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Eastern and Big Sky links

Hard work has paid off for Eastern Washington cornerback Ronald Baines, the subject of my feature story that ran today. We also had a live chat on Thursday, and here's a partial transcript (look for the full transcript later today.) … The Eagles travel today to face Idaho State; here's a link to the official Eastern site. Montana State is at Northern Colorado this week in ROOT- televised game; here's a preview from MSU …. Standing room spots will go on sale next week for the Montana-MSU game. … Montana is looking for more consistency on offense. … A pair of struggling teams, Weber and PSU, meet Saturday in Portland.

Eastern and Big Sky links

Sorry this is so late, but I had to catch up on sleep after two straight nights of high school district soccer. I also wrote an Eastern and Big Sky notebook, and I'm looking forward today's live chat at noon on Eastern football. I also have two more features coming up in the next two days, so keep watching. … Eastern's next opponent, Idaho State, is looking to improve its offensive focus, according to this story in the Idaho State Journal. … The Billings Gazette has a feature on MSU defensive end Brad Daly, who had some big shoes to fill this season. …… Injury may force another quarterback change at Cal Poly. … No football news out of Flagstaff, but the NAU basketball team just lost an exhibition game to a team called Arizona Christian.

Eastern and Big Sky links

The Eastern Washington football team is making some adjustments in the secondary. Here's my story from Tuesday's practice, along with previews of Saturday's game from EWU and from ISU. The Idaho State Journal has a recap of the Bengals' narrow last week to Southern Utah. The school has a feature on current ISU (and former EWU) coach Mike Kramer. … Montana is trying to regroup after last week's loss to Eastern. … After two straight losses, Cal Poly needs a win to stay in the play off hunt.

Eastern and Big Sky links

MISSOULA - I'll admit it: I'm jealous.I just walked to the hotel lobby and picked up the local newspaper - in this case the Missoulian. Tucked inside is a 24-page special tabloid section devoted solely to today's big Eastern Washington-Montana game. Sure, I wrote this story from Friday's Eastern walk-through, but that's nothing compared with the local product. Sure, this town is all-Montana, all the time, but I'm impressed. Here's a link to all the stories in the Missoulian section. The Great Falls Tribune weighs in with this feature on Eagle QB Vernon Adams, and the Billings Gazette has a game preview.

Eastern and Big Sky links

Here's my feature story on the comeback by Montana quarterback Jordan Johnson, and in case you missed it, the Eagles' preparation for playing at Montana. … We can discuss that and more in today's live chat, starting at noon here at SportsLink.  Want more on Saturday's game? Here's the official release from Eastern and from Montana, plus a feature on Eastern QB Vernon Adams, written by the Missoulian.

Eastern faces Southern Utah in sold-out Homecoming game

Unlike their fans, football coaches don’t dwell on the past. There’s just no time.

Last year, Eastern Washington was toppled from the top spot in the FCS rankings by an upset loss to  struggling Southern Utah. It stung at the time, but that was 12 months ago.

 “That team is gone, and their team is gone,” said Eastern coach Beau Baldwin, shaking his head at the question. “That was last year.”

The other difference: both teams have something to play for in today’s sold-out Homecoming game at Roos Field. Fourth-ranked Eastern needs to keep its momentum heading into next week’s showdown at Montana, while the Thunderbirds are trying to win their sixth game and stay in contention for a spot in the FCS playoffs.

Eastern and Big Sky links

The college basketball season is closer than you think. On Wednesday, the Big Sky Conference released its men's preseason basketball poll. Here's my story with quotes from Eagle head coach Jim Hayford. On the football front, here's my feature on versatile tight end Zack Gehring, along with a partial transcript from our live chat. … This week it's homecoming at  sold-out Roos Field, the Eagles face Southern Utah's rugged defense.  …  Montana's offense is clicking thanks largely because of the return of quarterback Jordan Johnso, according to the Missoulilan. Speaking of the Griz - Eastern's opponent next week - their defense is very tough in the red zone lately; Here's the story from the Billings Gazette…. Montana State is at Weber State this weekend.

Eastern and Big Sky links

Suddenly, Eastern Washington is winning the turnover battle, but nothing like upcoming opponent Southern Utah. We'll discuss that and much more at today's Live Chat, but until then, here are some more links on a very slow day for media coverage, including a preview from EWU and another from Southern Utah … The biggest game of the week in the Big Sky may be at Montana, which awaits Cal Poly's unique offense. On the flip side, Cal Poly hasn't fared well in previous trips to Missoula. … Idaho State feels it's better than its record shows, according to this story from Pocatello.

Eastern and Big Sky links

I was at Eastern football practice yesterday, and have this story on six true freshmen who are seeing action this season. The Eagles will put their No. 4 ranking on the line Saturday against Southern Utah. Here are the official releases from Eastern and from the T-Birds. The Eagles' next opponent, Montana, must confront Cal Poly's triple option offense. The Grizzlies have been a strong first-quarter team, notes the Billings Gazette. ….Here's a nice story on a Montana State player fighting through pain, courtesy of the Bozeman Daily Chronicle.

Eastern and Big Sky links

for some reason, this new format isn’t letting me capitalize anything, but i will forge ahead anyway. it’s homecoming week in cheney, where the fourth-ranked eagles face southern utah. i’ll check out practice later today, but in the meantime, here’s the early scoop from dave cook of the eastern sports information department. suu also has a release. from the billings gazette, an appreciation of msu quarterback denarius mcghee. … the bobcats also got a big game from kicker rory perez , who had been struggling.

Eastern and Big Sky game day links

Will the Eagles finally unleash their pass rush in today's Homecoming game at North Dakota? Will quarterback Vernon Adams avoid cramping in the warmth of the Alerus Center? Will I ever get a better schnitzel than the one I ate last night at the Blue Moose Restaurant across the river in Minnesota? The first two questions should be answered today when the Eagles play their first game in the state of North Dakota. Here's my preview story, plus another from the local Grand Forks Herald on UND's struggles of late. Want more? Here's a game preview - and much more - from Dave Cook of the Eastern athletic department.

Eastern hopes to keep momentum going at North Dakota

GRAND FORKS, N.D. – It’s Homecoming weekend here in the heartland, with all the trappings: alumni events, dinners, and the big game this weekend against … Vermont.

That happened Friday night at the Ralph Engelstad Arena drew 12,000 for North Dakota’s season-opening hockey match with the Vermont Catamounts.

Whatever a Catamount is, it’s one nickname more than what North Dakota has right now, which is another story.

A mile away, at the empty Alerus Center, the Eastern Washington football team was holding its walkthrough for today’s Big Sky Conference game against UND.

The Alerus will get several thousand fans for today’s game, which already means more to sixth-ranked Eastern than it will to a disappointing North Dakota team that is inconsistent on offense and struggling mightily on defense. That’s partly due to a tough schedule that’s left UND 2-3 overall and 1-1 in the Sky, as Eagle coach Beau Baldwin points out.

Eastern and Big Sky links

College football is full of new experiences, like today's plane flight to Grand Forks, North Dakota, where Eastern Washington will play for the first time tomorrow against the University of North Dakota. Likewise, it's been a journey for Eastern center Ashton Miller. … We also had a live chat yesterday about Eagle football, and here's the transcript.  From Eastern SID Dave Cook, a release with everything you need to know about the game. UND also has a few things to say on the subject, and so does the Grand Forks Herald with this preview. … Elsewhere, Montana faces an improving UC David offense,.

Eastern and Big Sky links

Don't forget about our live chat today right here at Sportslink, but until then, here's my Eastern and Big Sky Notebook, focusing on North Dakota wide receiver Greg Hardin. … Eastern has some pretty good ones too, including freshman Cooper Kupp, who is now on the watchlist for the Jerry Rice Award. … It's a big sports weekend at North Dakota, including Homecoming, football, and most important to the folks in Grand Forks, hockey. …Here are some game notes from North Dakota. … Southern Utah and Portland State are looking to bounce back this weekend. … The Montana defense is preparing for a tough UC Davis ground game, the Missoulian reports. … Montana State kicker Rory Perez is trying to get back on track, according to the BozemanDaily Chronicle. … Cal Poly is out of the FCS poll for the first time.

Eastern and Big Sky links

The Eastern Washington running game is in mid-season stride. Here's my report from Tuesday's practice, along with the school's release for Saturday's game at North Dakota. UND (it's the school with no nickname, so get used to "UND") is having some problems with penalties, according to this story in the Grand Forks Herald. … UND also has information on the game right here. … Eastern's next opponent, Southern Utah,  hopes to bounce back this week against Portland State. … UC Davis is on a two-game roll entering Saturday's Homecoming game against Montana, which is sticking with a game plan that's worked well this season.

Eastern and Big Sky links

The sixth-ranked Eagles are back at it again. Fresh off a big win over Weber State, Eastern is preparing for its first trip to North Dakota. In the meantime, I will be at practice later today. … Last week, North Dakota struggled past Idaho State, but got the win thanks partly to a big game from receiver/kick returner Greg Hardin. … Meanwhile, Southern Utah - the Eagles' Homecoming opponent on Oct. 19 - is trying to shake off a stunning home loss to UC  Davis. … Montana enjoyed a big win over Portland State, but the pass defense looked shaky, the Missoulian reports. … Here's Idaho State's "report card" from the Pocatello newspaper following the Bengals' near miss against North Dakota. … MSU running back Shawn Johnson won national honors following the Bobcats' win over NAU.

EWU defeats Weber State 41-19

S-R photojournalist Tyler Tjomsland  covered the Eagles' home game against Weber State.  Check out this big picture gallery of his photos.

Eastern and Big Sky links

The Eagles are back home today for the first time in four weeks. Here's my game preview from earlier this week, and a game capsule. Also, a preview from Eastern Washington, and Weber State. Oddly enough, today's game at Idaho State is the first road game of the year for North Dakota, which hosts the Eagles next week. Montana looks to bounce back today against Portland State. … The Bozeman Daily Chronicle has several stories on MSU football, all on this page.

Eastern and Big Sky links

After two straight losses, the Eastern Washington players can't wait for Saturday's game against Weber State. That goes double for defensive lineman Will Katoa, who grew up in Salt Lake City. We also had a live chat yesterday, but we have a new chat provider,  andI can't access the entire transcript. I'm on it, and in the meantime, here's most of the scintillating conversation.. As always, Eastern sports information director Dave Cook has a comprehensive preview of the game, as does Weber State. … Today's Grand Forks Herald has three stories on North Dakota hockey, but none on football, so here's a preview of the UND-Idaho State game from the school web site, and a preview from the Idaho State Journal in Poacatello. … Montana is looking to get its "swagger" back against Portland State, according to the Missoulian. … The Billings Gazette has a feature on UM right guard Danny Kistler, plus a another on MSU defensive end Brad Daly. … The Bobcats are confident in their runnning game, according to this article in the Bozeman Daily Chronicle.

Eastern and Big Sky links

It's been a tough season for Weber State, but head coach (and former Eastern assistant) Jody Sears is trying to keep a sense of humor. … We keep it lighthearted as well at today's live chat at noon right here at spokesman.com/blogs/sportslink. …All you want to know about Weber State is right here, from the school web site. … North Dakota is trying to improve its running game, the Grand Forks Herald reports. … For the first time in 16 years, Southern Utah is 4-1; the Cedar City Spectrum has all the details. … With good cause, Montana is wary of Portland State running back D.J. Adams, according to the Missoulian. … Speaking of running backs, two good ones will be on display Saturday when NAU visits Montana State.

Eastern and Big Sky links

The Eagle football team is home this weekend, but meanwhile the basketball team opened practice at Reese Court. Here's my story from practice, along with interviews with forward Venky Jois and guard Parker Kelly. The Eagles open their season on Nov. 10 against Division III Pacific of Oregon.

Eastern and Big Sky links

Finally, the Eagles are getting into the Big Sky Conference portion of their season, starting with Saturday's home game against Weber State. I'll be at practice later today, but in the meantime, here's an early look at the game from Eastern sports information director Dave Cook. Predictably, the Eagles dropped in the polls after Saturday's loss at Sam Houston, which took Eastern's No. 2 spot and sent the Eagles to No. 6 in The Sports Network media poll. Eastern is eighth in the coaches' poll. … Elsewhere, Montana State RB Cody Kirk is the Big Sky Conference offensive player of the week. … In Ogden, Jim Burton of the Standard-Examiner examines Weber State's struggles on the football field this season, as well as a story looking at the rest of a very difficult schedule for the Wildcats.

Eastern, Big Sky links

The Eagles can leave it all behind now, getting ready for Big Sky play after Saturday's 49-34 loss at Sam Houston State. Here's my game story, and my story on the success of the Sam Houston program. Elsewhere in the Big Sky Conference, Montana State welcomed back QB DeNarius McGhee and crushed North Dakota, while Sacramento State routed Weber State - Eastern's next opponent - 31-3, but the big news came out of Flagstaff, where Northern Arizona routed No. 7 Montana. In other games, Southern Utah won 27-21 at Northern Colorado in the first conference game for both schools, and UC Davis did the same at home against Idaho State, 30-13.

Eastern, Sam Houston State delayed

HUNTSVILLE, Texas - Eastern Washington's football game here against Sam Houston State was delayed for 90 minutes while a lightning storm passed through south central Texas.

The game was scheduled to resume at 1:25  p.m. PDT.

Sam Houston State doing it right

HUNTSVILLE, Texas – The plains of east Texas look nothing like the West Plains of Spokane County – especially on a hot and sticky Saturday morning.

The land here is flat  and green. The trees are thicker, and so is the traffic, which fans out toward Houston to the south, Dallas to the north and College Station in the next county to the west.

Then you take a closer look.

Like the West Plains, much of the economy here is built on broken lives, but instead of Eastern State and the Geiger Correctional Facility, this city of 38,000 is home to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, is by far the biggest employer in Walker County.

Beyond the city, lakes and farms spread in every direction. So do sporting opportunities of every kind: hunting, fishing and football.

Winning football, just like in Cheney.

Eagles don’t feel the heat - yet

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.

Eastern and Big Sky links

So how is the new group of Eastern Washington receivers faring this fall? Just fine, thanks in part to the leadership of senior captain Ashton Clark. Here's my profile of Clark, the Eagles' leading receiver this season. I'm working on a few other pieces before I fly out early Friday morning to Huntsville, Texas, for the big game at Sam Houston State. We can talk about all that and more during Thursday's live chat, but until then, here are a few more links:

Eastern and Big Sky links

The Eastern football players are back with a vengeance - but they're not calling it that. According to head coach Beau Baldwin, it's only human nature - not revenge - to want a little payback against Sam Houston State. Here's my report from Monday's practice as the Eagles prepare for the trip to warm and  muggy Huntsville, Texas. The misting fans have already been ordered, I'm told, for this high-profile matchup, which if you go by this week's rankings is the biggest in FCS this year. … We can discuss all that and more in our weekly live chat on Thursday. … The Huntsville Item has several stories related to the game. Here's a link to the   school web site  , which includes a rundown of the Bearkats' 52-21 win last week over Incarnate Word. …

Eastern falls 33-21 at Toledo

David Fluellen rushed for 143 yards and two touchdowns as Toledo outlasted Eastern Washington 33-21 on Saturday night.

Toledo's powerful ground game eased the burden on freshman quarterback Logan Woodside,who took over when starter Terrance Owens injured his knee early in the second quarter.

Cassius McDowell added 89 yards on 10 carries as the Rockets (1-2) bulled their way to 325 yards on the ground. Most of Woodside's 185 yards came on an 81-yard score to Bernard Reedy near the end of the third quarter, giving Toledo a 23-14 lead. He finished the game 14 of 24.

The Eagles (2-1) responded as Vernon Adams hit Cooper Kupp for his third touchdown pass, closing the lead to 23-21 with 14:55 left. However, Toledo answered with a 12-play, 88-yard scoring drive. A late Jermiah Detmer field goal iced the game.

Adams finished 21 of 42 for 326 yards for the Eagles.