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Thursday, October 17, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Sports >  NFL

Shining moments: Former Eastern Washington standouts Samson Ebukam, Cooper Kupp came up clutch in prime time

UPDATED: Sun., Feb. 3, 2019, 10:09 a.m.

Los Angeles Rams linebacker Samson Ebukam will be the first Eastern Washington alum to start in a Super Bowl.

Fellow ex-EWU standouts Cooper Kupp (injured Rams receiver) and Aaron Neary (Rams practice squad center) will be on the sideline Sunday when the Rams face the New England Patriots in Atlanta.

EWU has produced dozens of NFL players over the last four decades, many of whom stuck around the league and experienced big games.

Here’s a list of the eight most memorable NFL games by a former EWU star.

1. Ebukam shines on Monday Night Football: Ebukam made life hard for the NFL’s most potent offense.

The fourth-round draft pick scored two defensive touchdowns – an interception and fumble return – to help the Rams clip the Kansas City Chiefs 54-51 earlier this season at Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles.

Ebukam, an All-American at EWU in 2016, also pressured Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes into two late interceptions.

2. Kupp torches Vikings: In front of a Thursday Night Football crowd of 72,000 at Memorial Coliseum, Kupp put on a show.

The Yakima native hauled in nine passes for 162 yards and two touchdowns to help the Rams down the Minnesota Vikings 38-31 in Week 4 this season.

Kupp, a Walter Payton Award winner at EWU in 2015, has recorded five 100-yard receiving games with the Rams since he was drafted in 2017 in the third round.

3. Schulz’s interception party: Detroit Lions safety Kurt Schulz read Chicago Bears quarterback Cade McNown like a book.

The former EWU All-American intercepted McNown three times at Soldier Field in Chicago, helping the Bears edge the Lions 21-14 on Sept. 24, 2000.

4. Roos appears in Pro Bowl: Tennessee Titans offensive tackle Michael Roos earned his first and only Pro Bowl nod in 2008, helping the NFC defeat the AFC 30-21 at Aloha Stadium, the last time the all-star game was played in Hawaii.

Roos started 148 games for the Titans before retiring in 2015. EWU’s field – Roos Field – is named after the All-American, who donated $500,000 to EWU to renovate the stadium.

5. Chatman’s big day: San Diego Chargers running back Jesse Chatman rushed for 103 yards and a touchdown in a 34-21 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars on Oct. 10, 2004.

Chatman, EWU’s all-time rushing leader, did most of his damage in the second half for the Chargers, who went on to win the AFC West that season.

6. Trufant comes up big for Jets: A day after being called up from the practice squad, former EWU defensive back Isaiah Trufant came up big for the New York Jets.

Trailing the Dallas Cowboys late in the fourth quarter, Trufant picked up a blocked punt and ran 18 yards to the end zone to tie the Sept. 12, 2011, game. The Jets went on to win 27-24.

7. Bright performance by Brightful: Baltimore Ravens rookie Lamont Brightful ran back a 95-yard punt return in a 38-27 win over the Cincinnatti Bengals on Nov. 10, 2002.

Brightful, an all-American at EWU, also racked up 98 kick return yards in the Ravens’ win over the Bengals.

8. Ogden’s return lifts Dolphins: Miami Dolphins punt returner Jeff Ogden – an All-American receiver at EWU in 1997 – bolted past the Green Bay Packers on Oct. 29, 2000.

Ogden’s 81-yard punt return and touchdown late in the third quarter helped put away Brett Favre’s Packers, who fell 28-20 in Miami.

Brightful’s 2002 performance was omitted from this list but added after print publication.

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