Adams, Kupp dominate in 42-37 win over rival Montana Grizzlies.

By Erika Meyer, Sports Writer

Sophomore quarterback Vernon Adams takes the snap in 42-37 win over the Montana Grizzles at Washington-Grizzly Stadium in Missoula, Mont.


In the premiere Big Sky showdown, the No. 3 Eagles held off rival No. 10 Montana Grizzlies 42-37 at Washington-Grizzly Stadium in Missoula, Mont.

Leaving Washington-Grizzly Stadium with a victory is something the Eagles have not accomplished since 2005, but they did in 2013. The crowd at the Washington-Grizzly stadium also broke the noise record, but that did not stop the Eagles from sending the Montana faithful home with a loss.

“What an emotional roller coaster,” said Eastern head coach Beau Baldwin. “That was Montana’s credit, because how much they fight and how good they are at home. It doesn’t shock me that it came down to the wire.”

The Eagles played impressively on both sides of the ball for a strong three quarters. Going into the fourth quarter Montana put up 20 points and their defense held the Eagles scoreless. But the Eagles finished strong, with game winning plays.

The running game started a little slow during the first half of the game and according to Baldwin, for the second half of play, he wanted to see more improvements from his rushing attack. On the other hand, the passing game was unstoppable. Adams and redshirt freshman receiver Cooper Kupp had a phenomenal outing.

“Everyone did their job and I am so glad we’re getting out of here with this win,” said sophomore quarterback Vernon Adams.

Adams was 27-of-40 for a career high of 457 yards, with two interceptions and six touchdowns that tied Adams’ previous high against Sam Houston State in last year’s FCS semi-final, a game the Eagles ultimately lost.

Coming back from a knee sprain from a few weeks back, sophomore receiver Shaquille Hill continued his knack for finding big plays with three receptions for 112 yards including an 86 yard touchdown.

Kupp had 11 receptions with a career high of 182 yards and the game clinching onside kick recovery with a 1:41 left in the game to give the Eagles the win.

“Cooper Kupp, oh my gosh, he is amazing. I can’t wait to play with him these next two and a half years,” said Adams.

Despite the 20 points the Grizzlies scored in the fourth quarter, the Eagles defense held the Grizzlies to 17 points in the first half and scoreless in the third quarter. EWU senior linebacker and Buchanan award watchlist finalist Ronnie Hamlin led the defense with 10 tackles and junior defensive lineman Evan Day was the only player who recorded a sack.

“I’d like to see us finish better, but you have to credit Montana for that too,” said Baldwin.

The Eagles finished with 540 yards of total offense and held the Grizzlies to 489 in the victory.

The Eagles travel once again on Nov. 2 to play Idaho State who are in Pocatello, Idaho. The Eagles will then return to Roos Field on Nov. 9 to take on the Montana State Bobcats.