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Eastern Washington University Football
Sports >  EWU football

10 years after the title: Bo Levi Mitchell leads late drive to help Eastern Washington avoid Sacramento State upset

UPDATED: Sat., Oct. 17, 2020

Receiver Brandon Kaufman lays out backward to catch a 17-yard touchdown pass during the first quarter against Sacramento State at Roos Field on Oct. 23, 2010.  (CHRISTOPHER ANDERSON)
Receiver Brandon Kaufman lays out backward to catch a 17-yard touchdown pass during the first quarter against Sacramento State at Roos Field on Oct. 23, 2010. (CHRISTOPHER ANDERSON)

Eastern Washington’s offense wasn’t always consistent in its run to the program’s 2010 Football Championship Subdivision title.

But quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell was often clutch.

As the junior transfer from Southern Methodist did multiple times in the Eagles’ historic season, Mitchell manufactured a late, go-ahead touchdown drive to dispatch Sacramento State 28-24 in a Big Sky Conference thriller at Roos Field.

Mitchell, now a Canadian League Football star, connected with sophomore receiver Brandon Kaufman on a 6-yard scoring connection with 33 seconds left to lift eighth-ranked EWU (6-2, 5-1 Big Sky).

“That was Bo Levi,” former EWU defensive tackle Renard Williams said when recently recalling the 2010 season. “He led us to a lot of comebacks. He had that confidence.”

Nick Edwards’ timely 24-yard reception on third-and-12 set up the deciding score.

Mitchell, who said he played “horrible,” completed 15 of 28 passes for 141 yards, three touchdowns and three interceptions.

He wasn’t about to let the Eagles suffer their first upset loss on the red turf.

“You’re telling yourself, you better get mad right now and you better go score,” he said in a postgame interview. “You don’t sit back on your heels, and you don’t let (Sac State) win the game, because they’re not supposed to. We’re supposed to win the game, so you come out and say, ‘We’re going to drive it down their throats like we should have the whole game, and we’re going to score to win the game.’ ”

The Hornets (3-4, 2-3), who trailed EWU 21-0 in the second quarter before buzzing back, outgained the Eagles in yards 390-323.

EWU star running back and current Buffalo Bills veteran Taiwan Jones accounted for half of the team’s offensive output, totaling 145 rushing yards on 17 carries and an electrifying 77-yard touchdown run.

It was EWU’s 11th straight win over Sacramento State, a streak that extended to 15 before the Eagles’ road loss to the Hornets in 2019.

An early interception by Matt Johnson set up Mitchell’s first touchdown pass to Kaufman, a 17-yard connection. Pullman High graduate Ashton Gant had a touchdown reception in the second quarter to give the Eagles a three-score lead.

Sacramento State standout running back Brian Hilliard (107 rushing yards, two touchdowns) and receiver Chase Deadder (three receptions, 123 yards), helped the Hornets mount a fourth-quarter comeback.

The Hornets scored three touchdowns in the fourth quarter, including a blocked punt for a touchdown, and Hillyard’s 1-yard touchdown run with 7 minutes left that gave his team a 24-21 lead.

“(Our players) never felt a panic,” then-EWU head coach Beau Baldwin said.

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