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Eastern Washington University Football
Sports >  EWU football

Big Sky notebook: Career records set to fall as athletes use extra season of eligibility

UPDATED: Wed., Oct. 20, 2021

Eastern Washington tackle Tristen Taylor is set to tie the program record with his 55th game on Saturday. Taylor has started every game he's played in.  (Courtesy of EWU Athletics)
Eastern Washington tackle Tristen Taylor is set to tie the program record with his 55th game on Saturday. Taylor has started every game he's played in. (Courtesy of EWU Athletics)
By Dan Thompson For The Spokesman-Review

When the NCAA granted athletes an extra season of eligibility in light of the COVID-19 pandemic last season, inevitably it offered the potential for more career records to fall.

Passing yards. Rushing yards. Tackles.

And, perhaps most inevitably, games played.

That’s the school record Weber State’s Jared Schiess is poised to break Saturday when the Wildcats (2-4 overall, 1-2 Big Sky) visit No. 2 Eastern Washington (7-0, 4-0) at Roos Field.

“It definitely is something special,” Schiess said Tuesday.

Schiess, a senior defensive tackle, will play in his 55th career game, breaking a record previously held by former teammate Jonah Williams. Williams never missed a game from 2016 to 2019, a career that ended, notably, just before the pandemic.

Even if Weber State can’t scrape its way back into the playoff picture, Schiess will get to extend his record to a mark that could be seemingly untouchable. Schiess, who first arrived at Weber State in 2014 before serving a two-year LDS mission, has since earned a Master’s of Health Administration degree.

“There’ve been a lot of guys here who’ve put just as much work and effort and sweat on the field,” Schiess said. “It’s been awesome to be motivated together and (to) play together and have fun together. I think that’s why we do football in the first place, because you get opportunities to work hard with people that you care about and are excited to be with.”

Eastern Washington senior offensive tackle Tristen Taylor is set to tie the Eagles’ program record with his 55th game – all starts – Saturday, matching receiver Shaq Hill’s total for games played. Taylor already has the team record for career starts.

Bobcats aim to stay perfect in Big Sky

After defeating Weber State in a nationally televised game last Friday, the No. 8 Montana State Bobcats play host to Idaho State (1-5) on Saturday.

Under first-year coach Brent Vigen, the Bobcats (6-1, 4-0) boast a defense that ranks eighth nationally in yards per game allowed (269.9) and also have the best turnover ratio (plus-12) in the Football Championship Subdivision.

The Bobcats, who have allowed just 74 points in seven games, have committed just two turnovers all season.

Defensive end Daniel Hardy earned Big Sky Defensive Player of the Week honors after an eight-tackle, three-sack performance.

MSU running back Isaiah Ifanse continues to lead the Big Sky in rushing yards with 742 on 133 carries. Eastern senior Dennis Merritt is second with 633 rushing yards, but Merritt is ahead of Ifanse in all-purpose yards, 912 to 817.

NAU continues to roll

Perhaps overshadowed by Eric Barriere’s record-breaking passing performance last weekend, Northern Arizona quarterback RJ Martinez continued his dominant start to the season in a 59-35 victory against Southern Utah.

Martinez, a true freshman, completed 23 of 29 passes for 417 yards and five touchdowns Saturday, and on the season he is 81 of 127 for 1,082 yards and nine touchdowns. He has also rushed for 194 yards and three scores.

Martinez did not play in the Lumberjacks’ first two games – both losses – but helped lead them past Arizona in the third game of the season. Since, they are 2-1 in Big Sky games and have improved to 3-3 overall.

The Lumberjacks visit 19th-ranked Sacramento State on Saturday night. The Hornets (4-2 overall), beat Montana (4-2, 1-2) in Missoula last week to remain unbeaten in Big Sky play (3-0).

Sacramento State is coached by Troy Taylor, who was Eastern Washington’s offensive coordinator in 2016. So far this season, the Hornets rank third in the Big Sky in total offense per game at 440.7 yards. Northern Arizona is second (449.7) behind Eastern (628.1).

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