Freshman Kupp leads Eastern to win in close shootout against Idaho State

Freshman Kupp leads Eastern to win in close shootout against Idaho State

The Eastern Eagles’ 743 total yards of offense sets a school record to give the Eagles a 55-34 victory over the Idaho State Bengals.

“Our players found a way and got into maybe more of a shootout than we thought we would,” said Eastern head coach Beau Baldwin. “We still found a way to respond and that’s what I said to the players.”

Idaho State came out strong during the first half, giving the Eagles a battle. It was a high scoring first half, where both teams were head-to-head with a halftime score of 31-24 in favor of the Eagles.

“I give Idaho State a lot of credit,” said Baldwin, “they are playing with high tempo.”

In the first half of play, the Eagles defense struggled giving up a total of 387 yards of offense. Idaho State quarterback, Justin Arias, threw all over the Eagle secondary defense as they gave up 337 yards through the air.

Going into the second half, the Eagles needed to step up and make adjustments, both offensively and defensively. It continued to be a slow start when Eagle quarterback Vernon Adams threw an interception and gave the Bengals the ball, along with good field position. Defense came through and held the Bengals to a field goal.

Linebacker Cody McCarthy led the Eagles with 11 tackles and Buck Buchanan Award candidate, Ronnie Hamlin, had 10 tackles with a big interception in the third quarter.

After the Eagles first turnover in the second half, they became more synced by outscoring the Bengals 24-10.

Eagle quarterback Vernon Adams had another outstanding performance passing for 26-44 with 432 yards, five touchdowns and one interception.

“[Cooper Kupp] is so good,” said Adams. “I tell you guys every week he is so good, and these receivers make me look so good.”

Adams threw to six receivers in the win, with playmaker Kupp leading with eight receptions for  205 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

Another plus for the Eagle offense was the running game. After struggling against Montana, the Eagles came out against the Bengals with a total of 311 rushing yards. Running back Quincy Forte carried the ball six times with 119 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He also added two catches for 11 yards and another touchdown.

“We were certainly explosive, and our players made plays,” Baldwin said. “We got more out of our running game, which was huge.”

During the third quarter, EWU lost starting safety Tevin McDonald to a broken left fibula, which is a definite loss for the Eagles secondary.

“It saddens me to see that happen,” said Baldwin. “He’s a tough-minded young man and he’ll fight back from it.”

The Eagles are now 5-0 in the Big Sky and will come back to the Inferno on Nov. 9 to play in a Big Sky showdown against Montana State, who are also 5-0 in the Big Sky.

“It’s so awesome. We’re playing on the red, with our fans and it’s a blackout,” Adams said. “The fans are about to go crazy, I feel like we play better at home.”