Eagles top Grizzlies as defense continues to shine

EWU Eagles beat the UM Grizzlies making them 5-0 in the Big Sky Conference.

By Riley Baker, Staff Writer

Senior wide receiver Cooper Kupp hauls in a 40-yard pass | Ivone Garza for The Easterner


Despite the rain, The Inferno was ablaze again as the Eagles defeated their heated rival the Montana Grizzlies 35-16.

EWU is now 5-0 against Montana on The Inferno as they improve their season to 5-0 in conference play and 7-1 overall to remain tied atop the Big Sky standings with three games left to play in the regular season.

“It’s a blast out there,” said sophomore safety Mitch Fettig. “We’re playing with a passion. If someone makes a play out there, we got them. Someone gives up something, we know that’s not characteristic of them and we know they’re going to bounce back. We’re playing like a family out there and it’s fun.”

It is no secret that there is a rivalry between these two teams. Even after losing 57-16 in their previous matchup last year in Missoula, EWU played it like any other game.

“It’s just another game, that’s the way we treat it. I respect [Montana]. It’s a very good team, well coached and they play hard,” Cooper Kupp said.

For Kupp it was just another game, recording his FCS record 46th straight game with a catch. He hauled in 8 receptions for 140 yards and three touchdowns. Kupp even completed a 54-yard pass to quarterback Gage Gubrud that came up just short of a touchdown.

“I completed it. Unfortunately the quarterback is running a 5.2-40 and wasn’t able to get it in for me,” Kupp said jokingly.

Gubrud was not as sharp as he has been all season, throwing a pair of interceptions while completing 21 of 37 passes for 327 yards and four touchdowns. He also had 30 rushing yards and 54 receiving yards, totaling 411 all-purpose yards.

The defense had a big game as well, holding Montana to two touchdowns while shutting them out in the fourth quarter. Sophomore linebacker Alek Kacmarcik had his first career interception and Fettig had a pick as well, his third of the season.

“You’ve got to give credit to Jonah [Jordan],” said Fettig. “Jonah got there and was in the quarterback’s face, forcing him to make a tough throw and then I was just there for it.”