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Sunday, December 8, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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A Grip on Sports: Saturday’s local college football results brought a lot of smiles

Eastern Washington quarterback Eric Barriere  reacts after an Eagles touchdown during Saturday’s game at Roos Field in Cheney. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)
Eastern Washington quarterback Eric Barriere reacts after an Eagles touchdown during Saturday’s game at Roos Field in Cheney. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)

A GRIP ON SPORTS • There were three college football games in the area Saturday. And the three local teams all won fairly easily. Today, the regional professional football team hopes to succeed in the same manner.

•••••••

• Eastern rolled over Northern Arizona’s defense, Idaho rolled over Cal Poly’s triple-option offense and Whitworth just plain rolled yesterday. No matter which game you might have wanted to watch live – and that includes a basketball exhibition at Gonzaga – the home team won handily.

It makes for an enjoyable Saturday.

If you stayed at home and watched games on television, however, you were probably a little bored. It wasn’t what anyone would call an exciting day, though Utah’s win at Washington was at least close.

Drama, however, was drained out of the game with two long second-half drives, one by the Utes to take a two-score lead and then the Huskies, who scored but used so much time to do it they had to rely on recovering an onside kick to have a final chance.

That didn’t happen – and has happened only once this season in any Pac-12 game.

Oh, USC started fast in a chippy and dirty game in the Coliseum, but Oregon asserted itself and won in a rout. Heck, even UCLA, which is tied with the Trojans for second in the Pac-12 South, dominated and breezed, though that’s happened a lot to Colorado these days. What is probably going to happen to USC is that it will have a new coach next season.

As for the final Pac-12 game of the day, Oregon State won again. Yes, I just typed “Oregon State won again.” After the past few years, that’s noteworthy. The Beavers are actually in second place in the Pac-12 North after their win at Arizona. It doesn't seem as if those defensive staff changes in Tucson had much effect. Who would have thought?

The one thing the first Saturday in November did, however, is drain the rest of the drama out of the Pac-12 season. Utah has retaken control of the South and Oregon seems to have done the same in the North. Though Oregon State’s success is a fun story, does anyone believe in the Beavers to that extent? OK, I get it. Some of you might. Good luck with that.

• We all kind of think the Seahawks will be in the NFC playoff picture until the end, right? But if they don't handle Tampa Bay today, those thoughts would change. The Bucs are not playing well. Haven't played all that well all season. Heck, they are 2-5.

And after they leave town, the schedule toughens up considerably. There is undefeated San Francisco a week from tomorrow, with the host 49ers having a few extra days to prepare. There is a trip to Philadelphia. A home game against Minnesota, which is also a playoff contender. The rematch with the Rams. A trip to Carolina. Then home games against Arizona and the 49ers. It's not easy.

• Monday night, the S-R is hosting another in the series of shows at the Bing Crosby Theater celebrating Gonzaga basketball. This one, however, has a deeper purpose.

Not only will women’s head coach Lisa Fortier and men’s assistant Tommy Lloyd be talking about recruiting players from around the world, the show will serve as a fundraiser for Quentin Hall.

The former Gonzaga guard lives in the Bahamas, and his home was recently destroyed by a hurricane.

Dan Thompson delves into the show and the circumstances behind the fundraising in this story.

•••

Gonzaga: The women’s basketball team took the McCarthey court yesterday afternoon for an exhibition game against Warner Pacific. It wasn’t much of a battle, as the outsized Knights had trouble scoring and keeping the Zags from doing the same in a 105-45 decision. Jim Allen was there and has this game story. Dan Pelle has a photo gallery as well. … Jim Meehan took some time to rewind the Zag men’s exhibition game from Friday against Lewis-Clark State.

WSU: Around the Pac-12, we linked the football news above. But there is some basketball news from Arizona State, Arizona, Utah and Stanford as well.

EWU: The Eastern offense hadn’t been, you know, the Eastern offense much of this season. But on Roos Field’s red turf yesterday, Eric Barriere and the Eagles exploded against Northern Arizona, winning 66-38. Ryan Collingwood has the game story and a notebook. … Tyler Tjomsland has a photo gallery that shows the Eagles’ offensive dominance. … Elsewhere in the Big Sky, the big game of the day was in Sacramento, where Weber State continued its roll by rolling over the Hornets, 36-17. … Montana State snapped its losing streak and had no trouble doing it against Southern Utah. … The Montana defense took over in the second half as the Griz defeated host Portland State.

Idaho: The Vandals won their second consecutive Big Sky home game yesterday, handling Cal Poly’s triple option and rolling to a 21-9 victory. Peter Harriman has this game story from the Kibbie Dome.

Whitworth: The Pirates had little trouble with Pacific Lutheran at the Pine Bowl. Dan Thompson was there and has this story from the 31-6 victory.

Preps: It was a busy Saturday in the prep ranks, with state titles decided in slowpitch and Idaho volleyball and district competitions in soccer and cross country.

Chiefs: Spokane has played well against Prince George but just didn’t have the results it wanted. Saturday night at the Arena, the Chiefs did. Kevin Dudley was there and has this coverage of the 6-0 win. … Elsewhere in the WHL, Portland got past Seattle and Everett stopped Kamloops.

Polo: Local polo standout and contributor Pat Dix will be inducted into the National Museum of Polo and Hall of Fame. That’s part of our weekly local briefs.

Seahawks: As we said, after today’s game with Tampa, which is struggling this season, the Hawks’ schedule toughens up. Quite a bit.

Sounders: Two things will happen next Sunday in Seattle. The Sounders will face Toronto and one will win the MLS Cup. And the largest crowd ever to see a soccer match in North America will be witness to it. That’s pretty cool.

•••       

• I’m making blackened fish tacos and sandwiches today, though not with grouper, the fish of choice on the west coast of Florida. (To recap, we are eating a specialty dish from the home area of each of the Seahawks' opponents this season.) Grouper is hard to come by in Spokane. But our culinary selection today certainly brings back memories. Kim and I once spent an entire afternoon on the beach in Destin, Florida, eating blackened fish selections, drinking adult beverages (well, Kim did; I stuck to my diet soda) and just enjoying the fine May weather. It was part of a vacation we took as we ate our way across the South, following the restaurant suggestions of current San Diego State athletic director John David Wicker. It may have been the best vacation we ever had. If you are wondering, I still have the suggestions. It is three pages in a Word document. And the type isn’t large. Until later …

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