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Idaho climbs to No. 4 in latest rankings, EWU enters at No. 19 as teams prepare for Saturday clash

Eastern Washington's offense came up with enough big plays to hold off UC Davis 27-24 on Saturday night in Davis, California.  (Courtesy of EWU athletics)
By Dan Thompson For The Spokesman-Review

After defeating a ranked opponent for the second week in a row, the Eastern Washington football team joined the Top 25 in the new FCS Stats Perform poll released on Monday.

The Eagles (2-2) are 19th, two spots ahead of the UC Davis (2-2) team they defeated on Saturday, 27-24. Southeastern Louisiana fell out of the rankings after Eastern defeated the Lions 40-29 two weeks ago and remains unranked.

Eastern’s presence in the polls means that Saturday’s game at Roos Field will feature two ranked teams. Idaho, after beating Sacramento State last week, climbed three spots to No. 4 in the latest FCS Stats Perform Top 25. Sacramento State (3-1) fell four spots to No. 8. The defeat was the Hornets’ first in conference play since 2019.

There are now seven Big Sky teams ranked. Montana State (3-1), which drubbed Weber State 40-0 last week, remained at No. 3. The Wildcats (2-2) dropped to No. 13.

Montana (3-1), which lost at Northern Arizona, dropped five spots to No. 18.

Saturday’s results jumbled the Big Sky football standings a bit, and with losses by Montana and Sacramento State, there are now no more unbeaten Big Sky teams.

Among FCS teams nationally that have played at least three games, four remain undefeated: No. 1 South Dakota State (3-0), No. 2 North Dakota State (3-0), No. 5 William & Mary (4-0) and No. 10 Southern Illinois (3-0).

The last time the Eagles were ranked was almost exactly a year ago, when a loss at Florida dropped them to No. 24. They fell out of the rankings after a 45-21 loss at Weber State dropped the Eagles’ record to 1-4.

Saturday’s game between Eastern and Idaho will be 28th in the two programs’ all-time series. The home team has won each of the last two – and in dominant fashion. The Vandals won 48-16 last year at the Kibbie Dome; the Eagles won 71-21 the last time they played in Cheney, in 2021.

Eagles S Williams removed from 2-deep

After leaving the game against UC Davis with a lower body injury, redshirt sophomore Kentrell Williams Jr. is no longer listed on Eastern Washington’s two-deep depth chart heading into Saturday’s game against the Vandals.

Williams, a safety, is the Eagles’ second-leading tackler with 26, behind linebacker Ben Allen, who has 32.

Redshirt sophomore Armani Orange and redshirt freshman Drew Carter are listed as the Eagles’ two starting safeties. Redshirt sophomore Zane Thornton, who transferred from Washington State prior to the 2022 season, was previously listed as a backup at the position. Redshirt senior Trevion Shadrick-Harris has been added to the depth chart.

Shadrick-Harris spent the last two seasons at Central Florida, but he did not play in any games there. He played a more prominent role as a freshman at Sierra College in California in 2019; Sierra College did not compete in football in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Idaho kicker honored

Ricardo Chavez was named Big Sky Special Teams Player of the Week after his performance in the Vandals’ 36-27 victory over Sacramento State on Saturday.

Chavez made all three field goal attempts, including a go-ahead 30-yard kick with 1 second left in regulation. He also hit three PATs and punted once for 42 yards.

Montana State quarterback Sean Chambers (172 passing yards, 114 rushing) was named the Offensive Player of the Week; Eloi Kwete from Northern Arizona was named the Defensive Player of the Week after his four-sack afternoon.