It happens so rarely in a Big Sky Conference game, but Eastern Washington didn’t have the better quarterback on Saturday afternoon.
While the Eagles’ Gage Gubrud had an inconsistent game, it was Weber State senior Stefan Cantwell who made the difference in the Wildcats’ big 28-20 win over the Eagles at Roos Field.
Cantwell, a junior college transfer who served a two-year Latter-day Saints mission in Spokane from 2012-14, made the most of his return to the Inland Northwest.
“He did what he does all year,” Eastern coach Aaron Best said of Cantwell, who completed 21 of 31 passes for 230 yards three touchdowns without an interception.
The 230-pound Cantwell also hurt the Eagles on the ground, carrying 12 times for 66 yards and helping the Wildcats convert on half (8 of 16) of their third- and fourth-down conversion chances.
“He’s an athletic guy and he’s pretty big, so he’s hard to bring down,” Eastern linebacker Ketner Kupp said.
“But we need to do our job.”
If there were a turning point in the game, it came late in the second quarter. Trailing 14-7 and facing third-and-14 from his 39-yard line, Cantwell found tight end Andrew Vollert for a 22-yard gain.
Four plays later, the Wildcats were confronted with fourth-and-7 at the Eagles 6. After a timeout, Cantwell, found Treshawn Garrett alone for a 35-yard gain to the 1.
Only the seventh-highest rated passer in the Big Sky, Cantwell was at his best on what turned out to be the winning drive late in the third quarter.
With the game tied at 14, Cantwell went 5 for 6 for 68 yards, including a 26-yard touchdown pass to Garrett.