Adams returns, Eagles defeat Grizzlies on senior day


Anna Mills

Sophomore wide reciever Cooper Kupp

By Fetlew Gebreziabher, Online Sports Editor

For the fourth time in five years, the EWU Eagles came out victorious on Senior Day over the University of Montana, defeating the Grizzlies, 36-26, on Nov 8.

Junior quarterback Vernon Adams Jr. returned under center for EWU after missing the last four games because of a broken foot.

“Vernon brings something electric. He was able to make some huge plays. There will be stuff we can go back and look at, and there are still things we still need to work on,” said head coach Beau Baldwin. “I am proud to have all the guys back, but great to have No. 3 back in the saddle. It was really special for him to do the things he did, make the plays he made and get us in rhythm against one of the top defenses in the Big Sky. It was huge for him to play, even not at 100 percent.”

Despite not being 100 percent recovered, Adams finished 25-37, passing for 410 yards and four touchdowns in his return. He is now 3-0 against the Grizzlies.

The wide receiving core showed all their abilities versus Montana when wideout red-shirt freshman Nic Sblendorio and sophmore Kendrick Bourne both made one-handed touchdowns during the game.

“Honestly, it happened pretty fast. I was actually surprised [Adams] threw it because I was not open on that, but [Adams] just threw it up for me to make a play and I had to come down with it,” said Sblendorio.

The one-handed grab was Sblendorio’s first touchdown of the year.

Sophomore receiver Cooper Kupp had a complete game finishing with eight catches for 134 yards and two total touchdowns. He also returned a 67-yard punt for a touchdown. It was the first punt return score for EWU since 2006.

“[They came out] competing. They were going and making plays. There is a number of them. So many different plays being made that it was a special day for that crew. They deserve to enjoy it because they went out and competed when their number was called,” said Baldwin.

Senior Ronnie Hamlin, who was one of 20 EWU seniors honored before the game, left his last regular season game at Roos Field as the Eagles’ all-time leader in tackles, passing J.C. Sherritt on the list.

“It was just an awesome game,” said Hamlin. “Anytime you’re playing Montana, it’s always fun and it’s just good to be out here with the guys again playing on ‘the red.’ It’s just awesome, man.”

Hamlin finished the game with nine tackles, bringing his total career tackles to 433.

The fifth-ranked Eagles (9-2, 6-1) will finish regular season play on Nov. 21 against Portland State University (3-7, 2-4).


Check out Nic Sblendorio’s one- handed grab for the score in the first quarter versus University Montana. Contributed by EWU Athletics.

Sblendorio’s catch was awarded the number two spot on ESPN’s SportCenter’s top 10 plays of the night on Nov. 8.