with Adams about his second-place finish in the Walter Payton Award balloting, and reminded him that as a sophomore, he would have two more chances.

That's right, he said. "I still have two more chances. If we win these next two games, we'll be national champs." Wow.

See links after the jump….

Eastern and Big Sky links

Another year, another big award for Eastern Washington football. On Monday night, wide receiver Cooper Kupp took center stage by winning the Jerry Rice Award for top FCS freshman, while quarterback Vernon Adams finished second in the Walter Payton Award balloting. A bigger prize would be a spot in the title game, but Towson stands in the way. … Another Big Sky Conference player took home one of the big prizes Monday night, and the conference also has a roundup of the awards.

Kupp is FCS freshman of the year

Eastern Washington wide receiver Cooper Kupp has won the Jerry Rice Award given to the top freshman in the Football Championshp Subdivision, The Sports Network announced this morning.

The award will be presented later today at The Sports Network's FCS Awards Banquet and Presentation in Philadelphia. The winners of the Walter Payton Award (FCS outstanding player), Buck Buchanan Award (FCS outstanding defensive player) and Eddie Robinson Award (FCS coach of the year) also will be awarded.