POCATELLO – Some early trickery went a long way to help Eastern Washington beat Idaho State on Saturday.
Trailing 7-0 early in the first quarter, and facing first-and-10 at the ISU 24-yard-line, quarterback Jordan West handed off to running back Jabari Wilson on what looked like a simple sweep play to the left.
Instead, it swept the Bengals and a crowd of 8,942 off their feet.
As Wilson ran to his left, he pitched it to wide receiver Cooper Kupp. A reverse, then? Nope.
Instead, as the Bengals’ defense converged, Kupp pulled up and threw the first pass of his college career. It arced over nothing but green turf as West ran free down the right sideline. When the ball landed in his hands, no defender was within 10 yards. West even had enough time to backpedal into the end zone.
“It was a great-designed play, and it was easy to get the ball up,” Kupp said.
The play had been in the works for some time. The only question was when to spring it.
“We committed to calling it early – that was the key,” Eagles coach Beau Baldwin said. “Sometimes you don’t call it, and then you wish at the end of the game you would have.”
Karstetter brothers play last game together
The occasion was bittersweet, Eastern roverback Cole Karstetter said of Saturday’s game, which saw his older brother Kurt playing for the other team with the entire family in the stands.
“It was a little different,” said Cole, a redshirt freshman, who played with Kurt for two years at Ferris High School before the latter signed with Idaho State. Kurt is a senior linebacker with the Bengals.
“You kind of want to cheer for him when he was out there,” said Curt, who finished with three tackles and tipped a second-quarter pass that ended up in the hands of teammate Ketner Kupp.
Kurt Karstetter also finished with three tackles, but also forced a fumble by EWU running back Jabari Wilson at the Eagles’ 3-yard-line, a turnover that led to ISU taking a 14-7 lead in the first quarter.
“He was all over the field,” Cole said.
EWU running game gets fresh legs
Players and coaches agree: The return of EWU running back Jalen Moore couldn’t have come at a better time.
After missing four games with a foot injury, Moore was unleashed on the Bengals and responded with 13 carries for 67 yards.
“The foot feels great,” said Moore, who along with Jabari Wilson had been listed atop the depth chart when the season began.
While Moore healed, Wilson was getting most of the carries.
The situation got worse this week before it got better, as backup Malcolm Williams was sidelined by a hamstring injury this week.
“It was important that we got Jalen back, but we need multiple guys ready,” Baldwin said.
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