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EWU cruises past North Dakota

Nov. 1, 2014 Updated Sat., Nov. 1, 2014 at 10:45 p.m.

Eastern Washington University Running back Quincy Forte glides across Roos Field after taking a handoff from QB Jordan West in the first quarter agaisnt University of North Dakota, Nov. 1, 2014, in Cheney, Wash. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
Eastern Washington University Running back Quincy Forte glides across Roos Field after taking a handoff from QB Jordan West in the first quarter agaisnt University of North Dakota, Nov. 1, 2014, in Cheney, Wash. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
The best way to pick yourself up from the turf? Slam down the next guy. Eastern Washington proved Saturday afternoon that the best way to fight through adversity is to heap it on somebody else – in this case an overmatched North Dakota team during a 54-3 romp in the rain at Roos Field. Still smarting from last week’s one-point loss at Northern Arizona, the sixth-ranked Eagles put the hurt on North Dakota, racing to a 35-point halftime lead before the visitors had even hit 100 yards total offense. By the time it was over, the Eagles had gained their biggest win ever in league play – and something even more important: renewed confidence heading into next week’s showdown with Montana – regardless of who’s under center. “We know what we are capable of, and I think they showed a lot of character,” Baldwin said after the game, which also was Eastern’s fourth-biggest winning margin since the school moved to Division I in 1984. “We had everyone in Spokane wanting to walk off a ledge with the first Big Sky loss, but our players revealed a lot of character with how they responded,” Baldwin said. The offense responded with 459 yards of total offense, including 314 from backup-turned-starting-quarterback Jordan West, who was 24-for-27 with two touchdowns. The defense was at its best, holding UND to 163 yards of total offense and six first downs while grabbing three interceptions. The Eagles also kept an opponent out of the end zone for the first time since a 20-3 win at Idaho in the first game of the 2012 season. After a slow start, the Eagle offense gathered momentum against North Dakota. Shrugging off UND’s staunch run defense – Eastern’s first 14 carries yielded just 15 yards – the Eagles scored 31 points in the second quarter to put the game out of reach against a team that was forced by injury to go with a true freshman at quarterback. On their first series, the Eagles went on an epic march: 15 plays that not only covered 81 yards, but consumed 7 minutes, 12 seconds. Along the way, they converted a trio of third downs, including West’s 33-yard completion to Kendrick Bourne and a 10-yard scramble to the UND 26. Six plays later, running back Quincy Forte dashed 3 yards off tackle for the first TD of the game. After an exchange of punts, the Eagles moved 42 yards and were rewarded with Tyler McNannay’s 38-yard field goal with 12:21 left in the second quarter. Two plays later, UND quarterback Keaton Studsrud threw into double coverage on the right sideline, where EWU linebacker Miquiyah Zamora plucked the ball at the 40. Things went downhill from there for Studsrud, a fourth-string true freshman whose redshirt was burned for this occasion after UND (3-6 overall, 1-4 Big Sky) was hit with injuries. Trailing 24-0 after Forte scored his second TD on a 6-yard run, Studsrud threw an interception that Eastern freshman cornerback Moe Roberts returned for a 26-yard touchdown. Things got worse in the second half for North Dakota, which gave up touchdowns 10 seconds apart early in the fourth quarter. Running back Cody Hecker ran 23 yards for a score, then Jordan Talley recovered a fumbled kickoff in the UND end zone to account for the final score.
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